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Decoding Reality [PDF / EPUB] Decoding Reality For a physicist all the world's information The Universe and its workings are the ebb and flow of information We are all transient patterns of information passing on the recipe for our basic forms to For a physicist all the world's information The Universe and its workings are the ebb and flow of information We are all transient patterns of information passing on the recipe for our basic forms to future generations using a four letter digital code called DNA In this engaging and mind stretching account Vlatko Vedral considers some of the deepest uestions about the Universe and considers the implications of interpreting it in terms of information He explains the nature of information the idea of entropy and the roots of this thinking in thermodynamics He describes the bizarre effects of uantum behaviour effects such as 'entanglement' which Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance' and explores cutting edge work on the harnessing uantum effects in hyperfast uantum computers and how recent evidence suggests that the weirdness of the uantum world once thought limited to the tiniest scales may reach into the macro world Vedral finishes by considering the answer to the ultimate uestion where did all of the information in the Universe come from The answers he considers are exhilarating drawing upon the work of distinguished physicist John Wheeler The ideas challenge our concept of the nature of particles of time of determinism and of reality itself.

  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • Decoding Reality
  • Vlatko Vedral
  • English
  • 28 July 2016
  • 9780199237692

About the Author: Vlatko Vedral

Vlatko Vedral is a Serbian born and naturalised British Citizen Physicist and Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and CT Centre for uantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore and a Fellow of Wolfson College He is known for his research on the theory of Entanglement and uantum Information Theory As of he has published over research papers in uantum m.

10 thoughts on “Decoding Reality

  1. says:

    I'm used to science writing by people who are first and foremost authors so reading this written by a Physics professor at Oxford and the National University of Singapore was uite jarring Vedral has boundless enthusiasm for his subject matter but lacks any sense of style you can almost hear the cadence of his native Serbia in his prose tends towards weak jokes and sometimes takes for granted the reader's understanding of uite difficult unfamiliar concepts The concept of entanglement for example is not explained once I thought it was the same as superpositionSo there were parts of this book that went above my head but the thrust of it is three ideas First the role of information as the defining interdisciplinary uantity of all the sciences The building blocks of everything in the universe are information be it physical matter biological DNA or social He outlines Claude Shannon's theory of information and entropy an apocryphal tale has John von Neumann suggesting the name to him on the grounds that no one understands what it means Secondly the uantum phenomena of uncertainty exhibited at the subatomic level and the possibilities of uantum information a uantum bit is called uite Biblically the ubit in computing and in broader contexts teleportation for oneLastly in a speculative third section he muses on uantum information theory's ability to answer the problem of creation ex nihilo avoiding the problem of infinite regress who moves the first mover? by suggesting that a chance differentiation in an original Void could at one fell swoop create physical information and the laws which govern it Seeing as the laws are created by our interactions with nature ever susceptible to Popperian falsification and nature exists according to the laws the two exist in a cycle in which an observer is necessary to both measure matter and to cause it to exist The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the amount of order in the universe tends ever downward yet life through natural selection fights against that entropy every day Professor Vedral suggests that during the lifetime of that struggle we may glimpse far enough back to see the origins of our universe and its physical laws as parts of a giant computer slowly spinning through its finite information on the path from and to nothingness

  2. says:

    This book is mostly about application of Shannon's information theory in a variety of areasIt also includes a layman's introduction to√ Shannon's information theory√ Self replication and genetics√ Boltzmann's entropy formula√ Maxwell's Demon√ Laplace's demon√ uantum computing √ uantum cryptography√ Holographic principleI have a HUGE problem with the discussion on Global WarmingVedral argues all activities that use energy to do work produce waste heatThis is true but he implies this causes anthropogenic Global WarmingGlobal Warming is caused by gasses emitted into the Earth's atmosphereGreenhouse heat forcing from the emissions of burning fossil fuel TREMENDOUSLY dwarfs the associated waste heatI really liked his introduction to the holographic principleHe tied it into uantum information theory uite wellThough I was very skeptical of his attempt to explain gravity using uantum mechanics plus the holographic principle seemed like hand waving to meVedral tends to wander in his argument which is distractingHis conclusions are sometimes non seuitur to the topic of discussionThe last chapter is the worstHe argues that where we the observer create our own realityI don't have a problem with his rejection of realismHowever the metaphysical garbage mixed with references to eastern religion really is disgustingI almost filed this book under fiction

  3. says:

    For a book about information this one contains remarkably little Too bad because the author touches on some very interesting issues But every time he would seem to get to some point he leaves off and moves to another topic or analogy There are substantive books and original papers about the role of information in understanding the universe In fact the author provides several good references I would suggest reading those

  4. says:

    Fascinating insights presented in a somewhat tedious way

  5. says:

    Excellent on all countsThe author takes a very complicated subject and makes it understandable He tells you what he's going to tell you says it and then tells you what he said He really does connect the dots between information and uantum theory As he says information is physical and explains what he means by that

  6. says:

    This book is written for the lay reader Vedral does a pretty good job of distilling a hugely complex subject in a readable book Although I read with anticipation of the next revelation or mind bending thought right to the last page but somehow was left not fully satisfied

  7. says:

    I really liked this book Has a very good explanation for Information theory And really changes your view of the universe and the Big Bang

  8. says:

    Why is there something rather than nothing? – wonders Kraus too and he argues existence arose from nothingness attributing this mysterious behavior to uantum fluctuations of the void Profesor Vedral’s Decoding Reality is arguing that the Creation Ex nihilo and Destruction Ab Toto all from nothing and nothing from all is the “flip flop” flip flop is the 1 and 0 the ON and OFF 2B and NOT 2B the and the – etc way of our perceiving information processing information and creating reality Professor Vedral will postulate the premise that the entire reality is just a flow of information exchange between the void the darkness where the void is a source and the realm is that we create by processing information the void is emitting to us Wooow sounds good but not sure if my definition is purely covering the essence of Author’s speculations Don’t take me wrong I did really enjoy these speculations I just couldn't not to recall Tesla’s claim when he said something like – “I’m just a receiver of information Universe is emitting to me”Professor Vedral will invite the reader to join the table of Calvino’s card game The moment the reader arrives to the big table of Nature he she becomes the vital part of the game She He will actually as the scientific part of the humanity during the history will be facing Nature’s main players the basic aspects the 7 pillars of our reality Biology; Thermodynamics; Economics; Sociology; uantum physics; Computer science; and Philosophy No doubt the Author is confident in presenting the main principle from Creation Ex Nihilo and I was delighted the way he touches humanities main concerns through the 7 pillars lined up I personally enjoyed the lectures from Thermodynamics explaining global warming Few understand really the 1st and the essence of 2nd laws I know openly claiming that it is not the 2nd law that will kills us then this will be the 1st is a bit grotesue and weird and perhaps I’ll sound like some serial killer but can’t not to think of many of nowadays kids when stating they just can’t find purpose of their life while by the 1st conservation law we are running out of NOT of energy but just forms the energy of the planet is stored and available for our use A few know the Nature’s tendency to ruin our reality into a chaos and disorder is damn dangerous but while we have available energy to use for keeping ourselves in high order the Entropy is not the first concern I enjoyed DNA class the lecture of the way Nature is coding DNA we use binary and Nature could do so but Nature will never ever allow anything to be left to the mercy of Randomness To ensure the DNA integrity is fully preserved Nature uses 4 bit coding but the Reader will say Okay but this is all known Yes it is but this time all the knowledge we are getting is in information centric way that is presenting the two way communication between Nature and us Aaand that's the essence of what is Professor Vedral conveying to usIf trying to put this way no need to bother with law without law then the issue with infinite regression is avoided However there is a Void the Darkness we claim information are arriving from to us and we by processing these information using inductive method as the basis of constructing physical theories And I can't stop wondering and pretending the source where the information are arriving from is Nothing 0 bit in terms of informatics Sorry I just can't do that However I can accept that saying NO saying something is NOT is the key to building better and better models of the world Physical laws are usually fundamental the they rule out ‘no such process exists where so and so would happen’ is a typical way of formulating it Two examples are the Cappadocian Fathers in early Christianity and Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism My personal note I wish Christianity remained on Cappadocian level of thinking about the CreatorI really enjoyed professor Vedral’s way of thinking of explaining the general way how we actually create our reality from the information the Nature is sending to us But still we need events first that will enable us deriving laws I still found the dilemma of it was first the Event or it was first the Law remained provoking me“The Universe starts empty but potentially with a huge amount of information The key event that gives the Universe some direction is the first act of ‘Symmetry Breaking’ the First Cut of the Sculptor This act which we consider as completely random ie without any prior cause just decides on why one tiny aspect in the Universe is one way rather than another This first event sets in motion a chain reaction in which once one rule has been decided the rest of the Universe needs to proceed in a consistent manner Just like in Calvino’s card game the next piece of the story must be consistent with the previous”I think of Symmetry as of the state of singularity nothingness but as still of the potential for everything creation Ex Nihilo All I can accept including the end the Destruction ab toto but not before the Symmetry breaking the First cut the Prior Cause is explained Staggering and beautiful book Sir I love it

  9. says:

    I enjoyed this book a great deal This idea that the universe is information or course appeals to a computer geek such as myself as well as the idea that the universe is a holographic projection from 2d information When you look at the most recent discoveries in uantum mechanics that seem to be pointing to the idea that different observers can see the same uantum information differently it seems that the universe we live in is far weirder than we knows and pushes everything we sense via our human body into the realm of subjective realitySo much work to be done here I imagine there will be many works in this area if there are not already

  10. says:

    There are a couple reasons that make me feel like I'm not an appropriate audience for this book 1 it's SO watered down for my taste I'd probably enjoy it much if it's only 30 pages 2 materials are listed in a narrative way rather than connected in a logical way I need to read how ideasconceptslaws etc are logically derived from one another not just listing the statements in different domains of study and claim a victory 3 no proper figures Actually no figures at all on which I'm not sure if it's because of the publisher reuirement or such Many concepts are much easier to illustrate if done geometrically These are about personal preferences and motivations rather than about the book itself You may say I'm asking too much from a book for lay persons Well I am a lay person Feynman wrote for lay persons too and I can guarantee you that he did a much informative logical explanation with very clear figures about for example experiments with beam splitters More detailed comments are as followsThe book has three parts PART I Vedral made a basic introduction of Shannonian Information Theory and summarized its application in bio and social informatics For personal interest I pay attention to the use of Info Theory in studying social dynamics but I found the arguments made about mutual information and phase transition is uite a over simplification Also in these arguments he kind of used correlation in individual activity and mutual information interchangeably However mutual information is one metric among many others to uantify this correlation I don't understand how it is superior than other measurements in network analysis I didn't found a good reference on this topic in the bibliography PART II He went beyond Shannon to uantum Information He clearly explained the difference between classical info theory and uantum info theory in terms of the additiveness of bits But he really used too many pages for what I found could be condensed into one page P131 if you willPART III I found this part informative than the previous two especially how he connected uantum info to relativity and introduced the surface area metric I wanted to find a citation of his own formal work but again no relevant reference in bibliography About he's philosophical discussions I entertained many conclusions but the flow of the text was very repetitive I disagree on his interpretation of emptiness in eastern philosophy and the translation of Tao Te Ching on the last page was not very goodAnyways he's a very successful scientist and wrote this book with good effort and intention He's also a very funny writer I'm just the kind of awkward lay person who know too much to find the book informative and know too little to appreciate how difficult it is to boil down what he studies into this level It would be interesting to discuss about the topics in the book with him in a pub than reading this book

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