David Deutsch : biography
David Elieser Deutsch, FRS (born 1953 in Haifa, Israel) is a British physicist at the University of Oxford. He is a non-stipendiary Visiting Professor in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation (CQC) in the Clarendon Laboratory of the University of Oxford. He pioneered the field of quantum computation by formulating a description for a quantum Turing machine, as well as specifying an algorithm designed to run on a quantum computer.
Also available Abstract available He is a proponent of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Politically, Deutsch is known to be sympathetic to libertarianism, and was a founder, along with Sarah Fitz-Claridge, of the Taking Children Seriously movement. He is also an atheist.
He was awarded the Dirac Prize of the Institute of Physics in 1998, and the Edge of Computation Science Prize in 2005. The Fabric of Reality was shortlisted for the Rhone-Poulenc science book award in 1998.
Popular science books
The Fabric of Reality
In his 1997 book The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch details his "Theory of Everything." It aims not at the reduction of everything to particle physics, but rather mutual support among multiversal, computational, epistemological, and evolutionary principles. His theory of everything is (weakly) emergentist rather than reductive.
There are "four strands" to his theory:
- Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, "the first and most important of the four strands."
- Karl Popper’s epistemology, especially its anti-inductivism and requiring a realist (non-instrumental) interpretation of scientific theories, as well as its emphasis on taking seriously those bold conjectures that resist falsification.
- Alan Turing’s theory of computation, especially as developed in Deutsch’s Turing principle, in which the Universal Turing machine is replaced by Deutsch’s universal quantum computer. ("The theory of computation is now the quantum theory of computation.")
- Richard Dawkins’s refinement of Darwinian evolutionary theory and the modern evolutionary synthesis, especially the ideas of replicator and meme as they integrate with Popperian problem-solving (the epistemological strand).
The Beginning of Infinity
Deutsch’s second book, The Beginning of Infinity, was published on 31 March 2011. In this book Deutsch views the Enlightenment of the 18th century as near the beginning of an unending sequence of purposeful knowledge creation. He examines the nature of memes and how and why creativity evolved in humans.
In the Royal Society of London’s announcement of Deutsch becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2008, the Society described Deutsch’s contributions thus:, The Royal Society. Also available . .
David Deutsch laid the foundations of the quantum theory of computation, and has subsequently made or participated in many of the most important advances in the field, including the discovery of the first quantum algorithms, the theory of quantum logic gates and quantum computational networks, the first quantum error-correction scheme, and several fundamental quantum universality results. He has set the agenda for worldwide research efforts in this new, interdisciplinary field, made progress in understanding its philosophical implications (via a variant of the many-universes interpretation) and made it comprehensible to the general public, notably in his book The Fabric of Reality.
He is currently working on constructor theory, an attempt at generalizing the quantum theory of computation to cover not just computation but all physical processes., A Conversation with David Deutsch, Interview at ‘Edge’ , 22 October 2012