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God Does Play Dice with the Universe – Shan Gao **

In God Does Play Dice with the Universe, Chinese author Shan Gao describes his interesting thesis that motion can be explained if quantum particles move in a discrete (as opposed to continuous) and random fashion.

There are without doubt some interesting points here, but as a book, God Does Play Dice has some big problems. Effectively self-published, it is a very short book – just over 100 pages, which are bizarrely double spaced like a manuscript, taking it down to 50 real pages. English is not the author’s first language, and though the text is largely comprehensible, the author clearly isn’t up to the challenge of explaining the complexities of a quantum level theory to the general reader. This is difficult for an accomplished science writer, and however good Shan Gao’s theories, he is not one (at least in English).

I was also puzzled that though he quotes Richard Feynman several times, there is no mention of quantum electrodynamics, despite there being significant parallels between its approach of summation over all paths and this book’s ‘random and discontinuous’ mantra. This phrase, along with ‘God does not play dice’ is repeated so many times that if the repetitions were extracted, you would end up with little more than a magazine article.

We see quite a few self-published books for review that describe ‘my theory of the universe’ or words to that effect. Such self-deluded rambling is not what we’ve got here. There is quite possibly something worth examining in Shan Gao’s theories – but it would require a better writer to make them accessible to the general reader.


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Review by Brian Clegg

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