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Quantum Theory for an Armchair Physicist?

  1. Oct 31, 2012 #1

    I'm looking for a good "popular press" treatment of quantum theory for a bright and interested layman. Specifically, something that will explain to me Bell's Inequality in a manner that I can grok, with an emphasis on concepts and (if at all possible) a minimum of mathematics.

    Can anybody suggest a book or three to get me going?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2012 #2


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    Not sure how deep you want to go, but I can recommend Amir Aczel's book:


    On the other hand, I would definitely say you are cheating yourself by skipping the math. It's not that hard, and it really is necessary to properly understand why the EPR paradox is resolved against EPR's viewpoint.

    Bell's Theorem with Easy Math

    This is a page I put up for exactly this purpose. The upshot is that if you assume there are local hidden variables, you cannot get certain combinations of those to match observation. Specifically, at 0, 120 and 240 degrees there are no sets of hidden variables which yield the matches predicted by Quantum Mechanics of 25%. You can try all you like, the best you can do is an average of 33%. Ergo, the assumption of local hidden variables is wrong.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Nov 1, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the pointers and for the advice. I'll check it out.

    Edit: I'm struck by the following sentence near the beginning of your article: "If you want to understand the richer meaning of Relativity and Quantum Theory, you will also want to learn about Bell."

    That is precisely what I want to do, and I'm happy that I stumbled upon the realization that learning more about Bell was a good path to follow. Thanks again!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Nov 2, 2012 #4
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
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