Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect

Paul Halpern (Author)


From Aristotle's Physics to quantum teleportation, learn about the scientific pursuit of instantaneous connections in this insightful examination of our world.

For millennia, scientists have puzzled over a simple question: Does the universe have a speed limit? If not, some effects could happen at the same instant as the actions that caused them -- and some effects, ludicrously, might even happen before their causes. By one hundred years ago, it seemed clear that the speed of light was the fastest possible speed. Causality was safe. And then quantum mechanics happened, introducing spooky connections that seemed to circumvent the law of cause and effect. Inspired by the new physics, psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli explored a concept called synchronicity, a weird phenomenon they thought could link events without causes. Synchronicity tells that sprawling tale of insight and creativity, and asks where these ideas -- some plain crazy, and others crazy powerful -- are taking the human story next.

Product Details

$30.00  $27.60
Basic Books
Publish Date
August 18, 2020
6.2 X 1.1 X 9.5 inches | 1.1 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and the author of sixteen popular science books, including The Quantum Labyrinth and Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


"An elegant and smoothly written account of how fundamental physics has informed our view of the cosmos from ancient times to the present. An engaging and informative blend of the scientific advances and the lives of the people who made them. A great read!"
--Ian Stewart, author of Do Dice Play God?
"A masterful account of the developments of fundamental physics over the past century."--Marcus Chown, author of Solar System
"Writing beautifully, Halpern describes with lucidity and great verve the whole story of how physics has led us to rethink what synchronicity means and ultimately to examine what Einstein once called "spooky action at a distance."--Gino Segre, author of The Pope of Physics

"Synchronicity is a very informative and thought-provoking account of humankind's efforts from antiquity to the present to understand the causal structure of the everyday world and, during the past century, to unite that understanding with the apparently acausal nature of the quantum world of atoms and particles. Paul Halpern writes with remarkable clarity and insight in a very accessible and engaging style."--David C. Cassidy, author of Beyond Uncertainty
"Paul Halpern, a gifted expositor of science, takes the reader on an exciting ride through history, showing how physicists and their antecedent philosophers have sought to understand nature through its connections-through synchronicity."--Kenneth W. Ford, author of Building the H Bomb
"Paul Halpern has zeroed in on one of the biggest mysteries in physics: objects with no mechanical linkage somehow act in harmony. He gives it a human face by digging into the Pauli-Jung collaboration-there is nothing else quite like it in the history of science."--George Musser, author of Spooky Action at a Distance
"In this beautifully written page-turner, physicist Paul Halpern reveals as much about the secrets of the universe as he does about his own masterful ability to uncover hidden patterns in the history of ideas. With elegance, clarity, and penetrating insight, Synchronicity takes its readers on a sweeping journey through a dazzling array of intellectual traditions in search of what connects everything around us and beyond. A superb intellectual achievement."--Julien Musolino, author of The Soul Fallacy
"A roller coaster of a ride that covers more than 2,000 years of philosophy and physics, culminating in a fascinating brain-bender of what we have to give up if we want to reconcile ideas like 'cause and effect' with the bizarreness of our fundamental reality. Every possible interpretation, including those of the 20th century's greatest physicists, dissatisfies us in some way. In Halpern's capable hands, our uncertainties about the quantum Universe transform from frustration to wonder as various ideas are at last put to the test, deepening our appreciation of our mysterious quantum Universe."--Ethan Siegel, author of Beyond the Galaxy