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Glimpsing Reality
Ideas in Physics and the Link to Biology

Twenty years ago Paul Buckley and F. David Peat asked several physicists, biologists, and chemists who had been involved in some of the most exciting discoveries in modern scientific thought to participate in the interviews that formed the heart of the book A Question of Physics: Conversations in Physics and Biology. Glimpsing Reality is an expanded version of that book.

The conversations - with Bohm, Pattee, Penrose, Rosen, Rosenfeld, Somorjai, Weizsäcker, Wheeler, and Nobel prizewinners Heisenberg and Dirac, cofounders of quantum theory, and Prigogine - explore issues which have shaped modern physics and ones which hint at what may form the next scientific revolution. The discussions range over a set of basic problems in physical theory and their possible solutions - the understanding of space, time, and cosmology, the genesis of quantum theory and criticism of the standard interpretations of it, quantum and relativity theories and attempts to unite them and the conceptual links between physics and biology. The approach is non-technical, with an emphasis on the basic assumptions of modem science and their implications for understanding the world we live in.

All of the original interviews have been preserved. An introduction has been added to expand the thematic content of the mini-introductions preceding each interview. A new conversation (between the editors) has been added, a dialogue that places the fundamental ideas of quantum theory in a broad perspective to include work on chaos theory and superstring theory. Also new to this volume are two original essays that further develop the main thrust of the text - an exploration of the boundaries between physics and biology with the supervening idea being quantum theory and problems of its interpretation.


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Publishing Information

Paul Buckley and F. David Peat, editors
Hardcover edition, 199 pages
University of Toronto Press
Revised edition (March 1996)
ISBN 0-8020-0575-6
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Paperback edition, 199 pages
University of Toronto Press
Revised edition (March 1996)
Dimensions (in inches): 0.69 x 8.98 x 6.01
ISBN 0-8020-6994-0
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Praise for Glimpsing Reality

Glimpsing Reality is a new and expanded edition of A Question of Physics, a book praised by scientists, philosophers and lay readers alike:

"These essays provide a first hand account of some of the astounding and perplexing developments in modern science, a rare view that will intrigue and inform scientists and non-scientist alike."
-Physics Briefs

"The conversations are first rate and link the reader to the bridge which links physics and philosophy."
-Literary Review

"The conversations are interesting on several levels. Not only is the physics explained with surprising clarity, but insight is given into the manner in which the individual's interpretation depends on his philosophical leanings. The book is very worthwhile indeed."
-Physics Bulletin

"Intellectual stimulation is kept up throughout the book..a delight for those with an interest in the philosophy of science."
-Canadian Book Review Annual

"A book worth reading certainly gleams with many gems of insight."
-Physics in Canada

"This is an extremely valuable book."
-The School Librarian

"The universe described in A question of Physics is an emergent open universe in which physical-technological progress co-exists with an awareness of the incompletability of logical systems and with a particular mystical feeling of cosmic unity."
-The Astronomy Quarterly

"The conversations are valuable in conveying some of the excitement of science."
-New Scientist


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Table of Contents:
Werner Heisenberg
Leon Rosenfeld
David Joseph Bohm
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Paul Adrian Maurice Dirac
Roger Penrose
John Archibald Wheeler
Ilya Prigogine
Robert Rosen, Howard Hunt Pattee, and Raymond L. Somorjai: a symposium in theorectical biology

F. David Peat and Paul Buckley: reflections after twenty years

Paul Buckley: evolution and quantum consciousness
Robert Rosen: the Schrödinger question: What is life? fifty years later

Appendix: the troubles of quantum theory


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