2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Quantum Theory without the Maths,
This review is from: Quantum: A Guide For The Perplexed (Paperback)
I have been trying to get my head around quantum theory for decades (literally) but always had a mental block - mainly due to wavefunctions and too much mathematics I think. (Or is it poor lecturing of quantum chemistry when I did my degree all those years go) However, I have finally found a book that has started to help me make sense of it all.
Quantum is written by Jim Al-Khalili in a very readable style - if you like his way of presenting ideas on the various TV and radio shows then you will like this book - I could almost hear him reading it to me. Throughout the entire book there is only one mathematical equation - Schrodinger's equation - and it makes only one appearance, quite early on. All of the ideas are explained by analogy, making the whole topic much less daunting.
He does cover pretty much all of the quantum theory - starting off with the early interpretations of atomic structure, some of which are probably still taught, why and how they were proved wrong, through to the present day theories with examples of where quantum theory is applicable to everyday life with suggestions of where the theory and applications will go next (quantum computing being the main example).
All the major topics / theories are included; the double-slit experiment features heavily, but the book also adequately covers atomic structure, Schrodinger's cat, quantum tunnelling, superposition of the aforementioned dreaded wavefunctions and their decoherence. There is also a discussion on the variety of current theories, whether they could all be correct or just one and where current opinion is tending to head.
So, whilst I still don't understand quantum theory enough to be able to explain it to someone else (I think this is just me, not the fault of the book) I do feel ready to tackle some of the other books I have on the subject and in the recommended further reading list. I would also definitely recommend this book to anyone trying to understand quantum theory or to fill in some of the gaps in their understanding - it is probably one of the most accessible texts out there.