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Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory [Paperback]

Jim Baggott

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Book Description

Nov. 14 2003 0198525362 978-0198525363
Quantum theory is one of the most important and successful theories of modern physical science. A fact all the more remarkable because quatum theory is a theory that few understand. Most academic textbooks on the subject are written for specialists, filled with complex jargon and dense mathematics. In contrast there are many popular presentations of the inherent 'weirdness' of the quantum world that are light on jargon and contain no mathematics.Together these presentations serve to create the impression that there are two theories - the 'serious, one and the 'wierd' one. Baggott successfully bridges the gulf between these presentations by grounding the discussion of the theory's profound problems directly in its mathematical formalism in a way that under-graduate students and interested individuals can follow.

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`... brings the reader up to date with the results of experimental tests.' CERN Courier

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A scientist in the late nineteenth century could be forgiven for believing that the major elements of physics were built on unshakeable foundations and effectively established for all time. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The many theories theory Feb. 24 2008
By U Dream - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Two thumbs up (in superpostion)! By far the best overview of Quantum theory that I've read thus far (out of 10 books). The author doesn't pick and choose from the competing interpretations of QT to advance an agenda, (philosophical, social, political, or scientific). QT development is presented in its historical context with all the resistance that accompanies new theories. Alternatives to the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation are fairly presented. All the mathematics are thankfully placed in appendices at the end of the book. Still, some of the text explaining experimental setup and reasoning was too technical for me, but I grasped the gist of the "interpretation." The meaning of QT is still being debated. The many interpretations articulated in the many theories designed to explain microphysics phenomena essentially boil down to 2 competing metaphysical postions: the "anti-realist" Copenhagen interpretation (Heisenberg, Bohr, Pauli) and the "realist" hidden variables interpretation (Einstein, Schrodinger, Bohm, etc.). This is obviously an oversimplification, but I can confidently now state that I understand that I don't understand Quantum Theory.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, and makes the math clear. Jan. 17 2010
By William H. Moldestad Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jim Baggott has done a great job of going through non-relativistic, with a smattering of relativistic, quantum mechanics. In the book's appendices there are clear, and concise mathematical explanations of the basic framework of quantum mechanics that anyone, with a working knowledge of algebra, should have no problems with. The book doesn't just deal with the physics of quantum mechanics, but also touches on the philosophical interpretations of what it may mean. It does all of this in an accessible way, without getting over-technical, and without getting airy fairy. This book always remains grounded in science, and I would recommend it to any lay person interested in learning more about quantum mechanics, and especially to college students taking courses in quantum mechanics. And for that matter, I think post-graduates will find this book an interesting, and rewarding read too.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clear and lucid explanation of quantum mechanics April 6 2010
By Keith Vanderveen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book was very well written. Basically a revision of author's earlier book "The Meaning of Quantum Mechanics" with some updated and added material.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantum Theory Explained With Minimal Mathematical Effort Sept. 5 2010
By Robert G. Burton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have spent many hours in several college libraries skimming books on quantum mechanics. I have found most books are either too heavy with mathematics or too short in explanation. "Beyond Measure" is just the right mix. I now understand the basic principles, and the math (placed appropriately in the appendix) is not overly complex. I recommend this book to any undergraduate student considering his/her first course in quantum mechanics.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Beyond Measure" is itself beyond measure June 18 2012
By a reader - Published on Amazon.com
The book is hardly easy but very valuable to work through. A serious college graduate in science or mathematics should be able to follow both the (math-free) main text and the Appendixes.

The book is written very thoroughly. Mathematically challenged readers will miss a lot of "action" but they will not encounter wrong, watered-down, or superficial statements. (I did notice 1-2 examples, where the author used the term "entangled states" incorrectly IMHO. However, these looked more like typos, and the correct meaning was clear from the context).

The Appendixes are the real treat, since they provide almost "the royal road" to gold nuggets, nuggets normally dispersed through several modern courses in quantum measurements and related questions.

The book also discusses a number of relevant philosophical questions and does it much better (I think) than most of those professional philosophers, who forgot to learn quantum mechanics before teaching is what "it really means".

I know the only book which comes close - the predecessor to this book by the same author - "The Meaning of Quantum Theory".

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