While we scientists know how to use it to make all those digital devices, we do not know what it means. We don't know what it's telling us about the fundamental nature of reality. It is into that chasm that acclaimed theoretical physicist and author Carlo Rovelli leaps with his new book ... For Carlo Rovelli the radical uncertainty forced on us by quantum mechanics holds an equally radical lesson about how wrong we have been about the nature of the universe. Rovelli is one of the worlds' leading theoretical physicists ...What Rovelli offers in this new book is an interpretation of quantum mechanics ... Rovelli has developed his own relational interpretation — and Helgoland represents a clear and yet poetic argument for its vision ... I found Rovelli's perspective to be both bracing and refreshing. Without diving off the deep end into New Age fuzz or forcing a previous philosophical bias down quantum mechanics' throat, he sees its questions as a challenge to invent and investigate radical possibilities ... Helgoland is not, however, a book to learn quantum mechanics from. Rovelli's description of superposition is sparse and gives readers only what they need to know. His descriptions of the other interpretations are also thin and sometimes misleading ... Instead Rovelli is offering a new way to understand not just the world but our place in it, too.
A remarkably wide-ranging new meditation on quantum theory ... Rovelli reveals that he is not afraid to mix quantum physics and eastern philosophy, something that others have done in the past with little success and some derision. It says much about him and his argument that he is not so easily dismissed ... It’s a perspective that Rovelli believes makes it easier to think about the quantum world. He may be right, but the words of Niels Bohr still come to mind: 'Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it.'
.... an argument that nothing we see and experience actually exists. Just as the rainbow is a manifestation of the angle between you, some water droplets in the sky, and the sun, Rovelli tells us that the atoms, electrons, photons of light and other stuff of the universe manifest only in their interactions with each other ... Rovelli doesn’t really push things much further than that; you won’t come away from Helgoland with a sense that you finally understand the true nature of reality. He doesn’t explain, for instance, what it is that is doing the interacting, if the entities are nothing but their interactions. But it is a pleasure to travel in his company regardless.