Thursday, 20 May 2010

Quantum - American reviews

Here are some snippets of the press Manjit Kumar's book has been getting stateside:

Library Journal:

'Science editor and writer Kumar (coauthor, Science and the Retreat from Reason) adds to the growing number of popular works on the history of quantum mechanics and to the continuing debate on the sufficiency of quantum theory as a representation of "reality." He devotes the bulk of his book to the work and the debates of the physicists who developed quantum mechanics in the first half of the 20th century. Almost inevitably, Kumar repeats many of the quotes from Bohr, Einstein, and other greats that have already been offered by authors of similar works. His greatest strength is his clear discussion (without mathematics) of the advances and debates in the discipline. The last few pages of the text carry the history of physics into the 21st century as experiments continue to support the standard theory but do not yet end the discussion.'

'VERDICT This is especially good for lay readers who would enjoy an excellent story about the long struggle of scientists to understand an important field of modern science.'

Kirkus Reviews:

'A staggering account of the scientific revolution that still challenges our notions of reality. Kumar provides a gripping narrative of the birth of atomic physics in the first half of the 20th century ... Kumar evokes the passion and excitement of the period and writes with sparkling clarity and wit. Expertly delineates complex scientific issues in nontechnical language, using telling detail to weave together personal, political and scientific elements.'

I Liked Reading:

'This is a great book. If you are interested in the weird and wonderful quantum world, then you will find this book a fantastic read that flows very well from chapter to chapter and instantly engages you. What is particularly refreshing about Quantum is how it weaves in information about the personalities who were engaged in the scientific pursuit themselves rather than focusing exclusively on the science ... even if you know nothing about quantum theory then finding out more about it may be particularly exhilarating. Read it!'


'Kumar keeps the main thread of his narrative accessible to the intelligent general reader, particularly clarifying how Einstein’s belief in objective reality pits him against the daringly agnostic Bohr, who leaves the mysteries of wave-particle duality veiled in statistical probabilities and abstract formulas. Intellectual exhilaration runs high as Einstein repeatedly presses Bohr—posing daunting questions about how to weigh an imaginary box of light and how to explain eerily “entangled” particles. The future of science hangs in the balance: physics becomes high drama.'

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