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The Fabric of Reality


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Table of Contents

1. The Theory of Everything
2. Shadows
3. Problem-solving
4. Criteria for Reality
5. Virtual Reality
6. Universality and the Limits of Computation
7. A Conversation about Justification
8. The Significance of Life
9. Quantum Computers
10. The Nature of Mathematics
11. Time: The First Quantum Concept
12. Time Travel
13. The Four Strands
14. The Ends of the Universe

About the Author

David Deutsch, internationally acclaimed for his seminal publications on quantum computation, is a member of the Quantum Computation and Cryptography Research Group at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University.


Common sense and reality diverge and then come together again in this mind-blowing book. Maintaining that the best explanation for certain quantum phenomena is that there are parallel universes, i.e., multiverses, Oxford physicist Deutsch posits and then attempts to unify four basic strands‘quantum physics, epistemology, evolution, and the theory of computation. Just one astonishing consequence is that quantum computers can collaborate between universes. Deutsch's ideas are exotic and challenging, but his text is surprisingly accessible, and he supplies a glossary and summary at the end of every chapter. For motivated readers, this book is a feast for the mind. Strongly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.‘Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, Fla.

Philosophy, biology, computer science and quantum physics all converge in this ambitious theoretical work by Deutsch, an expert in quantum computation at Oxford University. Interweaving the four disciplines, Deutsch provides a model of reality that is as provocative as it is complex. Building on such diverse topics as the evolution of knowledge, biological Darwinism, time travel, virtual reality and parallel universes, Deutsch describes a reality where parallel universes are "stacked like a pack of playing cards" to comprise a "multiverse," with computers communicating between them, where the mechanics and likelihood of time travel exist and where the universe comes to an end. Though many of Deutsch's conclusions and their core assumptions are controversial‘which to his credit, he acknowledges‘the work remains an intellectually stimulating read for the science-literate and motivated lay person, in the tradition of Hawking's A Brief History of Time and Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach. The author exhibits not only a thorough knowledge of his subject matter but a genuine desire to draw the lay reader into the complexities, paradoxes and possibilities surrounding quantum physics. In a particularly effective manner, each chapter begins by outlining basic scientific history or concepts before delving into the complex, and ends with a glossary and summary, both invaluable tools for the lay reader. In a field where scientific inquiry challenges not only our imagination but basic assumptions about our physical world, this volume provides the essential information needed for future debates, regardless of whether Deutsch's conclusions are ever accepted as scientific doctrine. (Aug.)

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