Thursday 22 October 2009

Quantum review by Institute of Physics press officer

J.O. Winters, press officer at the Institute of Physics has posted this great review of Quantum on Amazon:

'The history of quantum physics is the story of a group of physicists with minds capable of grasping horribly counter-intuitive truths about how the very smallest components of matter behave. The problem with trying to convey the wonder of what was achieved to the uninitiated (most of us!) through a popular science book is that you have to take them on a journey through those discoveries; requiring the reader to make the same leaps of faith that even Einstein wouldn't make. The sort of leaps of faith that have previously, think Earth going 'round the Sun or flat Earth, taken centuries to become common parlance.'

'Kumar offers a masterclass in how to help readers through, possibly, the most difficult field of physics out there. He entertains with a wonderfully illuminating narrative, telling the life stories of not only Bohr and Einstein, but also Planck, Rutherford, Schrodinger and many more. The most remarkable thing about this book however is that you don't, as with so many popular science books, skim the meat of the science, hanging onto the thread of the book through the more easily-accessed narrative. You relish and look forward to grasping the science. I dare say I've read physics books that tackle innately easier physics topics less well than Kumar takes on quantum physics.'

'To understand a fraction of quantum physics will increase ego by degrees of magnitude. To understand as much as Kumar offers (and to enjoy it, which you will) might give you a couple of sleepless nights (thinking about how your wave-particle coffee table is actually solid enough to hold your laptop) but you will end up feeling an intellectual colossus vis a vis anyone who hasn't read it and isn't actually a quantum physicist.'