Entangled world: the fascination of quantum information and computation

Entangled world: the fascination of quantum information and computation    

J?rgen Audretsch (ed)   

Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH  2006 | 300pp | ?22.50 (HB) | ISBN 3527404708  

Reviewed by Dennis Rouvray

We all know that the quantum world is counter-intuitive and can at times seem quite bizarre. Indeed, its peculiarities have been the cause of much philosophical soul-searching about the nature of ultimate reality. Entangled world is one of the latest additions to the already vast literature on this subject. At least three reasons have been advanced for the strange behaviour of quantum systems and these concern the locality, separability and individuality of the component parts of such systems. 

Subatomic particles and other quantum objects are not localised at specific points in spacetime; they remain connected with other parts of the system even when separation is attempted, and so do not behave as independent entities. In fact, a quantum system consists not so much of individual objects but should be viewed rather as an inextricably linked web of interactions.  

Quantum entangling is at the heart of quantum weirdness and occurs whenever two quantum entities interact and persists even if they are subsequently separated by an enormous distance. This remarkable phenomenon has applications in quantum computing, cryptography and teleportation. 

Based on a series of lectures held at the University of Konstanz in 2000/2001, Entangled world is a composite work containing 10 chapters, each of which (apart from the first two) is written by a different author. The book is a translation of the German original titled Verschr?nkte welt and it certainly shows. The language is stiff and stilted and the quality of the English leaves much to be desired.  

Bearing in mind that this work is intended for a lay readership that includes even school children, I feel that it fails to live up to its promise to answer ’exciting questions ... in a way that is easy to follow and understand.’  

The questions it addresses are indeed exciting, but this work is definitely not. Those intent on savouring the delights of entanglement would be well advised to seek for sustenance elsewhere.