I’m Dr. Adam Becker. I write and speak about science.
What is Real?, my book about the unfinished quest for the meaning of quantum physics, will be available in bookstores worldwide in Spring 2018. Quantum physics powers the cell phones in our pockets and the sun in our sky. It’s our most successful theory of the world. But there’s a hole at the heart of the theory: we don’t really understand what quantum physics is saying about the nature of reality. Physicists have debated this for over ninety years, and the story of that debate—the story I tell in my book—reveals a fascinating human side of the scientific enterprise. If you’re not a scientist, but you want to understand quantum physics, and you like reading about science and the people behind it, then this book is for you. (And if you want to be the first to know when and where I’ll be speaking once my book comes out, sign up for email updates here.)
I’ve been wanting to write a book about this for years, and I’m still astonished that it’s actually happened. Thanks to my publishers, Basic Books and John Murray—and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which gave me a generous grant—I’ve been able to spend the last two years writing this book nearly full-time. In addition, I’m currently a visiting scholar at the Office for History of Science and Technology at UC Berkeley. I also make videos and write features for the BBC, New Scientist, and other science media outlets. And I occasionally tell stories for the Story Collider podcast.
I used to work at the Public Library of Science (PLOS), an open-access scientific publisher. I was a researcher in the Labs division, where I developed new tools to change the way scientific research results are shared. Before PLOS, I was at New Scientist magazine, where I designed and coded several interactive features for their website. I also wrote about new developments in physics, astronomy, and other areas of science and technology.
I earned a PhD in computational cosmology from the University of Michigan, where I worked with Dragan Huterer in the Physics Department. My thesis was on primordial non-Gaussianity, which is a fancy way of saying that I was trying to find out how much we can learn about the way stuff was arranged in the early universe by looking at the way stuff is arranged in the universe right now. While I was in graduate school, I had some adventures you might enjoy hearing about.