Reality is Not What it Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'll be honest and up front, I only wanted to read more into Loop Quantum Gravity.
Say what?!? Well, it's the leading contender against String theory. It doesn't try to mash together the main problem area of gravity with quantum mechanics, but rather extends quantum mechanics as a granular geometric equation into the macro realm of what we understand as special relativity.
In other words, reality is finite, quantifiable, and can be extrapolated from the underpinnings of the general field of quantum mechanics.
If you know anything about the underlying basis of string theory, this idea is both flabbergasting and simplistic. And maybe, it's also correct.
I can't say for certain, and as far as I can tell, neither can the author. Most of the book gives us a survey of the underpinnings of reality physics from the conceptualization of the atom through Einstein's reformulation of heat energy on the equilibrium of those atoms in their environmental matrices. (E=MC squared)
Spin Foam is the name of the minimum Planck distance that forces atoms into discrete and quantifiable distances between each other. It's the reason why atoms don't just fall into singularities like black holes or crushed neutronium states under normal gravitic circumstances. It's not merely probability shells and energy levels, but quantum loops that behave like bubbles forcing certain distances... and therefore forcing Matter to behave the way it apparently behaves... making atomic structure.
The most interesting idea I'm getting from this is the idea of the Big Bounce. In other words, the cause of the great expansion once the Big Bang got lit. It reminds me a lot of how iron molecules make stars burp in the process of digesting (fusion) and cause a nova. Only we're dealing with a quantum state that coaxes atoms into creation through special wave functions behaving like granular notations. You know, like how light behaves like both a wave and a particle.
And beyond this... I'm completely lost. :)
I don't know the math but this book is pretty decent on the conceptual side. The basics are commonplace and I was mainly into it for the later weird stuff.
But all in all? Rovelli is a very, very good writer. Convincing. Clear.
It may not be the answer to the great question of our day and age, but he makes a very good case. :)
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