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Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of Hardcover – 10 Nov 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1176 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; 1st edition edition (10 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762434341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762434343
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 5.3 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 515,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)
"Experts will relish these paradigm-shifting concepts...physicists will find it a joy. For them the title is well chosen."

Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)
Experts will relish these paradigm-shifting concepts physicists will find it a joy. For them the title is well chosen. "

About the Author

Stephen Hawking is the most highly celebrated and recognized scientist alive today. He first came to mainstream prominence with the publication of A Brief History of Time, and followed with a second triumph, The Universe in a Nutshell, and most recently, The Grand Design. The media has called Hawking "the most intelligent man in the world today" and "the scientific heir to Einstein, Newton, and Galileo." He lives in Cambridge, England.


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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You want to know more about the original publications of the inventors of quantum mechanics and read their own words? Then this large volume is very good value. Though what you get out of it will depend strongly on your technical background in physics and what you expect from your reading.

The selection of papers was presumably made by Stephen Hawking. If so, it is rather odd in that a number of key papers are missing. In particular Bohr's famous paper 'On the Quantum Theory of Line-Spectra' is replaced by a much later review article. No doubt this makes for easier reading but it is not in the spirit of the book as advertised. Again, the key paper by Born Heisenberg and Jordan 'On Quantum Mehanics' is not there, probably for the same reason. As usual in US/UK physics de Broglie's contribution is absent. Amazingly there are 2 long papers by David Bohm on his hidden variables interpretation of quantum mechanics (39 pp!) which has had zero influence on current physics.

The introduction by Hawking is a (very) brief history of the subject which seems to be present mainly to justify his name on the cover. It does not discuss the contents in detail. It also looks as if Hawking was not involved in the brief commentaries heading each chapter: these are attributed to Joel Allred. They will not help you to understand the papers. (If you want to know what can be done to explain the papers and their history in detail, look at '100 Years of Planck's Quantum' by Duck and Sudarshan or 'Sources of Quantum Mechanics' by van der Waerden.)

A largish proportion of this volume is taken up by review artcles and even a couple of chapters from a popular book by Gamow; hardly 'the most astounding papers ...' promised on the dust jacket.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a technical book and only for those who have a physics degree. Do not think it will be accessable in the same way as a Brief History of Time. What Hawking has done here is to assemble all the original papers on Quantum Theory from the very start to almost the present day. If you are use to reading scientific papers then this will be for you.

The real strength of the book is in the choice of which papers to include and this is where Hawking's expertise comes in. Here you have between the pages of a single volume every important paper that was written by the original discoverers of Quantum Theory; Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, de Broglie, Feynman, Dirac, Pauli, etc. He includes them all... and even includes the seminal papers of David Bohm from 1952 and John Bells papers on hidden variables which though not considered mainstream are central to undertanding what is behind Quantum Theory. A keyresource book for anyone who wants to study this area seriously and who is not afraid of equations. If you want to really understand Quantum Theory you really need to understand the orginal ideas and thoughts from the people who actually came up with the ideas themselves. This is the only book to do that for you.
Dr Phil
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must admit I love reading new science books, always preferred them to fiction books...but then again I may be completely mad. I find this book more substantial than his other work as he delves into other peoples great work, talking about other theories of which most have won noble prizes for. It can be seen as a little bit less user friendly, but then again for those that seek the actual papers and read science journals regularly within the field it would be a better book than his other work.
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Format: Hardcover
This ~1100 page work is a sourcebook of seminal papers intended to give a historical overview of the development of quantum physics over the course of the twentieth century. The selection of papers (translated into English) is excellent (although some reviewers have complained about omissions), and they have been skilfully arranged into chapters by theme. In addition there are historically important lecture notes and book extracts. There is a good, brief introduction by Stephen Hawking, and also useful commentaries at the start of each chapter, written by Joel Allred (and presumably approved by Hawking). Despite the publisher's blurb, this is certainly not aimed at the typical lay reader. Only someone who has substantive previous knowledge of quantum theory up to at least the equivalent of undergraduate level will be able to benefit much from it.

[The following paragraph is too harsh - I will correct it in a comment.]
What might have been a superb book has been marred by shoddy proofreading. There are numerous glaring typographical errors that unfortunately extend to the formulae. Phi and psi get mixed up, subscripts or exponents are printed in normal font or vice-versa, and so on. I do not think that this makes the book unreadable - if you know the maths you will usually be able to work out what is wrong. But it makes reading these papers even more challenging and wastes considerable time. Moreover one cannot be confident that any equation taken from the text is correct.

Chapter five on philosophical issues is representative of the others. The first item is Max Born's Nobel Prize acceptance speech in which he describes his statistical interpretation of the wave function.
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