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on 29 March 2017
Ok, for a non initiate it is really heavy going, but it does give you plenty of information, it would take you sometime to assimilate the whole content, but it does give you a deeper understanding of whole discussion of the quantum physics on a historical background, so the concepts are understood in a context, not just "out there". For the initiate, still it may give you an interesting point of view. I recommend it.
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on 23 June 2011
First Quantum Book I found readable and informative, placing the ideas as they bloomed, chronologically so that one understood the ideas and the flow of occurances, giving true insight into the phrase, 'standing on the shoulders of giants'. The ideas are no more disconnected. It therefore makes the story so very easy to understand and remember. It should be bedtime reading for all science students, and indead all who love or are just curious about this monster of a subject. It shows us science in the making and takes away the myth from the reality.
Just a great book to read and enjoy.
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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 18 November 2012
This book is warmly recommended as both a chronological case study of the history of science in the domain of quantum physics and as an introduction to quantum physics. More monographic histories of the "40 moments" presented in this book, based on close study of archives and detailed attention to contexts, are required. But the overall panorama presented in this book demonstrates well the dramatic history of quantum physics as a paradigm shifting scientific revolution. The fact that this process is continuing, as illustrated by the July 4th 2012 CERN announcement on the existence of the Higgs particle, adds to the drama.
Careful reading of the book also add up to quite some understanding of the principle issues of quantum physics and the controversies surrounding them, thus making this book into a good general introduction to the subject. It would be helpful if the author had included at the beginning of the book a short survey of the main ideas of quantum physics, as a kind of analytic roadmap helping the reader to integrate all the episodes into a coherent view. But there are also didactic advantages to leaving this task to the minds of the readers.
I will include this book in the recommended readings lists of my next book.
Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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on 22 April 2011
An interesting and accessible account of a physical theory which dominated the 20th century. The book skilfully guides the reader through the subtleties that mark the historical developments of quantum theory. Adhering to the dictum that `every extra equation, halves sales', much of the technical detail is explained via the use of diagrams. A pity therefore that this approach was not used on pages 14 & 15, where some simple energy diagrams (showing rearrangements of a small assembly of oscillators), may have avoided misunderstanding. Consequently, the explanation of Planck and Boltzmann's reasoning is confusing, as is the distinction between the statistical thermodynamics of classical and quantum particles. With indistinguishable quanta such as photons, we count the number of allowable combinations, whereas for the distinguishable molecules of Boltzmann, we also have to consider permutations of each of these combinations (there are therefore more `fine grained' microstates). Unlike Boltzmann, Planck introduced quantized oscillators but they were still distinguishable, while the much later Bose/Fermi statistics introduced the notion of indistinguishable particle states. [A more pictorial approach to this subjects can be found for example on lulu.com/"Quantum Theory: A concise guide for beginners"]
As well as discussing the various important landmarks in the understanding of quantum theory, the book also contains much detail upon developments in high energy particle physics, as well as cosmology. Overall a very good popular science book, which reveals the somewhat tortuous route to our current understanding of the microcosm and honours the remarkable men who contributed to it.
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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 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 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 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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