An exploration of cutting-edge physics and the implications that the scientific theory has for who we are and how our society should be structured.
QUANTUM PHYSICS MADE ME DO IT
by Jeremie Harris
Penguin Canada, May 2022
(via Levine Greenberg Rostan)
The discovery of quantum mechanics has paved the way to just about every important innovation in the last half century. It has led us to the technology that powers microwaves, iPhones, and self-driving cars and is about to trigger a computing revolution that will either spell the end of the human species or propel us to heights we’ve never imagined.
Without question, quantum mechanics is the single most successful scientific theory in human history. And, contrary to popular belief, it is also one of the simplest — you don’t need to know math, have fancy degrees or be buried in a mountain of student loans to understand it.
But there’s another reason that quantum mechanics is so important: it is really the only way we can understand ourselves and each other. For the last hundred years or so, physicists have been feverishly debating what quantum theory has to say about you: what you’re made of, whether you have free will, what will happen to you when you die, and much more. Are human beings immortal? Are apples conscious? Do our legal systems make assumptions about free will that are just plain wrong?
QUANTUM PHYSICS MADE ME DO IT is an amusing, irreverent exploration of our most successful scientific theory and the implications it has for who we are and how our society should be structured. In a disarming and amusing tone, it presents the reader with intuitive, battle-tested and high-school friendly explanations of these otherwise intimidating topics. It illustrates these concepts with “kets” – the glorified doodles used by physicists themselves as explanatory tools – to painlessly break down deep questions that are hotly debated to this day within the quantum physics community, and which have implications for human self-perception, law, and social structure.
“Jeremie Harris has the uncanny ability to make the most esoteric, theoretical science not just understandable — but incredibly engaging. I am fairly certain that nobody else could have explained quantum physics to me in a way that gave me a solid and deep understanding of the processes at work — enough that I could turn around and teach them to someone else. And like the best professors, Harris is compulsively captivating, funny, and engrossing. This isn’t a lecture; it’s entertainment that feeds the brain.” — Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Book Of Two Ways
Jeremie Harris received a Master’s in Physics from the University of Toronto in 2013. His academic research in quantum mechanics has been featured in many of the top peer-reviewed journals in physics including Nature Physics, Physical Review Letters and Optica. For his research, he was awarded the Vanier Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious graduate research award, equivalent to the Rhodes or Fulbright scholarships in the UK and US. In 2016, after completing most of a PhD studying the foundations of quantum mechanics, Jeremie founded an artificial intelligence startup which eventually became SharpestMinds, a mentorship program for aspiring machine learning and AI specialists. With over 500 alumni and $15 million in new salaries created, it’s the world’s first profitable income share program, and they’ve gone on to raise funds from top Silicon Valley investors. Jeremie hosts the official podcast of Towards Data Science, a Medium publication with over 20 million monthly views, focused on AI, machine learning and the future of humanity. He is 30 years old.