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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Review: The Age of Entanglement

I loved the concept behind The Age of Entanglement. Rather than just explaining the physics behind Quantum theory and the impressive improvements in our understanding of entanglement and other issues, the author proposes to explain the persons involved, how they understood the problem, and even recreate (in an enactment sense) the conversations and circumstances under which their ideas came about.

The execution, however, was a miserable failure. It was quite clear that Ms. Gilder doesn't quite understand her subject well enough to explain it clearly, and as an apparently aspiring novelist, she found her subjects' poetry or musical likings to be just as important as their physics ideas. Well, unfortunately, physicists aren't usually famous poets for the obvious reasons, so all she left me was a failure to appreciate why she picked a particular poetry. She also left out important folks, for instance Peter Shor.

Despite the brevity of the book (some 300-odd pages), it took me weeks to finish this one. Not recommended.

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