Feature Physics

5 (More) Quantum Essentials

If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics.

Quantum physics writers have it good. No reader can ever say that they’ve read so many books about quantum mechanics that they don’t need to read any more in order to understand the subject. There is always another book to bring you closer to understanding. Why? Because, as Richard Feynman said, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”

Here are some new and essential books ready to bring you closer:

Fundamental: How Quantum and Particle Physics Explain Absolutely Everything by Tim James

This comprehensive beginner’s guide to quantum mechanics explains not only the weirdness of the subject but the experiments that proved it to be true. Using a humorous and light-hearted approach, Fundamental tells the story of how the most brilliant minds in science grappled with seemingly impossible ideas and gave us everything from microchips to particle accelerators.

Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime by Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and one of this world’s most celebrated writers on science, rewrites the history of 20th century physics. Something Deeply Hidden shows for the first time that facing up to the essential puzzle of quantum mechanics utterly transforms how we think about space and time.  His reconciling of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of relativity changes, well, everything.

On sale now in hardcover, coming in paperback September 2020.

Quantum Strangeness: Wrestling with Bell’s Theorem and the Ultimate Nature of Reality by George S. Greenstein

Astrophysicist George Greenstein has been both fascinated and confused by quantum mechanics for his entire career. In this book, he describes, engagingly and accessibly, his efforts to understand the enigma that is quantum mechanics. The fastest route to the insight into the ultimate nature of reality revealed by quantum mechanics, Greenstein writes, is through Bell’s Theorem, which concerns reality at the quantum level; and Bell’s 1964 discovery drives Greenstein’s quest. 

Quantum Reality: The Quest for the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics – a Game of Theories by Jim Baggott

Jim Baggott provides a quick but comprehensive introduction to quantum mechanics for the general reader, and explains what makes this theory so very different from the rest. He also explores the processes involved in developing scientific theories and explains how these lead to different  philosophical positions, essential if we are to understand the nature of the great debate between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein. Moving forwards, Baggott then provides a comprehensive guide to attempts to determine what the theory actually means, from the Copenhagen interpretation to many worlds and the multiverse.

Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different by Philip Ball

An exhilarating tour of the contemporary quantum landscape, Beyond Weird is a book about what quantum physics really means—and what it doesn’t. Science writer Philip Ball offers an up-to-date, accessible account of the quest to come to grips with the most fundamental theory of physical reality, and to explain how its counterintuitive principles underpin the world we experience.

On sale now in hardcover, coming in paperback October 2020

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