- Hardcover: 216 pages
- Publisher: National Academy Press (1 Oct. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0309096227
- ISBN-13: 978-0309096225
- Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 15.3 x 2.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 750,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Quantum Zoo: A Tourist's Guide to the Neverending Universe Hardcover – 1 Oct 2005
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More About the Author
A clear window into the utter strangeness that defines our universe. The author stands out. -- Publisher's Weekly, January 9, 2006
Never fear Chown is here! Chown makes the steep learning curve easy and entertaining. -- Science A Go Go, May 4, 2006
Presents complex science in a way that both educates and entertains. -- The Washington Post, May 28, 2006
Weird, sexy and mind-blowing. This is what good popular science writing is all about. -- Nature, April 13, 2006
The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein's general theory of relativity. Together, they explain virtually everything about the world we live in. But, almost a century after their advent, most people haven't the slightest clue what either is about. Did you know that there's so much empty space inside matter that the entire human race could be squeezed into the volume of a sugar cube? Or that you grow old more quickly on the top floor of a building than on the ground floor? And did you realize that 1 per cent of the static on a TV tuned between stations is the relic of the Big Bang? These and many other remarkable facts about the world are direct consequences of quantum physics and relativity.Quantum theory has literally made the modern world possible. Not only has it given us lasers, computers, and nuclear reactors, but it has provided an explanation of why the sun shines and why the ground beneath our feet is solid. Despite this, however, quantum theory and relativity remain a patchwork of fragmented ideas, vaguely understood at best and often utterly mysterious.They have even gained a reputation of being beyond the understanding of the average person. Author Marcus Chown emphatically disagrees.As Einstein himself said, "Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone." If you think that the marvels of modern physics have passed you by, it is not too late. In Chown's capable hands, quantum physics and relativity are not only painless but downright fun. So sit back, relax, and get comfortable as an adept and experienced science communicator brings you quickly up to speed on some of the greatest ideas in the history of human thought.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the moment, there's no free preview chapter on this site for the Quantum Zoo; but if you Google Chown's website you can sample a free chapter before making a decision.
At the moment, there's no free preview chapter on this site for the Quantum Zoo; but if you visit Chown's website at www.marcuschown.com, you can sample a free chapter before making a decision
But somehow I must have missed a chapter in Chown's book or maybe a section or something because no matter how hard I tried I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. The problem is that the gravity well is so intense that time is crawling by so incredibly slowly that I may never get home. I don't seem to be moving at all!
But since the universe is "neverending" and I got stuck such a long, long time ago (your time), what with Hawking's dissipation, things are beginning to look rather good. The hole is about to evaporate and I should be free. Ah, but now I remember: this evaporation is taking place something like one particle at a time and I will come out a bit thin. On the other hand despite having entered the horizon some billions of years ago, I really haven't made much progress and in fact I'm not really IN the black hole yet even though it's dissipating.
Curiouser and curiouser. Such is the world as it apparently REALLY IS.
Chown has a lot of fun with all the quantum weirdness along with a retrospective on Einstein's relativity. He writes with his usual charm and grace although don't be fooled: we are NOT enlightened. I still cannot imagine that very real but "cloudy" electron, probabilistically surrounding the proton. I cannot imagine something that is both a single-pointed particle and a wave. The duality of all matter suggests to me that there is a level of reality that we haven't reached yet.Read more ›
Chown also includes some wonderful asides. "The night after Houtermans and Atkinson did the calculation, Houtermans reportedly tried to impress his girlfriend with a line that nobody in history had used before. As they stood beneath a perfect moonless sky, he boasted that he was the only person in the world who knew why the stars were shining. It must have worked. Two years later, Charlotte Riefenstahl agreed to marry him. (Actually, she married him twice, but that's another story.)" (Can we look forward to the full story in the next book please?)
I found the science a bit mind-boggling in places, but Chown is a good explainer and I dare say the book is hard because the science is, um, hard.
My complaint about the book is its lack of pictures.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the "real" world, the one we can see and feel, things are generally predictable. Rain doesn't fall from a cloudless sky, and the sun rises at the eastern horizon. Read morePublished on 10 May 2007 by Stephen A. Haines
A wonderful book, simple to read yet full of amazing concepts, expained in a to the point, well articulated manner. Read morePublished on 7 July 2006 by Raja Hussain