8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2000
Quantum mechanics is seriously weird. It appears to make no sense how things can be both wave and particle, can be in two places at once, and can cause instantaneous action across a distance.
This book isn't an introduction to quantum theory. Rather, it's an account of the various philosophical or metaphysical attempts to account for the strange behaviour of subatomic particles, in particular how they appear to need an observer to give them a definite position.
Considering the various interpretations of quantum theory, including the standard/Copenhagen and many worlds versions, the book explains the philosophical problems of each.
It uses a highly simplified model of quantum phenomena to give enough information to explain each interpretation, but it is in no way intended to be accurate physics. You are always conscious that you're working with an abstract generalisation rather than real science. So this is not a physics text, but more of a philosophical one.
Despite this, it throws in a fair amount of maths in the earlier chapters, with matrices, eigenvectors and complex numbers. If you can't understand his rather brief accounts - and even if you come from a mathematical, rather than a physics, background you'll find the notation's not what you're used to - don't worry. The later chapters don't depend on the maths except in a very small way.
Ultimately, none of the given accounts of the way quantum physics might work are wholly believable, but it is clearly a fascinating problem. Although Albert's style is flat and ungracious, and he tends not to uses analogies when they might be useful, it remains a good outline of the different approaches to the field.
If you're a lay reader and not scared of the maths, or if you want more theoretical background to your physics, this is a valuable book; however, don't expect to learn much of the quantum nitty-gritty.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2006
I've read this book through three times, not because I enjoyed it but rather I had two different experiences. In discussing Quantum Physics I followed his explainations easily but when it came to his own theories he writes more esoterically and I wondered what it would be like having him as a professor or lecturer.
I feel that he could have the subject a bit more accessable with more in-depth examples and discussion of the finer points of his main theories.
If you have a smattering of knowledge regarding Quantum Physics then you'll enjoy part of the book. I think you'll need more philosophy than an undergraduate degree offers which is my main sticking point.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2013
This is a great text, it contains maths but not to any frightening or esoteric level. All highly understandable and explained in just sufficient detail. Lets face it quantum physics is not intuitive and any text is going to have to be studied in detail, this is no exception I did not find it an 'easy read' But the style is so descriptive that after the appropriate amount of work the concepts start to spring out and you get the, 'ah I see now...' moments. A truly great book.