Alternate Realities

Joel Davis, Author Basic Books $27.95 (309p) ISBN 978-0-306-45629-9
From the title, one might expect Davis (Mapping the Mind) to take a New Age approach toward science, but instead he offers a traditional history, chronicling humanity's development of instruments to explore space and the atom--places we can visit only indirectly--and our consequent understanding of creation. Much of this material has been covered many times over, but Davis, who's written for such popular magazines as Omni, Parade and Popular Mechanics, has his own engaging style, and most readers will follow with enjoyment his explanations of various technical advances and new theories. The book comes up short, however, as a discussion of ""alternate realities"" and of the implications of exciting scientific advances in the last few years, such as the recent physical demonstrations of ""nonlocality,"" where two particles seem to be able to ""communicate"" over long distances--a staggering challenge to all we thought we knew about matter. Davis spends too much time on the development of telescopes and rushes through some other topics, like the notion of myriad universes created in the Big Bang or the mind-bending concept of an ""observer-participatory"" universe, where we are ""active participants in the creation of reality itself"" and our knowledge decreases universal chaos. Nevertheless, this generally well-crafted book should provoke readers to reconsider their own vision of the world. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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