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Olivier Bousquet
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"A man is known by his heroes" is a quote from that book. Incidentally, Mandelbrot is one of my heroes.
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Here is another very interesting book about foundational issues.
The main idea is relatively simple yet powerful: if you start from the assumption that the universe is everything that exists, and follow the logical implications of this assumption, you end up with some of the principles underlying both general relativity and quantum mechanics. In other words both theories have at their core the principle that Nature does not have access to absolutes.
This is obviously very much the idea that everything (motion, time...) has to be defined relative to something else and this is not new but it can be extended to the microscopic world by saying that a measurement is necessarily an interaction where the measured and the measuring play a symmetric role (like two observers in special relativity). The author shows that this can explain some of the apparent oddities of quantum theory.
I am not 100% convinced, as a lot of the arguments are hand-wavy, but the exposition is quite elegant and the core idea of deriving logical consequences from simple principles, very attractive. I should also note that quite a bit is borrowed from Greene's "The fabric of cosmos" and Deutsch's "The fabric of reality" (I have read the former and am about to read the latter).

I like very much the idea that the reason why properties of particles should be considered random until measured is that in the absence of interactions, Nature has no reference to define those properties, since it doesn't have access to absolutes, so the information is just not there.
The idea of measurement as a symmetric interaction also reminds me of a paper explaining that measurement is mathematically equivalent to entanglement (http://www.flownet.com/ron/QM.pdf).

In any case, this book is easy to read and if not revolutionary, at least clarifying.


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Just finished reading this book. It gives a pretty radical view interpreting every phenomenon in Nature as (quantum) information.
It is very readable even for someone without a scientific background, and the style is very fluid (although some of the digressions are going off-track). Of course, you won't see any equation in there and you might be left with the feeling that the whole argument is shallow and unconvincing in the end (reading the cited sources might be needed), but the connections that are drawn between many different fields are quite eye-opening.
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Views from Tel Aviv
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January 19, 2013 (6 photos)
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Sunset on Baies des Anges
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January 6, 2013 (13 photos)
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Pretty impressive Kinect-based 3D capture!
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Very nicely done! Evariste Galois is one of my heroes, and this biographical account is unusually emotional. Love it.
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Rainbow over the Greifensee
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Double rainbow over Zurich!
District 2, Zurich
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