Upcoming Event

Adam Forrest Kay at Harvard Book Store


Escape from Shadow Physics: The Quest to End the Dark Ages of Quantum Theory 


September 3, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes Adam Forrest Kay—postdoctoral associate in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—for a discussion of his new book Escape from Shadow Physics: The Quest to End the Dark Ages of Quantum Theory.

About Escape from Shadow Physics

The received wisdom in quantum physics is that, at the deepest levels of reality, there are no actual causes for atomic events. This idea led to the outlandish belief that quantum objects—indeed, reality itself—aren’t real unless shaped by human measurement. Einstein mocked this idea, asking whether his bed spread out across his room unless he looked at it. And yet it remains one of the most influential ideas in science and our culture.

In Escape from Shadow Physics, Adam Forrest Kay takes up Einstein’s torch: reality isn’t mysterious or dependent on human measurement, but predictable and independent of us. At the heart of his argument is groundbreaking research with little drops of oil. These droplets behave as particles do in the long-overlooked quantum theory of pilot waves; crucially, they showcase quantum behavior while being described by classical physics. And that classical-quantum interface points to a true understanding of quantum mechanics and a reasonable universe.

A bold and essential reset of the field, Escape from Shadow Physics describes the kind of true scientific revolution that comes along just once—or less—in a century.

Praise for Escape from Shadow Physics

"In the bouncing groove of an oil droplet, Adam Forrest Kay finds a new way to look at quantum mechanics—one that replaces randomness and mystery with new knowledge. Supported by a brilliantly told history and philosophy of physics, this book will change how you think about the field’s past. And it may just set a new path for its future.” —Stephon Alexander, author of Fear of a Black Universe

“Whatever you think of Kay’s efforts to overturn the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and to justify Einstein by re-establishing classical norms of causality and determinism, his history of the whole wave/particle debate, from ancient Greece onwards, is authoritative and encyclopedic—and also intriguingly suggests that the purely scientific arguments were in part outweighed by an element of the straightforwardly human.” —Michael Frayn, playwright and novelist

"Reads like a novel, in which the biographies of major physical concepts are intertwined with the biographies of the great minds that shaped them. The reader will be surprised by the clarity of Kay’s arguments." —Ana María Cetto, author of The Emerging Quantum

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Adam Forrest Kay
Adam Forrest Kay

Adam Forrest Kay

Adam Forrest Kay has two PhDs, one in literature from the University of Cambridge and the other in mathematics from the University of Oxford. He is currently a postdoctoral associate in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Photo Credit: Erin Kelly

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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