Cover image for Through two doors at once : the elegant experiment that captures the enigma of our quantum reality / Anil Ananthaswamy.
Through two doors at once : the elegant experiment that captures the enigma of our quantum reality / Anil Ananthaswamy.
Title Variants:
Through 2 doors at once
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2018]

Physical Description:
x, 290 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Prologue: The story of nature taunting us -- The case of the experiment with two holes : Richard Feynman explains the central mystery -- What does it mean "to be"? : the road to reality, from Copenhagen to Brussels -- Between reality and perception : doing the double slit, one photon at a time -- From sacred texts : revelations about spooky action at a distance -- To erase or not to erase : mountaintop experiments take us to the edge -- Bohmian rhapsody : obvious ontology evolving the obvious way -- Gravity kills the quantum cat? : the case for bringing spacetime into the mix -- Healing an ugly scar : the many worlds medicine -- Epilogue: Ways of looking at the same thing?
"It's the story of quantum mechanics told through the lens of the 'double-slit' experiment, showing how light passing through two slits cut into a cardboard sheet first challenged our understanding of light and the nature of reality almost two hundred years ago--and continues to do so"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
530.12 ANA Book Adult General Collection

On Order



Decade after decade scientists have continued to return to the double-slit experiment to help them answer questions about the quantum mechanics of reality - it continues to expose and untangle the deepest mysteries of the universe. Through Two Doors At Once celebrates physics at its most elegantly simple and profound. Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, introducing readers to visionary contemporary physicists such as Roger Penrose and Leonard Susskind who are still developing this experiment, as well as revolutionaries like Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

Author Notes

Anil Ananthaswamy is a consultant for the London-based New Scientist magazine, a guest editor in science journalism at UC Santa Cruz's renowned science writing program, and teaches in the science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. He has worked at New Scientist in various capacities since 2000, including as a staff writer and a deputy news editor. He is a freelance feature editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science's Front Matter . He has also written for National Geographic, Discover , The Times, and The Independent and is a columnist for PBS NOVA's The Nature of Reality blog. His first book The Edge of Physics was voted book of the year in 2010 by Physics World , and his latest title, The Man Who Wasn't There , won a Nautilus Book Award in 2015.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Science writer Ananthaswamy (The Man Who Wasn't There) guides readers through the odd byways and revelations of one of modern physics's most groundbreaking experiments. The tale begins some 200 years ago when Thomas Young, a youthful member of the Royal Society of London, challenged Isaac Newton's assertion that light is made of tiny particles. Young's experiment-shining light through a barrier with two slits cut into it and a screen beyond-showed the light beams recombined beyond the slits to create a row of alternating bright and dark stripes, or interference fringes, "created when two waves overlap." But that wasn't the end of the matter, and the particle versus wave question raised new hackles with the early 20th-century breakthroughs of Albert Einstein and the rise of quantum theory. Over the course of this intellectual journey, Ananthaswamy introduces a fascinating array of ideas, e.g., that quantum mechanics means humans should "give up notions of locality in 3-D space [and] our notions of time too," and characters, e.g., "quantum cowboy" Marlan Scully, famed for "pioneering research on the nature of reality and beef cattle production." This accessible, illuminating book shows that no matter how sophisticated the lab setup, the double-slit experiment still challenges physicists. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

In his latest work, journalist -Ananthaswamy (The Man Who Wasn't There) explores the famous "double-slit" experiment. Although simple, the investigation is profound as it defies classical, Newtonian physics as well as the way human beings intuitively perceive reality. It was first performed in 1801, when physicist Thomas Young directed sunlight through a tiny pinhole in a window shutter and then around each side of a paper card. The resulting -interference -pattern convinced Young that light is made of waves rather than particles. Further double-slit experiments, however, would reveal more perplexing results by showing that light (and electrons) display characteristics of both waves and particles. Throughout, Ananthaswamy depicts the various ways the experiment has been performed and also describes its impact on the greatest scientists of the 20th century, shedding light on how they have interpreted the findings. -VERDICT An engaging and accessible history of a fascinating and baffling experiment that remains inconclusive to this day. -Recommended for those interested in the subject or anyone wishing to delve further into the double-slit experiment.-Dave Pugl, Ela Area P.L., Lake Zurich, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
The Story of Nature Taunting Us
1 The Case Of The Experiment With Two Holes: Richard Feynman Explains the Central Mysteryp. 5
2 What Does It Mean "To Be"?: :The Road to Reality, from Copenhagen to Brusselsp. 23
3 Between Reality And Perception: :Doing the Double Slit, One Photon at a Timep. 59
4 From Sacred Texts: :Revelations about Spooky Action at a Distancep. 93
5 To Erase Or Not To Erase: :Mountaintop Experiments Take Us to the Edgep. 109
1 Bohmian Rhapsody: :Obvious Ontology Evolving the Obvious Wayp. 147
7 Gravity Kills The Quantum Cat?: :The Case for Adding Spacetime into the Mixp. 187
8 Healing An Ugly Scar: :The Many Worlds Medicinep. 217
Epiloguep. 255
Ways of Looking at the Same Thing?
Notesp. 267
Acknowledgmentsp. 281
Indexp. 283