BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Age of Entanglement
Bryce Christensen, Booklist , starred review: [Louisa] Gilder has taken to heart Heisenberg's declaration that 'science is rooted in conversations.' By recounting decisive conversations between researchers, she illuminates the tortuous path of quantum mechanics.
Readers eavesdrop, for instance, on Schrödinger — sick and bed-bound — as he challenges Bohr's dismissal of pictorial thinking. They listen in as Einstein pauses on a train platform to urge de Broglie to press his quixotic fight against quantum orthodoxy. Gradually, the realization dawns that the formulas of physics come from cross-grained personalities, animated by unpredictable emotions.
The literal-minded may question the imaginative liberties Gilder takes in converting passages from letters and memoirs into face-to-face exchanges. But most readers will relish the psychological interplay she depicts. The character of the brash young John Bell emerges in such interplay, as he disputes the reasoning of a colleague smugly certain that no ‘hidden variables' inhere in quantum events.
For in reacting against that smugness, Bell launches an epoch-making inquiry into the way subatomic particles remain linked — entangled — after separation. Lamentably, Bell dies before his findings open exciting new vistas in quantum computing. But this compelling history of his accomplishment will stimulate more of the seminal conversations that generate new science. No book more fully delivers the creative excitement of science.
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The Coming Creativity Boom
George Gilder, Forbes Special Market Report: “Intelligent Investing” (10/23/08): Knowledge is about the past; entrepreneurship is about the future. In a crisis the world of expertise pulls the global economy ever deeper into the past, where accountant-economists ruminate on the labyrinthine statistics of leviathan trade gaps, tides of debt and deficits, political bailouts and rebates, regulatory clamps and controls, all propping up the past in the name of progress.
The crucial conflict in every economy, however, goes on. It is not between rich and poor, Main Street and Wall Street, or even government and the private sector. It is between the established system and the new forms of wealth rising up to displace it--all the entrenched knowledge of the past and the insurrections of futuristic enterprise and invention.
The real source of all growth is human creativity and entrepreneurship, which always comes as a surprise to us, especially in the worst of times, as Rich Karlgaard notes. No amount of knowledge about the present can predict the specific profile and provenance of innovation. From the pits of the crash of 2000, when the Internet and the dot.com siege were famously dismissed as a barren "bubble," came Google (GOOG) and MySpace to rise up and take all the chips and establish a new Internet economy. If creativity was not unexpected, governments could plan it and socialism would work. But creativity is intrinsically surprising and the source of all real profit and growth.
Because the U.S. remains the world's largest economy and still leads the world in business and technological creativity, the current crisis is mostly confined to boondoggles of finance. It will pass rapidly and evolve into a new boom. Emerging is a parallel, unregulated financial system based on entrepreneurial creativity and invention....
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