The Demon and the Quantum: From the Pythagorean Mystics to Maxwell's Demon and Quantum Mystery

The Demon and the Quantum: From the Pythagorean Mystics to Maxwell's Demon and Quantum Mystery

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By (author) Marlan O. Scully, By (author) Robert J. Scully

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  • Publisher: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH
  • Format: Paperback | 275 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 212mm x 14mm | 422g
  • Publication date: 7 December 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Weinheim
  • ISBN 10: 3527409831
  • ISBN 13: 9783527409839
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 15 schwarz-weiße Abbildungen
  • Sales rank: 612,620

Product description

Eagerly awaited, the new edition of this successful text is now available in paperback. Maxwell's Demon is a character in an 1867 thought experiment by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, meant to raise questions about the second law of thermodynamics. This book explains the connection between Maxwell's Demon and the role of the observer and quantum eraser, showing that information science, thermodynamics and quantum physics are closely related. We often hear phrases like quantum weirdness and the strange world of the quantum. A fact that is not so widely appreciated is that quantum mechanics can (and does) shed light on problems such as the Maxwell Demon Paradox of thermodynamics, the seemingly spiritual nature of information, and even, perhaps, new insights into the existence of Mind! The common denominator of all this is the fact that information is a real physical quantity. Information is more than something just in our mind; it is the essence of, and in many ways more general than the concept of entropy. By focusing on entropy, information, and observation, the authors bring a unique perspective to this subject, and offer insight into the strange ways of the quantum which will not only fascinate scientists but lay persons as well. Key features of the new paperback edition: Explains the connection between Maxwell's Demon and the role of the observer Takes a completely new approach to quantum mechanics and quantum information theory which is of interest to students from undergraduate level onwards as well as researchers and lay persons Written by two authors who approach the topic from two different angles and combine both the scholar's and the layperson's perspective in a most interesting and enjoyable fashion Treats central concepts such as entropy, information and intelligence in a comprehensible and entertaining way Includes fresh biographical material on key researchers like Planck, Schrodinger, and others is presented at the beginning of each chapter Mathematical formulae have been removed and replaced by a history of famous Erwin Schrodinger Praise for the previous edition: "The Demon and the Quantum is accessible to a large spectrum of readers of PHYSICS TODAY; it is worthwhile reading?" Physics Today

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Author information

Marlan O. Scully holds joint appointments at Texas A&M and Princeton Universities. He is a member of the National Academy of Science and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. During the course of his life work on the foundations and applications of quantum mechanics, he has come to know many of the pioneers in the field and has collected biographical material on them, which R. Scully has woven into this book. Robert J. Scully is a heavy equipment diesel mechanic living and working in Irving, Texas, where he is employed by the Caterpillar Corporation. His academic connections include the University of New Mexico and the University of Texas at Dallas. He was a tank diesel mechanic in the marine corps from 1988 to 1993. Robert Scully writes biographies for the National Academy of Sciences, including one on William Hewlett of the Hewlett Packard Corporation and one on quantum physicist Leonard Mandel.

Review quote

"By focusing on entropy, information, and observation, the authors bring a unique perspective to this subject, and offer insight into the strange ways of the quantum which will not only fascinate scientists but lay persons as well." (ETDE Energy database, 14 February 2011)

Back cover copy

We often hear phrases like quantum weirdness and the strange world of the quantum. A fact that is not so widely appreciated is that quantum mechanics can (and does) shed light on problems such as the Maxwell Demon Paradox of thermodynamics, the seemingly spiritual nature of information, and even, perhaps, new insights into the existence of Mind! The common denominator of all this is the fact that information is a real physical quantity. Information is more than something just in our mind, it is the essence of, and in many ways more general than the concept of entropy. By focusing on entropy, information, and observation, the authors bring a unique perspective to this subject, and offer insight into the strange ways of the quantum which will not only fascinate scientists but lay persons as well.

Table of contents

1. Mathematics, Mysticism, and more 2. Mass in Motion 3. From Engines to Entropy: Carnot and Clausius develop the Yardstick of Engine Efficiency 4. From Statistical Entropy to Statistical Time: Thermodynamics evolves from being an Engineers' Tool to becoming a Philosophers' Gold Mine 5. Maxwell's Demon leads us to combine Consciousness, Entropy, and Information 6. Quantum Mechanics I: From Micromagnets to Micromasers 7. Using Quantum Mechanics to Resolve the Maxwell Demon Paradox 8. Quantum Mechanics II: The Wave Side of Particles and the Particle Side of Waves 9. From Wigner's Friend to Quantum Erasure: Of Wigner's Friends and their Amnesia 10. On Quantum Mechanics and the Big Questions