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Through two doors at once

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Anil Ananthaswamy is an award-winning journalist and former staff writer and deputy news editor f... Read More

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Anil Ananthaswamy is an award-winning journalist and former staff writer and deputy news editor for the London-based New Scientist magazine. He has been a guest editor for the science writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and organizes and teaches an annual science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru, India. He is a freelance feature editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science's Front Matter. He contributes regularly to the New Scientist, and has also written for Nature, National Geographic News, Discover, Nautilus, Matter, the Wall Street Journal and the UK's Literary Review. His first book, The Edge of Physics, was voted book of the year in 2010 by Physics World, and his second book, The Man Who Wasn't There, won a Nautilus Book Award in 2015 and was long-listed for the Pen/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award (2016).

Many great scientific minds have grappled with the 'double slit' experiment. Thomas Young devised it in the early 1800s to show that light behaves like a wave, and in doing so opposed Isaac Newton's view that light is made of particles. But then Albert Einstein showed that light comes in quanta, or particles. Thus, quantum mechanics was born. This led to a fierce debate between Einstein and Niels Bohr over the nature of reality-subatomic bits of matter and its interaction with light-as revealed by the double slit experiment. Richard Feynman held that it embodies the central mystery of the quantum world. Decade after decade, hypothesis after hypothesis, scientists have returned to this ingenious experiment to help them answer deeper and deeper questions about the fabric of the universe.
How can a single particle behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle, or indeed reality, exist before we look at it, or does looking create reality, as the textbook 'Copenhagen interpretation' of quantum mechanics seems to suggest? How can particles influence each other faster than the speed of light? Is there a place where the quantum world ends and the familiar classical world of our daily lives begins, and if so, can we find it? And if there's no such place, then does the universe split into two each time a particle goes through the double slit?
With his extraordinarily gifted eloquence, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to the smallest scales of physical reality we have fathomed. It is the most fantastic voyage you can take.

Through Two Doors at Once is a challenging and rewarding survey of how scientists . . . are grappling with nature's deepest, strangest secrets.
--Wall Street Journal

A fascinating tour through the cutting-edge physics the experiment keeps on spawning.
--Scientific American

Through Two Doors at Once offers beginners the tools they need to seriously engage with the philosophical questions that likely drew them to quantum mechanics.

At a time when popular physics writing so valorizes theory, a quietly welcome strength of Ananthaswamy's book is how much human construction comes into focus here. This is not 'nature' showing us, but us pressing 'nature' for answers to our increasingly obsessional questions.
Margaret Wertheim, Washington Post

A thrilling survey of the most famous, enduring, and enigmatic experiment in the history of science.
--Kirkus, starred review

Following up 2015's acclaimed The Man Who Wasn't There, Ananthaswamy treats a 19th-century light experiment as a sprawling intellectual adventure story . . . This accessible, illuminating book shows that no matter how sophisticated the lab setup, the double-slit experiment still challenges physicists.
--Publisher's Weekly

An excellent and comprehensive exploration of notable double-slit-like experiments.

An engaging and accessible history of a fascinating and baffling experiment that remains inconclusive to this day. Recommended for those interested in the subject or anyone wishing to delve further into the double-slit experiment.
--Library Journal

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