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on 13 December 2011
The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happenBrian Cox and Jeff Forshaw explain the basics of the amazing subject of quantum physics in an understandable way. The difficult concepts do not make for easy reading, but I felt I had a much better understanding of what is going on at the sub-atomic level after reading this. Although written for the layman it is helpful to have some scientific/engineering background to understand the mathematics.
Recommended for anyone who wants to learn more of this fascinating subject
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on 24 October 2015
This ebook needs to be reviewed at two levels - as a book, and as a reading experience on a Kindle. As a book it offers a very clear explanation of what are some very wierd areas of modern science and is well worth reading. I'm glad I did. BUT on a kindle the diagrams - of which there are plenty of important ones - just do not work. If you come to this ebook with a good grounding in modern physics, you'll survive but be really annoyed. If you rely on understanding diagrams to help you through a book like this, stick to print. (It may be okay on Apple devices. I don't know.)
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on 24 September 2016
Have only just started the book and it will take me a while to get through as I have to factor all those staring into space trying to get my head around the information moments. That said it a fascinating read so far and written so that it is relatively straight forward (in a mind blowing way) to read. Highly recommend anyone interested in the wonder that is our universe to take some time and give it a go.
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on 2 July 2015
What a fantastic read! I can now say I completely and utterly, with crystal clarity, understand Quantum Physics. Or not. I won't know until I'm observed reading this book and my waveform collapses. If you get that poor joke, then this book will make sense to you. If you didn't get it, then buy the book and read it. Soon after reading this book you may well awake at 2 in the morning howling with laughter at that poor joke of mine. If you are at all interested in particle physics but have yet to penetrate the language, let alone the maths, then this is the primer for you. It sets out in clear language what we believe to be going on in the sub-atomic world, which simply cannot be possible. There are some daunting equations and graphs in the book but understanding those is not essential to understanding the general thrust of the book which is : the sub-atomic world does not behave in any way, shape or (wave)form that our brains, which have been hardwired to understand the world through 5 senses, can make sense of. We make sense of the world, our paradigm if you like, through our five senses. We cannot sense or even measure to any degree of accuracy what occurs at the sub-atomic level but we can deduce. These deductions based on theory, observational correlation (not least from the LHC) and extrapolation therefrom, expose the domain of the really, really small as really, really bizarre. That's the fun and the challenge. Reading the assumptions and propositions set out in this book will really open your eyes to the appalling strangeness of our universe. So if the title of this book is true, then somewhere, somewhen there is a me that totally understands quantum physics, and I HATE him!
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on 1 April 2016
Very interesting. I detect a slight dumbing down in some of the explanation text, but hey, I never found quantum theory easy
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on 21 November 2013
Mmmm...with the name of such a well-known TV personality on the cover, this book will probably disappoint many who are looking for a popular "explanation" of quantum mechanics (if such a thing were possible). I may be wrong, but I get a strong impression that the book is culled from lecture notes by the other author, with the name of the popular guy added chiefly to expand the probability wave function of the sales. But perhaps I am too cynical.

I'm a retired Electronics Engineer, so I'm reasonably familiar with wave theory,Fourier analysis,vectors and the like, and it was reassuring to know that abstract probability waves could be treated in a very similar way to any electromagnetic waves such as light or sound waves. The authors choose to represent their amplitude and phase by "clocks" (why don't they just call them "vectors"?)and with great enthusiasm spend rather a lot of tedious time manipulating them. I think it would be better if they had concentrated on expounding the principles and leaving out much of the calculation. As an oldie, I am too mentally lazy to follow such detail, and I suspect I am not alone in this respect among potential readers. It is not that the individual steps are so difficult to follow; it is more that it is hard to retain all that has gone before when taking the next step. I do blame the authors for the densely packed way they present the information; I have recently read John Gribbin's book "In Search of Schroedinger's Cat", which I found gives a much more digestible overall view of the subject. So I would not recommend the book under review to the layman in search of an easy introduction to quantum mechanics.
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on 14 February 2017
Bought as a gift. As far as I know it was very good
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on 11 February 2012
As someone who has no scientific or maths background, although I do have a degree in Philosophy, I found this book very difficult to enjoy, let alone understand!
I would guess that it was written primarily for physics or maths undergraduates, certainly if you ignore the maths as the authors often advise there is not enough written explanation to carry the "story" forward in any interesting way.
Surely with a subtitle "everything that can happen does happen" the story cannot fail to be interesting, but unfortunately I didnt grasp it, and I didnt find it well written, at least not for the layman. I would recommend the authors check out Simon Singh's Big Bang to see how complex science can be both informative and exciting to read.
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on 5 February 2012
Be warned if you are looking for an introduction to quantum mechanics then this is not the text for you.

However if you want to develop your understanding, having read as I have the likes of: 'The Universe in a Nutshell','The Grand Design' and 'A Brief History of Time' then this might just be the next step without being too much of a quantum leap forward in difficulty. Yes it does contain a lot of equations and some challenging maths but the reader is rewarded by perseverance, rereading and not becoming unnecessarily obsessed with the calculations - keep reading as I did and there is much to discover that is not dependent on possession of A level or undergraduate mathematics.

What Cox and Forshaw do particularly well is to portray how quantum mechanics has led to the break down of deterministic physics rules developed by Newton and Einstein and shifted the paradigm towards a probabilistic one in which the interference and cancelling our of all possible probabilities leads to our perception of reality.The authors also celebrate the inter connectivity of the quantum world, giving the reader a strong sense of their place in the 'condensate' of the post big bang universe and without any religious hokum their own immortality (at least in terms of the quantum particles we are all constituted of.)

Whilst the clock analogy to predict the quantum movement of particles can at times be a little tiresome it nevertheless affords the reader an accessible metaphor without the need to resort to the usage of complex numbers.

This book is at the forefront of current thinking and even makes prescient remarks with respect to The Large Hadron Collider and the hunt for the Higgs boson particularly relevant since the revelations about the speed of neutrinos.One is left with the distinct feeling that acquiring an understanding of the quantum world requires a willing suspense of disbelief and faith in the scientific method - if the theory describes reality then it works until proven otherwise!

Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is its ability to provide practical applications of quantum theory in the every day world.Covalent bonding is lucidly described as atoms sharing electrons, conductors and insulators in terms of the ability or otherwise of electrons to transfer between energy levels when excited by heat or electricity.The authors brilliantly illustrate how the exclusion principle can account for the creation of white dwarf stars and how all chemical reactions relate to atoms seeking to fill missing electron energy levels.The impact of quantum effects as manifested by transistors is also cogently revealed - leaving us with no doubt that the micro world does influence and is one with the macro world around us.
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on 18 September 2012
I've been reading books on quantum theory ever since I got my hands on Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time', back in the early 90s. Interesting in his acknowledgements at the front of this book he said "Someone told me that each equation I included in the book would halve the sales." If only Cox and Forshaw had taken this to heart. I just couldn't keep up with this. They lost me on the clock analogy at the beginning and then the wretched clocks just kept reappearing like one of those pc error messages that refuses to go away. And the equations - ugh - far too much for my poor brain to cope with. Maybe if you sit down and concentrate hard you might get it, but this was my bedtime reading, and it just got me to sleep in double quick time (which I suppose is a recommendation in itself). I wanted a book that gave me an overview of the findings of quantum theory, but it presupposes you know all that and tells you how quantum theory actually works. Too technical for me I'm afraid but if you can cope with the maths, you may get more out of it.
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