The Quantum Story : A History in 40 Moments Hardback
by Jim Baggott
The twentieth century was defined by physics. From the minds of the world's leading physicists there flowed a river of ideas that would transport mankind to the pinnacle of wonderment and to the very depths of human despair.
This was a century that began with the certainties of absolute knowledge and ended with the knowledge of absolute uncertainty.
It was a century in which physicists developed weapons with the capacity to destroy our reality, whilst at the same time denying us the possibility that we can ever properly comprehend it.
Almost everything we think we know about the nature of our world comes from one theory of physics.
This theory was discovered and refined in the first thirty years of the twentieth century and went on to become quite simply the most successful theory of physics ever devised.
Its concepts underpin much of the twenty-first century technology that we have learned to take for granted.
But its success has come at a price, for it has at the same time completely undermined our ability to make sense of the world at the level of its most fundamental constituents. Rejecting the fundamental elements of uncertainty and chance implied by quantum theory, Albert Einstein once famously declared that 'God does not play dice'.
Niels Bohr claimed that anybody who is not shocked by the theory has not understood it.
The charismatic American physicist Richard Feynman went further: he claimed that nobody understands it.
This is quantum theory, and this book tells its story.
Jim Baggott presents a celebration of this wonderful yet wholly disconcerting theory, with a history told in forty episodes - significant moments of truth or turning points in the theory's development.
From its birth in the porcelain furnaces used to study black body radiation in 1900, to the promise of stimulating new quantum phenomena to be revealed by CERN's Large Hadron Collider over a hundred years later, this is the extraordinary story of the quantum world.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 496 pages, two 8pp black and white plate sectionn, approx 35 b/w line drawings
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Publication Date: 24/02/2011
- Category: History of science
- ISBN: 9780199566846
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by neurodrew
The Quantum StoryA HIstory in 40 MomentsJim BaggottA quick overview of the development of quantum mechanics, told in short chapters about various personalities involved. The early chapters are easy to understand, the later ones are more obscure, as the development of quantum mechanics takes it into the world of the standard model and particle physics. I could not find a good answer to what "renormalization" means, although lack of that precipitates several crises in the development of quantum mechanics. The description of how theories are accepted or rejected is opaque, probably because I do not know the mathematics. I found the book enjoyable, the anecdotes interesting, but the lack of explanation somewhat frustrating.
Review by travelster
An excellent and lucid delve into the quantum and atomic world for non-physicists.
Review by bke
I loved the earlier chapters and would have helped when I was studying QM as an undergrad. The later chapters got a bit tedious and bogged down with sub atomic particles. Dammit, seen on boson, seen em all. <br/><br/>Don't worry, no math involved.