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Quantum Physics For Dummies Paperback – Feb 3 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies (Feb. 3 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470381884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470381885
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 19.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #171,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Physics as a general discipline has no limits, from the very huge (galaxy-wide) to the very small (atoms and smaller). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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By R&D on Jan. 13 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has the wrong title! Is is definitely not for Dummies. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who hasn't taken at least a second year course in quantum physics.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 41 reviews
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
Quite good for the right audience Feb. 5 2009
By B. Style - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe it shouldn't be a "for dummies" book -- but if you've read a few of the laymen's books on QM and are ready for something meatier, but aren't quite ready for a formal text, this is a great place to start. You'll need a basic appreciation of matrix-style math, partial derivatives, and integral calculus (say mid-level engineering math). An appreciation for basic physics is also required: energy, momentum, field potential, etc.

If you've got those basics, this is an extremely gentle introduction. Within an hour you'll understand the basics of the wave equation and bra-ket notation. But as with any math-based approach, even an informal one, the book has to be read carefully.

Without the basics outlined above, the book is a total bust. At the other extreme, anyone who's completed a college level course in QM will likely learn zip. For someone who's gained a qualitative appreciation for QM and wants to take the next somewhat rigorous step, this is THE book.

I'm self taught in most of this, so I can't say whether there are many serious errors/typos -- but I didn't see any glaring ones. There is one incredibly bizarre bit of notation in the first chapter where the author illustrates a simple state vector containing the square roots of 2, 3, 4, etc -- but uses 1/2 exponents that are almost the same size as the numbers, so it looks like 2 1/2, 3 1/2. etc., which didn't make any sense. After a bit of head scratching it clicked -- but aside from this peculiar example, I found the overall presentation to be quite readable.

The publisher could really do everyone a big favor by making "search inside" available.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Not for Dummies Nov. 30 2009
By J. B. Busch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If this book is for dummies ,I shudder to think what that makes me,several grades below imbecle probably. I have read other books in the Dummies series,calculus, geometry,etc,and generally understood what the author was saying,but I only made it to pg 27 before hitting a brick wall.I thought my understanding of maths would be sufficient ,but I was sadly mistaken.I was looking for a much simplified explanation,but given the nature of Quantum Physics ,my guess is such an explanation does not exist.Therefore I find it difficult to rate this book given that I understood so little of it.However I will use this review to warn that this is very definitely not a book to be judged by it's cover. Three stars
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Quantum Physics For University Quantum Physics Students Nov. 7 2010
By Robert John Midyett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot judge this book on its own merits, because, to be honest I couldn't understand or follow it. (Anyone considering the purchase of this book, please first take advantage of the "Look Inside" feature, finally available for it.)

It is obvious, after reading the introduction and the first chapter that this book would be better titled, "Quantum Physics For University Quantum Physics Students".

It is this reason why I rate this with a single star.

The quality of the book might be very good, and it might answer many questions, for a university student currently struggling with a quantum physics course -- but that I cannot judge, and that is, in my opinion, not the point.

The "Dummies series" has a history of providing information for the average person, which was what I expected when I ordered the book. I have no interest in becoming a physicist, but since we so often encounter references to facets of the topics, I wished to at least gain a basic working understanding of the ideas.

Without a doubt, to date, the best introductory resource I have been able to find on the topic has been the book, "The Quantum World" by Kenneth W. Ford. I have not yet reviewed Ford's book, because I have not yet completed it, but I already know that I will give it a very high review. Another fair book in this category is "Six Easy Pieces" by Richard P. Feynman -- which I have also not reviewed (because I have also not finished the book). The problem is that the topics are so complex that I have found that I have begun reading them up to a point where I could no longer follow, and then had to begin re-reading them from the beginning -- each time getting further and further into the book and understanding more and more until I reach another point where I can no longer follow, and need to begin again. Still, neither of these two books could reasonably be considered for the "Dummies series", but they do a far better job of it than "Quantum Physics For Dummies". [Both, the Ford and Feyman books I mentioned, can also be ordered here on Amazon.]

To be fair, in the "Foolish Assumptions" section of the introduction of the book being reviewed here, it specifically states:

"I don't assume that you have any knowledge of quantum phyics when you start to read this book. However, I do make the following assumptions:

* You're taking a college course in quantum physics, or you're interested in how math describes motion and energy on the atomic and subatomic scale.
* You have some math prowess. In particular, you know some calculus. You don't need to be a math pro, but you should know how to perform integration and deal with differential equations. Ideally, you also have some experience with Hilbert space.
* You have some physics background as well. You've had a year's worth of college-level physics (or understand all that's in Physics For Dummies) before you tackle this one."

But this "waiver" does not alter my rating. These assumptions should have made it very clear, to all parties involved, that this book, obviously, does not have the right to be considered for the "Dummies series".

Sadly, the concepts are so complex that I don't feel that I will ever find the perfect introductory resource in a mere book. In the mid-1990's, there was a considerable amount of activity in the realm of "multi-media" informational software for personal computers. The better titles offered a learning experience unrivaled by any other medium. With the combination of audio narration, to accompany the written text, along with still color graphics and video segments, the titles maximized the potential of properly conveying the information.

We can only hope that some software company, or education group, will recognize the need and market for such a work and hire Kenneth W. Ford to, first, update his book "The Quantum World", and use that as a basis for a collaboration with appropriate graphics artists to produce a multi-media series of computer software and video documentaries to present the information in a manner that is easily understood by any high-school graduate, with no prior knowledge of physics or calculus -- in "bite-sized Dummies-series style".
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Makes hard concepts easy March 4 2009
By Tamzannnn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for making hard concepts easy. The topic is a hard one, but Quantum Physics for Dummies makes it as easy as it can be made. There are numerous worked-out examples, and everything is discussed in detail. The book makes things clear that so many other books leave you totally in the dark about. I used it to help get my through my college course on quantum physics! If you want to learn quantum Physics, this is the book for you.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The most bang for the buck March 23 2009
By quark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlike so many of these types of books which teach you how to solve specific problems, but, because they provide no explanation of what you are doing, leave you clueless when you want to understand related topics not discussed in the book, Quantum Physics for Dummies shows you not only how to solve a problem but explains what is going on.

It provides just the right balance between problem solving and explanation. When I was a student, physics consisted almost exclusively of teaching you what equation to use to solve for different types of problems without telling you why you were doing this. This book explains the concepts behind the formulae rather than just taking a fill-in-the-blank approach. I wish these things had been explained to me back in the day.

The examples and exposition have been carefully thought out to give the reader "the most bang for the buck." It also recognizes that not all readers, especially adults, have the time to read every week. By reviewing equations that the reader may have forgotten, it saves the reader a lot of time and frustration.

I would recommend this book both for adults who now regret not having taken more science, or did not have the opportunity to do so, as well as for those currently studying physics. Students who are faced with a poor teacher or textbook will find it not just an extremely useful supplement but a good deal more than that. Because the problems are explained so well, students will be able to face problems with both a better understanding and confidence.

Adult readers will not feel that they are being talked down to because the writing is clear, accessible, lucid and to the point. While entertaining, it is entertaining to put the reader at ease, not to make him or her feel that they need a light-hearted approach because the reader is out of his or her league. Rather, they will feel more like they are engaged in a discussion with that professor you wished you had had, but didn't.

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