'Einstein's Unfinished Revolution' Looks At The Quantum-Physics-And-Reality Problem

A century after the birth of quantum mechanics, no one is sure what it is telling us about the nature of reality — and Lee Smolin's book adds to a stream of excellent works on the topic.
Physicist Albert Einstein. Source: Bettmann Archive

Does reality need realism?

If that seems like a weird question to you, consider the fact that it's the one most pressing for physicists and for their most successful theory about the physical world. That theory is called quantum mechanics — and every digital electronic device you've ever used owes its existence to the understanding of atomic-scale physics that comes with it.

But for all its success, quantum mechanics has one tiny problem: No understands it.

To be more exact, even a century after its birth, no one really understands what quantum mechanics is telling us about the nature of reality itself. That open and uncertain territory is the focus of Lee Smolin's new book Einstein's Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum.

Smolin is. The fact that I very much disagree with him and his take on quantum mechanics made my enjoyment of the book even deeper.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR6 min read
After Grim Deaths In The Borderlands, An Effort To Find Out Who Migrants Were
More than 200 migrants die attempting to cross the Southwest border each year. Slowly, scientists at a Texas laboratory are seeking the story of their bones.
NPR4 min readPolitics
'Unfreedom Of The Press' Is Full Of Bombast And Bile
Right-wing Fox host Mark Levin conducts no interviews and offers no original research in his book; it is little more than a free gift with purchase: People are instead buying his message to the media.
NPR5 min read
Who's On NPR?
Distinguishing whether content comes from NPR or others is not always easy. Here's a quick guide.