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Quantum Physics for Poets Hardcover – Jan 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (Jan. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616142332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616142339
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #272,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A sparkling and articulate new account of how the quantum revolution changed 20th century science – and, as a further delight, how physics and poetry can speak the same language.”
— Chicago Tribune

"A little gem of a book on an enormously profound and, in many ways, a mysterious subject….”
— Contemporary Physics Book Review

"Lederman and Hill, two very well known physicists, have written in a prose that speaks to the poet in all of us. A delightful and illuminating guide through the mysteries of the quantum world."
Gino Segré, department of physics and astronomy, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

Leon M. LedermanNobel Laureate (Batavia, IL) is the author of Beyond the God ParticleQuantum Physics for Poets, and Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe(coauthored with Christopher T. Hill), as well as The God Particle (with Dick Teresi). He has served as the editor of Portraits of Great American Scientists and a contributor to Science Literacy for the Twenty-First Century. He is formerly the Resident Scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and Pritzker Professor of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and he is director emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Christopher T. Hill, PhD (Batavia, IL) is the coauthor with Leon M. Lederman of Beyond the God ParticleQuantum Physics for Poets, and Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe. He is a theoretical physicist (Scientist III) and the former head of Theoretical Physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First time buyer for my Kindle reader. I will purchase more books for my Kindle.
The book is very well written and anybody that is curious about quantum physics; but can't handle the math, this book is for you.
After you read this book you will have an appreciation for all the great work that physicists have done.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b7a3960) out of 5 stars 32 reviews
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b7c0aec) out of 5 stars Fantasic, But Not for the Initiated Feb. 8 2011
By Keith H. Bray - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I cannot believe that this very fine book lacks a review. Perhaps the title conjures up the idea that this is a book on quantum physics and poetry--like the recent book on quantum physics and music. This is absolutely untrue and the only poetry is the poetic writing style in which this book was penned. That is not to say there that there are no poems in the contents, but these are minimal and are akin to introductory remarks like a quote for an opening chapter. I would dare say that, almost like reading a piece of good fiction, Lederman's book has a poetic flow that makes is difficult to set down. I made it a quest to finish this book before setting my sights on another book, like Briane Greene's newly released book which is still untouched on my book shelf.

Mr. Lederman (and Christopher Hill) have inflected a fantastic introductory and popular level text into the fray of many such books. There are only 10 chapters, but what makes this introductory text stand out from others is the extensive writings on familiar matters such as Thomas Young's famous 2-slit experiment. I promise the reader that, unless they are physicists, they will be introduced to a host of new insights, concepts and unexpected materials related to very familiar themes that have been glossed over in previous books. The chapters on quantum physics and chemistry are priceless and rarely highlighted in preceding books.

Like all books that are within 300-pages, the contents cannot be exhaustive. However, all of the major elements of classical and the new physics are represented. This book is not for the physicist--unless they would use it as a supplement in an introductory class on quantum physics. The matters within the books contents (which are accessible on Amazon) are meant for those interested in reading introductory level books in order to grasp some themes that may not be so easily grasped. Let me reiterate: this book ensures that so such sin will occur. You will not have to read between any lines to understand the most important and fundamental concepts of quantum physics. I apologize for the brevity of this review and will leave the work to other readers to lay out more extensive reviews. After purchasing (and you can confirm this on my personal website) hundreds of books on these matters, this book is an absolute standout.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b7c39c0) out of 5 stars Perhaps the best introduction to quantum physics June 7 2011
By Louis Weltzer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am not a scientist, but over the years I have read a number of books like The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism and Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics and Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics that present the enigma that is quantum physics to a more general audience. This book is, in my opinion, easier to read and a more more in-depth treatment of this subject than any of those other excellent books. Lederman and Hill present the material in a manner that is scholarly, practical, literary and sometimes humorous. As a relatively short overview, Quantum Physics for Poets spares the lay reader most of the mathematics that is the the heart of theoretical physics, but readers may access the authors' website ([...]) where "appendices" presenting more complete discussions of various topics in classical and quantum physics may be read or downloaded. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest at all in the field of quantum physics.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b7c3f00) out of 5 stars Great book - even for poets March 21 2011
By Dr. Goetz K. Oertel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lederman demonstrates his insight into the workings of quantum theory by finding analogies that can only be described as brilliant. The few poets I know might not learn enough to explain the subject to others - but they should get an appreciation for the comprehensiveness of quantum theory in its realm - and perhaps for the beauty that lies in perfection, the exceptional precision with which even experiments that were designed to invalidate or at least challenge quantum theory turned out instead to prove it correct. Poets, laymen, and physicists alike can expect Lederman to show them new ways to look at the nature of quantum theory and, in turn, at how quantum theory describes nature. "Quantum theory for poets" is educational, mind-expanding, and over wide stretches fun to read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b7c3ee8) out of 5 stars Great Quantum Physics for Non-Scientists June 9 2014
By Dee German - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The absolute best book on quantum physics for non-scientists ever written. Easy to understand, no equations, and sprinkled with humor. It starts out with the physics discoveries of the 18th century and moves the reader gently into the mysteries of the quantum world. As a scientist myself I have never really accepted quantum physics as reality. This book made a believer of me!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b7ce2c4) out of 5 stars Enough math to help SEE what's "going on" March 19 2014
By George W. Hackett - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enough mathematics to assist the reader in visualizing key points. My calculus is weak and diff equations non- existent. This book gives me more detailed visualizations than I've had from previous books on quantum mechanics.