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Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed Paperback – Sep 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; Reprint edition (Sept. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841882380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841882383
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 18.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

“Takes readers on a fascinating journey. Al-Khalili [uses] simple and clear language and he provides excellent graphics. This is mandatory reading for undergraduates with or without a science background.”  —Library Journal

About the Author

Dr. Jim al-Khalili is a theoretical physicist and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of Surrey. He has twice been nominated for the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Award for the Public Understanding of Science and is the Institute of Physics Schools and Colleges lecturer. He is the author of Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines and has appeared on Radio 4's Leading Edge and the BBC's Tomorrow's World and Horizon programs.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J.C. on June 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
I became interested in quantum theory after reading Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe" about six months ago; since then I have gone to some lengths to find a book that would explain quantum theory in a way that was non-formal enough for me to understand but not excessively simplified. Until recently, I hadn't found any thing that fit this description -- until, that is, I ran into this book at my local book store. It is BY FAR the best explanation of quantum theory for someone who is relatively (or even completely) unfamiliar with it. The author explains the theory in a step by step fashion, not leaving anything implied or unsaid, but in no way is insulting to one's intelligence. As a philosophy grad student, I especially appreciated the chapter on the various interpretations of quantum theory, including the 'many-worlds' interpretation that reminded me very much of David Lewis's metaphysical system (in which all possible worlds actually exist somewhere). I bought this book at 10:30 p.m. and had read half of it by the time I went to bed, and finished the rest of it the next day. It is that good! Highly, highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Tillier on Aug. 24 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is beautiful in all aspects. It is very well written, interesting and has great illustrations. The author takes a very complex and many times seemingly illogical topic and makes it both understandable and interesting. We are also given alternative views and told when the state of the art falls short of understanding. I would like to see a second edition in 10 years covering new advances in the topic. One of the best books I have seen in science in the past few years.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For someone that does not understand anything about quantum mechanics and never had any formal education in the field is an exciting and clarifying read on the subject. I liked the broad approach, where he tells a bit of the history, some of the fundamental concepts and modern applications of the theories.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David B Richman on April 29 2004
Format: Hardcover
Biologists have to a great degree ignored the strange world of quantum physics. As Chet Raymo (actually an Astronomer) observes it is difficult to see how quantum effects could really touch the scale at which we function. Raymo in fact believes that such effects may cancel each other out at our scale. I think, however, that this may be a narrow, if comfortable, view. Roger Penrose has proposed that consciousness itself may be a quantum effect and Johnjoe McFadden believes that quantum effects may very well have bearing on the evolution of life. As a biologist I am struck with the inability of scientists to actually define life, other than by the reductionist view that it is a series of chemical processes. There are in fact many chemical processes that are not life and so this does not quite satisfy.
However, this is not to get into heavy metaphysics or to take on some mystical view of life. It is, however, to acknowledge the basic weirdness of life that fits, it seems to me, into the weirdness of the quantum universe. I suspect that future scientists will discover that life has more to it than fits the conventional view. But then our view of the universe, including life, has always changed with new insights and I doubt that we have (or will ever) reach full understanding of it all.
Jim Al Khalili has caught the excitement of the old and new developments in quantum theory in "Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed." Once you get past the somewhat glitzy format, you find a solid and fascinating description of the extremely weird quantum world in which matter acts like waves and waves act like matter and in which mere observation can and does change results.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James E. Vancik on Nov. 3 2003
Format: Hardcover
I must admit I bought this book for the pictures, glossy pages and arty production just to add to my collection of physicist authored books. If you can ignore the pretentious british spelling centred around colours and flavours etc etc ad nauseam, however, what you will get is a remarkably up to date and extensive exploration of what the quantum is. What I particularly liked about this book is that you don't read about the author's interpretation of the wavefunction equation but instead explore its various attributes and meanings and uses. I certainly rate this book at the top of its genre.
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