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 questions 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 quantum behaviour - effects such as 'entanglement', which Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance' and explores cutting edge work on the harnessing quantum effects in hyperfast quantum computers, and how recent evidence suggests that the weirdness of the quantum world, once thought limited to the tiniest scales, may reach into the macro world. Vedral finishes by considering the answer to the ultimate question: 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.
Table of Contents
PROLOGUE ; 1. Creation Ex Nihilo: something from nothing ; 2. Information for all seasons ; PART I ; 3. Back to basics: bits and pieces ; 4. Digital romance: life is a four-letter word ; 5. Murphy's Law: I knew this would happen to me ; 6. Place your bets: in it to win it ; 7. Social informatics: get connected or die tryin' ; PART II ; 8. Quantum schmuntum: lights, camera, action! ; 9. Surfing the waves: hyper-fast computers ; 10. Children of the aimless chance: randomness versus determinism ; PART III ; 11. Sand reckoning: whose information is it, anyway? ; 12. Destruction ab toto: the darkness of reality ; Epilogue ; Bibliography
Vlatko Vedral studied undergraduate theoretical physics at Imperial College London, where he also received a PhD for his work on 'Quantum Information Theory of Entanglement'. Since June 2009, Vedral has moved to Oxford as Professor of Quantum Information Science. Throughout his career he has held a number of visiting professorships at different international institutions. He has published more than 130 research papers and has written two textbooks. He has written for popular science journals and major daily newspapers, as well as doing extensive radio programmes and television interviews.