Monday, 17 October 2016


The latest UK paperback edition 

A reader's review from Amazon: Follow the white rabbit!
‘If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics’, is a quote commonly attributed to the American Nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman. But no matter who uttered this now famous statement, anyone who has ever had to try to learn quantum mechanics can probably sympathize with it.

In this brilliantly written exposition author, Manjit Kumar, succeeds in, at least, rendering the borders of the foreign country of the quantum open to access: that is, if the traveler has a corresponding smattering of knowledge to start with. Otherwise, it will remain almost impossibly esoteric. This is not for the complete lay person: it is packed, necessarily, with the language of physics. Without that it would not be possible to trace the significant milestones in the development of, what is seen by some as, the most successful theory in the history of science. 

Beginning, at the turn of the Nineteenth Century, with Max Plank, its reluctant originator, Quantum Theory sparked a revolution in the way we conceptualize the basic building blocks of the material world. And, even though few working in the field today, would argue seriously against this now widely accepted world view, few would also lay claim to understanding, completely, its full implications.

Along with each incremental development we learn about the extraordinary individuals who laid brick upon brick to build this sometimes creaking edifice, arguably the greatest of whom, Einstein and Bohr, argued ceaselessly, till the ends of their lives, regarding its merits or otherwise. Their ontological positions could not have been more polarized dealing, as they were, with the ultimate nature of reality and the 'type' of physics best equipped to describe it.

Kumar’s triumph is, seamlessly, to intertwine the arguments this way and that, with the lives of the protagonists and, in the process, illuminate the romance, excitement and processes of scientific endeavour.