Books

A very smooth, but stringent introduction to the puzzles of quantum mechanics.

Chapter 4, ‘Order for Free’, provides, in few pages, an accessible and excellent example of how a random network structure, potentially involving a state space of super-astronomical size, may exhibit unexpectedly simple behavior. The structure – a network of boolean lightbulbs – is somewhat similar to a cellular automaton.

Interesting for the variety of topics that are covered, often with an optimal amount of technical detail (relative to the ‘touring’ purpose).  It also includes one of the few reports on Stephen Wolfram’s NKS work that I find decently un-visceral.

On Penrose’s latest theory of a pulsating universe.
The discussion on the Second Law of thermodynamics, with the author’s drawings on the coarse graining of the configuration space, is illuminating.  Here you can read about the fact that the vagueness in the coarse-graining notion induces some fuzziness in the definition of the entropy concept. Quite reassuring…

Read under the light of conjectures on the computational nature of the physical universe by Zuse, Fredkin, Wolfram, Lloyd and others, this book appears surprisingly ahead of its time.  Teilhard’s impressive visions move from the original fabric of the cosmos to the human phenomenon and beyond, and appear to be eagerly waiting for competent volunteers willing to take the challenge of providing this monumental piece of thought with a rigorous mathematical re-formulation.

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