Past Meetup

Humanist Book Group: What Is Real?

This Meetup is past

11 people went

San Francisco Public Library

100 Larkin Street · San Francisco, CA

How to find us

We will be in the Paley room on the third floor

Location image of event venue

Details

Join us in the Paley room as we discuss "What Is Real: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker. Newcomers are always welcome, as are new book suggestions.

We will be selecting the next book from those presented in person at this meeting. If you'd like to add a book to the running, come ready to make a short pitch for it and bring a copy if you can. We will want to know the page count of the book and whether it is available in the SF Public Library.

About "What is Real" (http://bit.ly/2QLuiZI):

"Quantum mechanics is humanity's finest scientific achievement. It explains why the sun shines and how your eyes can see. It's the theory behind the LEDs in your phone and the nuclear hearts of space probes. Every physicist agrees quantum physics is spectacularly successful. But ask them what quantum physics means, and the result will be a brawl.

At stake is the nature of the Universe itself. What does it mean for something to be real? What is the role of consciousness in the Universe? And do quantum rules apply to very small objects like electrons and protons, but not us?

In What is Real?, Adam Becker brings to vivid life the brave researchers whose quest for the truth led them to challenge Bohr: David Bohm, who picked up Einstein's mantle and sought to make quantum mechanics deterministic, all while being hounded by the forces of McCarthyism; Hugh Everett, who argued that everything, big and small, must be governed by the same rules; and John Bell, who went to great lengths to eradicate the power of the god-like observer from the core of quantum physics. And they paid dearly, their reputations, careers, and sometimes lives ruined completely. But history has been kinder to them than their contemporaries were.

As Becker shows, the brave intellectual giants have inspired a growing army of physicists and philosophers intent both on making a philosophically more satisfying theory of the universe and a more useful one as well. A gripping story of some of humanity's greatest ideas and the high cost with which many have pursued them, What is Real? is intellectual history at its passionate best"

If you have not read the book, you're welcome to attend and learn what we're about. We only ask that you allow those who have done the reading to speak first.

We typically go to dinner together afterward at a nearby restaurant, for those who would like to stick around.

This is not a Library Sponsored Program.