How good are Andrew Thomas' physics web-writings?

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How good are Andrew Thomas' physics web-writings?

Postby Marshall on August 14th, 2014, 12:41 pm 

I'm interested in what other people think of online resources like these:
Entanglement:
http://www.ipod.org.uk/reality/reality_ ... lement.asp
Decoherence:
http://www.ipod.org.uk/reality/reality_decoherence.asp
Relativity:
http://www.ipod.org.uk/reality/reality_is_relative.asp

I think they might be helpful. They present physics ideas in a radically non-technical way (by analogy and in simple words). I wouldn't recommend certain other authors who do this but could this guy be an exception?
After glancing at the stuff, if you have the time to take a look, what is your impression?

I should mention that he is promoting his book Hidden in Plain Sight, which I've seen a lot of on the amazon physics bestseller list. These pages have a prominent ("banner headline") advertisement at the top. His book (which is out in several formats including "Kindle e-book") seems to be doing pretty well, but that by itself doesn't mean much. Anyway the website has extensive free samples and what interests me is whether these might be a useful resource for us.
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Re: How good are Andrew Thomas' physics web-writings?

Postby Braininvat on August 14th, 2014, 1:01 pm 

I read the relational universe link and was gobsmacked by its clarity. The way he connects relativity and quantum mechanics, by means of the fact that all properties of an object are multi-valued until they are regarded in relation to the rest of the universe....well, it's something I would like to go back and read every so often when I feel my eyes glazing over.
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Re: How good are Andrew Thomas' physics web-writings?

Postby Marshall on August 14th, 2014, 1:51 pm 

I'm glad you took a look! It goes without saying I value your opinion a lot (especially on matters of science-writing). Today is my first exposure to the guy's writing. Up to now Ive just seen his titles on the bestseller lists.

You know I'm mistrustful of popularizations and this guy's performance is giving me a "too good to be true" feel. But I'm open to taking the good with the bad. Maybe he oversimplifies in some respects, but if he get major enlightenments across that outweigh the oversimplification then I'm a fan.

I checked the author page at amazon and saw that he actually has three books out HiPS, HiPS 2, HiPS 3

each is currently the number one Kindle best-seller in its category (e.g. quantum theory, time, gravity )

Kindle > Physics > Time
http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/di ... 159806011/
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kind ... 159806011/

Kindle > Physics > Quantum Theory
http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/di ... 159799011/
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kind ... 159799011/

Kindle > Physics > Gravity
http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/di ... 159791011/
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Re: How good are Andrew Thomas' physics web-writings?

Postby Dave_Oblad on August 14th, 2014, 8:07 pm 

Hi Marshall,

Per Andrew Thomas...

Yes, I've already referenced some of his web pages here:
http://sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=72&t=27180&start=30#p261730

Some of it is fairly good and much is repeated generalizations, but perhaps better explained for more novice audiences. But we really need an Academic course in thinking outside the Box!

For example on the Relativity Page:
Page Quote wrote:"There is nothing outside the universe"

In his excellent book Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Lee Smolin introduces a simple maxim: there is nothing outside the universe. This statement is fairly self-evident and should not be controversial. If we define the "universe" to be the sum total of absolutely everything that exists, then there can clearly be nothing "outside" the universe. But this seemingly unremarkable maxim has astounding implications for our picture of nature - implications which are not generally realised.

If there is nothing outside the universe, then everything "inside" the universe can only be defined in terms of other objects "inside" the universe: every object in the universe is defined in terms of every other object in the universe.

It's stuff like this that has the insidious effect of programming a reader into accepting the logic and thus unknowingly trap himself inside the proverbial BOX. The fallacy here is the presumption that only ONE Universe can Exist. It would be better to say that everything inside "THIS" Universe is Relative to everything else inside "THIS" Universe. The additional word games quoted above are superfluous and potentially damaging to an open mind.

This is why I prefer to read the results of tests but pay little attention to the explanation and/or reasoning for what the test is supposed to prove or disprove. It is so easy to get caught or trapped inside the Box. One must always be on guard for this danger. The only way of avoiding such danger, that I know of, is to read a lot of related ideas so you can become expert enough to judge and weigh for yourself.

Now, that being said.. his work is no more or less damaging than most other publications that attempt to stay mainstream. And it does make accessible some concepts that Novices may not have been exposed to, so in general.. I give him a thumbs up.

Best wishes,
Dave :^)
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Re: How good are Andrew Thomas' physics web-writings?

Postby MiketheTyke on October 30th, 2018, 7:49 am 

He has 6 books now and all six are excellent reading, he can actually make Physics a subject for reading enjoyable.
In the same vein as Feynman.
Roger Penrose as well as being highly qualified and capable in maths and physics can make them understandable and enjoyable reading for anyone.
I do like his latest book where he argues that researchers working at the extreme frontiers of physics are just as susceptible to these forces as anyone else.
In this provocative book, he argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today's researchers astray in three of the field's most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. Spot on Roger.
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