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Teleportation: The Impossible Leap

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David Darling, «Teleportation: The Impossible Leap»
Wiley | ISBN 0471470953 | 2005-05-18 | PDF | 2 Mb | 288 pages



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From Publishers Weekly:

A science fiction staple and a fantasy of those with long commutes, teleportation—sending something from here to there in the blink of an eye—has long seemed likely to remain a fictional construct. But as Darling explains in this marvelous work, teleportation in one form or another has been happening in laboratories for a few years and is on its way to becoming a routine part of life—at least for information. Darling (Equations of Eternity) uses lively, companionable prose to explain such heady subjects as quantum mechanics, the property of entanglement (which Einstein referred to as "spooky action at a distance") and information theory. While these concepts appear to fly in the face of reason, the author is able to make sense of them and put them in the context of other new ideas that at first may be impossible to accept. After tracing the history of developments that became key to teleportation, the text delves into its use for secret communications, massive parallel data processing and investigating quantum mechanics; it also examines the moral, spiritual and philosophical questions that will arise if "beaming" people up ever becomes possible. Suitable for a pop-science audience, especially those looking for a way into quantum mechanics and wave-particle duality, this singular work deserves a wide audience. Agent, Patricia van der Leun. (May)


From Booklist:

Teleportation is cool. Captain Kirk stands on the pad, and Scotty beams him up, down, and all around. Cooler is that teleportation may become practical soon. Computer scientists abetted by physicists are now exploiting quantum phenomena to teleport photons, mostly, and some atoms, though not all that far. As for anything big enough to see, well . . . Darling predicts that inanimate objects, at least, will be teleported eventually, and he broaches human teleportation and the philosophical, religious, and social questions it may raise fore and aft of the enlightening main text here, which begins with light. Darling chronicles the varying historical fortunes and the eventual merger of particle and wave theories of light before turning to the quantum phenomenon of entanglement and information theorists' appropriation of quantum mechanics because information comes in particles (bits), too. Cryptographers then wondered whether in entanglement lay the means to create absolutely secure messages. Darling's descriptions of recent experiments are readable, if not always transparent, and the -science–historical text that surrounds them is both. Terrific science writing. Ray Olson



Review:

"Explores the possibility of this bizarre form of travel… A fascinating tale with philosophical and practical musings on the highly unlikely prospect of teleportation of people." (Science News)

A science fiction staple and a fantasy of those with long commutes, teleportation—sending something from here to there in the blink of an eye—has long seemed likely to remain a fictional construct. But as Darling explains in this marvelous work, teleportation in one form or another has been happening in laboratories for a few years and is on its way to becoming a routine part of life—at least for information. Darling (Equations of Eternity) uses lively, companionable prose to explain such heady subjects as quantum mechanics, the property of entanglement (which Einstein referred to as "spooky action at a distance") and information theory. While these concepts appear to fly in the face of reason, the author is able to make sense of them and put them in the context of other new ideas that at first may be impossible to accept. After tracing the history of developments that became key to teleportation, the text delves into its use for secret communications, massive parallel data processing and investigating quantum mechanics; it also examines the moral, spiritual and philosophical questions that will arise if "beaming" people up ever becomes possible. Suitable for a pop-science audience, especially those looking for a way into quantum mechanics and wave-particle duality, this singular work deserves a wide audience. Agent, Patricia van der Leun. (May) (Publishers Weekly, March 28, 2005)


Book Description:

An authoritative, entertaining examination of the ultimate thrill ride
Until recently the stuff of sci-fi fiction and Star Trek reruns, teleportation has become a reality-for subatomic particles at least. In this eye-opening book, science author David Darling follows the remarkable evolution of teleportation, visiting the key labs that have cradled this cutting-edge science and relating the all-too-human stories behind its birth. He ties in the fast emerging fields of cryptography and quantum computing, tackles some thorny philosophical questions (for instance, can a soul be teleported?), and asks when and how humans may be able to "beam up."


From the Inside Flap:

The idea of teleportation is familiar to everyone who has watched Star Trek. With the words "beam me up," a person shimmers out of existence in one place and then rematerializes an instant later somewhere else.

No longer the stuff of science fiction, teleportation has become a reality. Though the current state of this cutting-edge science can transport only such light fare as subatomic particles, it is simply a matter of time before larger atoms, molecules, and eventually living things take the ultimate thrill ride. In Teleportation, science writer David Darling traces the evolution of this hugely exciting field, relating the all-too-human stories behind its birth and taking an in-depth look at the incredible possibilities that may await us in the next few decades.

Darling visits the key labs that cradled teleportation during its adolescence, outlining the remarkable experiments and discoveries that advanced the science. He masterfully ties in two of the hottest, fastest-growing fields—quantum cryptography and quantum computing—which share, along with teleportation, the strangest, most mysterious phenomenon in all of science at their core: entanglement.

Adding a rich context to the underlying science, Darling examines the thornier philosophical questions that would arise with the possible success of human teleportation, shedding new light on the existence of the soul and what it really means to be a human being. Would you want to be dismantled atom by atom knowing that what would rematerialize at the other end might just be a copy of the original you?

Authoritative, thought provoking, and thoroughly entertaining, Teleportation uncovers the powerful role this fascinating technology will play in all our futures—and reveals how it may soon become the not-so-impossible leap.


About the Author:

DAVID DARLING, Ph.D., is the author of several other narrative science titles, including Equations of Eternity, a New York Times Notable Book, and Deep Time. He is also the author of The Universal Book of Mathematics, The Universal Book of Astronomy, and The Complete Book of Spaceflight, all from Wiley, as well as more than thirty children's books. His articles and reviews have appeared in Astronomy, Omni, Penthouse, New Scientist, the New York Times, and the Guardian, among others. He lives near Dundee, Scotland.