Quantum: A Guide For The Perplexed Paperback – 13 May 2004
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Takes readers on a fascinating journey. Al-Khalili [uses] simple and clear language and he provides excellent graphics. This is mandatory reading for undergraduates with or without a science background. "Library Journal ""
The terrifying complexities of quantum mechanics explained.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Also, I was very interested to learn that Schrödinger's famous thought-experiment about the dead / alive cat, dealing with one of the weirder aspects of Quantum Theory - the collapse of the wave function into actuality only on observation or measurement - was proposed by Schrödinger as a rebuttal of that theory, on the basis that he considered the notion of the cat being simultaneously alive and dead as being absurd. As do I. All other books that I have read to date on QM discuss Schrödinger's cat as one of the many bizarre realities of QM rather than as being a warning sign that the theory is incomplete.
The world, the universe, matter, time and space are all exceedingly strange things. We can only perceive them, or anything else, through our senses. Undoubtedly much lies "out there" that our senses do not perceive. We have, and can have, only a glimpse of reality. It is therefore virtually impossible for us, even in principle, to fully understand how it all works. But work it undoubtedly does. Science is a search for the explanation and continually seeks the Holy Grail of physics, the Grand Unified Theory or the Theory of Everything, a quest which may never succeed.Read more ›
In this regard Al-Khalili does not disappoint. The historical progress of thought from the world of classical (Newtonian) physics through the golden age where physics and philosophy walked uneasily hand-in-hand during the 1920's and 30's and the rise to prominence of the 'greats' of theoretical physics - Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Einstein, Bohr, Pauli, et al - is very well and clearly documented and engagingly presented.
The vibrancy of the crashing principles and ideas of quantum mechanics and the birth of subatomic theory is fascinating in itself, but it is Al-Khalili's sheer enthusiasm for the truly strange nature of the universe at the quantum level that is most infectious. This can often lead to hints of "no, look how weird this is!" but for the most part, the ideas are clearly presented and logically presented without resorting to jingoism and tenuous metaphor.
The only place the book really falls down is in its layout in this edition. Often very key principles are interrupted by small fly out boxes or spin-off articles within a chapter which can lead your train of thought to go "ooh, hang on, i better read that, it looks interesting" which can really wreck your train of thought on the main chapter text.
These articles are always interesting and are often practical examples of current research into matters being discussed within the chapter, often by prominent current researchers - it's just the layout that suffers a little.Read more ›
Quantum physics being what it is, I half-expected the book to be quite difficult and dry but this is 100% not the case. Although some of the theories are tricky to grasp, the author uses a great set of analogies (along with some clever and very colourful diagrams) to convey their meaning. There is plenty of humour to keep you going as well.
After finishing the book, I'll come clean and admit that I am still not sure exactly what a wavefunction really is (then again, I'm not sure anyone does) but I do feel that I climbed a couple of rungs up the ladder of understanding. But I definitely now know what a quantum leap is and I learnt about something I had never heard of before, namely quantum tunnelling' (and why it is relevant to everyday life). I also certainly now understand the significance of what happens in the famous double-slit experiment (so next time the subject comes up in the pub, I can offer an explanation of wave-partical duality). Oh, and I solved the paradox at the heart of the `Schrodinger's cat' thought experiment. Of course I didn't actually solve it but the author gently led me there step by step and then, just at the right time, confirmed my growing suspicions. That is a clever teacher/writer in action !
The book is also superb on real-life applications of quantum understanding, such as in biology and semi-conductors, and on possible future applications such as the `quantum computer' (which could one day help Moore's law hold good for a few more years).
This is popular science, albeit on a difficult subject, at its absolute best and most entertaining.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chapter 1 has left me more perplexed than when I started. I had thought that wave/particle duality, shown by the double-split experiment, applied to sub-atomic particles (photons,... Read morePublished 6 days ago by A Frequent Customer
This is such an excellent book. I studied physics and quantum mechanics at university but really wish this book had been around then. Read morePublished 11 days ago by N R J DE COSTA
A well written insight into the difficult world of physics revealing the depth of knowledge attained in this field but demonstrating how much we as yet are ignorant of.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Just finished reading this, and has already earned a top 5 place amongst my hundreds of books! It does what it says on the tin, and gives you a fundamental understanding of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sean
Even an idiot like me gets it after reading this entertaining bookPublished 3 months ago by Ian Angus Campbell