Monday, 2 August 2010

'Pulsar' on Quantum

'Pulsar' from Belgium on the League of Reason site gave Quantum this stellar endorsement:

‘I just finished "Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality", by Manjit Kumar.

It's one of the best pop-science books I've ever read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The book describes the history of quantum mechanics, notably the first three decades of the 20th century, and all the major characters involved - physics, biographic info and European history are intertwined into a real page-turner. It's absolutely fascinating to see how Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Rutherford, De Broglie, Born, Pauli, Dirac, Heisenberg and Schrodinger constantly inspired each other in their obsession to understand atoms and radiation.

The central part is the Great Debate between Einstein and Bohr about the Copenhagen Interpretation of QM, the relation between physics and reality, and Bell's theorem to test the completeness of the theory. I must say, this book shows Einstein's views of QM in a way I knew little of. Often, Einstein is depicted as a relic who couldn't keep up with the latest physics and never really 'got' QM. But in reality he knew damn well what he was doing (and he convinced Schrodinger, who came up with his cat thought experiment). The standard interpretation of Bohr has dominated the teaching of QM ever since, but this book asks the question whether this domination is really justified. It might be time for a new revolution in physics...

A must-read!’

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