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Coming of Age With Quantum Information
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Book description

A passionate and personal account of the early days of quantum information and quantum computing, this unique book is a collection of more than 500 letters between the author and many of the founders of these intriguing fields. Christopher A. Fuchs is one of the most penetrating modern thinkers on the philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics. This remarkable book follows his journey as he comes to grips with the quantum world. It contains correspondence with Charles Bennett, Gilles Brassard, Rolf Landauer, N. David Mermin, Michael Nielsen, Asher Peres, John Preskill, Abner Shimony, William Wootters, Anton Zeilinger, and many others. Filled with diary entries, anecdotes, historical selections, and research ideas, this book will fascinate physicists, philosophers, and historians of science.

Reviews

'… a real page turner … the book offers food for thought, and plenty of leads for further reading (or research), mixed with memorable quotes … it entangles the reader with the strange and beautiful world that hides behind the one we live in.'

Source: Nature Physics

‘I'm delighted that what Chris Fuchs calls his ‘samizdat’ … has finally been published in book form. I read the samizdat as a beginning graduate student, and it changed my career … reading Chris's letters made me feel, for the first time, like the great conversation of Bohr, Einstein, and other luminaries in the 1920s was still going on today.’

Scott Aaronson - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

‘Anyone interested in grabbing a front seat to a new way to see quantum theory, as debated by the author and luminaries of quantum information and quantum foundations, will find this book hard to put down. As a bonus the book brims over with an overwhelming sense of joy and wonder at our quantum universe that, when combined with a wicked sense of humor, will no doubt make this collection of correspondences a classic document of the now blossoming age of quantum information science.’

Dave Bacon - University of Washington

‘Full of humor, vivid characters, and intellectual drama … A window into physics in the process of being untangled, this rich email tapestry is the fin de siècle testament to Heisenberg’s dictum that 'science is rooted in conversations'. … My much-annotated and coffee-stained copy sits not on my bookshelf but on my desk, and I still stumble over new delights.’

Louisa Gilder - author of The Age of Entanglement

‘Nobody today writing about quantum mechanics combines poetry and analysis to better effect than Chris Fuchs … The death of letters as a high literary form brought about by the telephone turns out to have been only a lengthy coma - a 20th century aberration … The thought-provoking pages that follow, which can either be read like a Nabokov novel, or dipped into from time to time, like a collection of poems or short stories, gloriously provide a 21st century demonstration that the art form is again alive and well - and also, of course, that there remain profound questions to ask and to strive to answer about the real meaning of quantum mechanics.’

N. David Mermin - from the Foreword

‘No-one has done more to articulate the information-theoretical interpretation of quantum theory than Fuchs … For both physicists and philosophers alike, this book will entertain, inform and almost certainly challenge.’

Gerard Milburn - University of Queensland

‘In this marvellous collection of letters we get to watch over Chris Fuchs's shoulder as he wrestles with one of the great open scientific problems of today: how should we understand quantum theory? … It's also a pleasure to read, personable, funny, and with a stimulating turn of phrase on nearly every page.’

Michael Nielsen - co-author of Quantum Computation and Quantum Information

‘Anyone fascinated by the mysteries of the quantum world is sure to be enlightened and entertained by this extraordinary collection, in which Chris wrestles with some of the deepest questions about how we describe Nature. You have never read a physics book like this one.’

John Preskill - Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology

'… this book … is unique. There is really nothing like it out there … the main reason a physicist should read the book is that Fuchs is a very philosophically minded thinker, who is deeply concerned with the question of why we need quantum mechanics … a good read … you continually come across passages that make you stop and say 'Hmm, let me think about that!' And you put the book down and are soon lost in thought. What could possibly be better?'

Source: American Journal of Physics

‘… this book is indeed a gem. It is certainly recommended reading for anyone in the field of quantum information: as Mermin puts it in the foreword, ‘Chris Fuchs is the conscience of the field’.'

Eric Cavalcanti Source: Quantum Information Processing

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