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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
15


on 25 January 2017
Bought as a gift for my Dad, who is a physicist/engineer and very into reading popular science. He said this was one of the most enjoyable and well written books he'd read in a long time and we could barely rouse him from it on boxing day. It's unusual for him to comment on a book unless it's terrible so that's grand praise indeed!
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on 22 July 2012
Fascinating and well written, particularly the first half of the book.

However the last sections on the newer aspects of quantum theory are very difficult to understand/read. Strangely, the editor/author has chosen to provide almost no illustrations, tables or mathematics to help the reader without background. I struggled with the last chapters, although I have a medical scientific background the last chapters are extremely difficult to understand. This book could be much improved by incorporation of more mathematics,illustrations and tables, unfortunately it seems as if the editor must have been sleeping.
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on 11 February 2015
Most 'popular' books on quantum physics seem to stop at the 1930s, this goes well beyond that to the early 21st century. Inevitably, covering this ground without mathematics limits the depth it goes to- but a good introduction to the subject for the layman.
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on 5 April 2016
great value for money
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on 31 May 2015
whilst a more than superficial knowledge of Quantum Physics and of the standard model of the nucleus would be a help , this is a comprehensive chronology of the history of Quantum Theory and , as such , is entertaining , enlightening , and interesting . I have enjoyed the experience.
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on 27 November 2014
THANK YOU.
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on 31 May 2012
This is a well written, informative and easy to understand book. Although some of the ideas were complex, as a fifteen year old I was able to understand them. I recommend anybody with an interest in this topic to purchase this book.
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on 30 December 2013
Clearly written and the historical perspective is invaluable. A minority interest but well whithin the reach of most educated people.
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on 22 May 2012
Interesting. Read to learn more of the search for the basis of everything and find the current view of quantum theory. Found we were still lost and don't know what to do next to find out. We seem to have found a loop theory which pans out mathematically then revert to superstrings. Might has well agree on 42. References are a quarter of the book.
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on 2 January 2018
This is an excellent introduction to modern physics. The approach Jim takes is to recount the history of physics over the last hundred years or so, and this works well. There are no formulae or 'scary maths', but the book is generally pretty rigorous. Jim does not shy away from telling it how it is, even when he is talking about superpositions of quantum states. I find his approach very refreshing compared with many pop science books, which oversimplify the physics to the point of just being wrong.

The reason I only awarded four stars rather than five is because for me the book is not about quantum mechanics. It is very interesting to read about general relativity, and Jim's presentations of string theory, the standard model, and the Wheeler/DeWitt equations of gravity are as clear as you could hope for, but these are not quantum mechanics. These sections should have been part of another book -- perhaps 'The Physics Story'.

In terms of pure quantum mechanics, there are some gems here. The description of the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox is accurate and easy to understand. The Aspect experiment and its successors are explained clearly and very fully. By the end of this book you should have a clear grasp of the issues around non-locality.

The Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is presented in detail. I found the history of the ideas behind it fascinating. Hidden variable theories such as Bohm's are treated carefully too. But in terms of interpretations or hypotheses about the nature of Quantum Mechanics, that is all you get.

The Many Worlds theory gets a short dismissive paragraph. Given that a large minority (at least) of working theoretical physicists subscribe to Many Worlds or a variant of it, this is not good enough. Many Worlds has its flaws, but has the potential to avoid the non-locality issues that the rest of this book hammers on about, and it deserves more than a paragraph. Ideas such as Roger Penrose's linking of mass/gravity with decoherence, or non-linearity leading to wave function collapse, or for that matter consciousness, are not even discussed. A quick google of 'interpretations of quantum mechanics' would show you that there is more to the subject than Bohm versus Copenhagen.
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