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on 5 June 2017
Most books on Quantum Physics either treat the reader like a child, and have funny pictures of cats with crosses where their eyes should be, or are at the other end, with huge equations and discussions of eigen spin states.

This one sets out, with 50 clearly-written, well researched short articles, to explain the origins of Quantum Physics, its major players, their various struggles of ideology, and how they came to conclude what they did. There are delightful anecdotes, and wonderful ties between the articles. They also have a nice timeline at the bottom, and sometimes figures to explain complex ideas.

I want to be honest with you: Quantum Physics really needs you to decouple the reasoning centre of your brain in order to accept the things it's trying to say. It's not to say it's hard, it's just (largely) nonsensical in a classical situation. And Quantum Physicists tend to fall back on maths to say "look, the maths! It works" as a way of avoiding having to try and explain it in a more wordy, less precise way. So, avoiding maths, this book isn't going to be a complete guide. You won't be able to build an inter-dimensional drive using it, or even understand the underlying maths of the /why/. BUT you will understand HOW they got where they did, and HOW the rough theories hang together. If you're expecting to be the next Stephen Hawking reading this, you'll be disappointed. If you want visitors to see it on the coffee table, pick it up, read a segment, and put it down knowing a little more, then this is the book for you...

As a 'coffee table' book, this is brilliant. I have it on the shelf with a few other "50 ... ideas" books, and often find myself perusing this one just to idly read the articles.
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on 3 February 2016
There are so many problems with this author that I don't really know where to begin. The text is full of missed opportunities whereby a simple explanation would considerably aid understanding but the author forgoes these preferring to fill the space with irrelevant trivia. For example: she spends time describing the quark constitution of neutrons and protons and tells us that one may be changed to the other but fails to tell the reader how. Although Ms Baker does comment that protons are made of two Up and one Down quark whilst the neutron is made of two Down and one Up quark she completely ignores the fact that the Up quarks have a 2/3 positive charge and the Down has a 1/3 negative charge leaving the reader to scratch his/her head wondering what to make of it. The book is so full of such missed opportunities I began to wonder if the author knew anything about the subject at all. The publisher certainly doesn't. For a much better, intelligently argued and informative account go to Kenneth Ford's '101 Quantum questions - What you need to know about the world you can't see' (ISBN 978-0-674-06607-6)
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on 3 November 2014
Einstein say that everything should be as simple as possible - but no simpler. Quantum theory can only be properly explained (if it can) with advanced mathematics, and the ideas behind it go against all of our ordinary ideas of common sense, so it is quite an achievement to write a clear account with only one equation (Einstein's e = mc squared), and not surprising that it is one of the editors of Nature who has done it. She hasn't been constrained by the list of 50 things to include, but maintains a coherent thread throughout the book, and is as up to date as a book published in 2013 could be.
The book is well presented, apart from the panels, mostly biographical information, which are printed grey upon grey, legible only in a good light.
I spotted only one error, or perhaps oversimplification. "in 1862 he (Maxwell) showed ... and eleven years later he published his four equations of electromagnetism." In fact he published 20 equations in 20 unknowns, and it was Oliver Heaviside who in 1884 used vector notation to combine them into four equations. Still known as "Maxwell's equations" they are subtlety different from Maxwell's originals.
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on 23 January 2014
I bought two books one called the particle at the end of the universe and this one. I found myself reading both at the same time and they worked well together explaining things from each book. For a study book this is superb!!
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on 24 May 2014
Very well constructed chapters that describe each 'idea' in a clear way, with summaries and timelines for each idea, whilst also leading you through the historical development of quantum physics.
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on 26 April 2014
An interesting tour of the field taking in a wide range of associated developments . Maybe short on details but the wider view it presents is satisfying
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on 25 January 2017
Fabulous book. Advanced ideas presented in a format that most people should understand. At just a few pages per idea, it's also brief enough to not give you brain ache :)
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on 11 January 2017
Excellent book, very clear and concise explanations which make perfect sense to someone with science background.
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on 28 February 2015
Very well explained - and enjoyed the writing style
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on 15 September 2014
Ok but a little dry
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