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Sean Carroll

Big Picture Part Three: Essence

10 May 2016, 16:30 UTC
Big Picture Part Three: Essence
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

One of a series of quick posts on the six sections of my book The Big Picture — Cosmos, Understanding, Essence, Complexity, Thinking, Caring.
Chapters in Part Three, Essence:

19. How Much We Know
20. The Quantum Realm
21. Interpreting Quantum Mechanics
22. The Core Theory
23. The Stuff of Which We Are Made
24. The Effective Theory of the Everyday World
25. Why Does the Universe Exist?
26. Body and Soul
27. Death Is the End

In Part Three we get our hands dirty diving into some of the central features of how our world actually works: quantum mechanics, field theory, and the Core Theory describing the actual particles and forces that make up the visible universe. The discussion of the basics of quantum mechanics itself is quite brief, and I mention the Many-Worlds formulation only to emphasize that there’s nothing about QM that implies we need to be idealist, anti-realist, or non-determinist. (Those options are open, of course — but they’re not forced on us by what we know about quantum mechanics.)
More directly relevant to this discussion are the ideas of effective field theory and crossing symmetry that let us conclude the laws of physics underlying everyday ...

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