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101 Quantum Questions
     

101 Quantum Questions

2.7 3
by Kenneth William Ford
 

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Ken Ford’s mission is to help us understand the “great ideas” of quantum physics—ideas such as wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, superposition, and conservation. These fundamental concepts provide the structure for 101 Quantum Questions, an authoritative yet engaging book for the general reader in which every question

Overview

Ken Ford’s mission is to help us understand the “great ideas” of quantum physics—ideas such as wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, superposition, and conservation. These fundamental concepts provide the structure for 101 Quantum Questions, an authoritative yet engaging book for the general reader in which every question and answer brings out one or more basic features of the mysterious world of the quantum—the physics of the very small.

Nuclear researcher and master teacher, Ford covers everything from quarks, quantum jumps, and what causes stars to shine, to practical applications ranging from lasers and superconductors to light-emitting diodes. Ford’s lively answers are enriched by Paul Hewitt's drawings, numerous photos of physicists, and anecdotes, many from Ford’s own experience. Organized for cover-to-cover reading, 101 Quantum Questions also is great for browsing.

Some books focus on a single subject such as the standard model of particles, or string theory, or fusion energy. This book touches all those topics and more, showing us that disparate natural phenomena, as well as a host of manmade inventions, can be understood in terms of a few key ideas. Yet Ford does not give us simplistic explanations. He assumes a serious reader wanting to gain real understanding of the essentials of quantum physics.

Ken Ford's other books include The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone (Harvard 2004), which Esquire magazine recommended as the best way to gain an understanding of quantum physics. Ford's new book, a sequel to the earlier one, makes the quantum world even more accessible.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
This work provides the means for a lay reader to gain a basic understanding of much of the technical language and jargon that filters into popular accounts of quantum physics.
— D. B. Moss
New Scientist
Kenneth Ford's question-and-answer-style guide to the weirdness of the quantum realm is a clear and handy reference. Ford's easy-going prose will help you feel right at home at nature's tiniest and most counterintuitive scale.
— Amanda Gefter
Publishers Weekly
In this entertaining and comprehensive overview, Ford (coauthor of The Quantum World), former director of the American Institute of Physics, manages to encapsulate modern physics while illuminating rather than befuddling the lay reader. Starting with the introductory "What is the quantum, anyway?" and ending with the amusingly unanswerable "How come the quantum?" (asked by his mentor, who attempted to answer the question by writing a poem that ends, How could we have been so stupid / for so long?) Ford explains the essential concepts of quantum reality, our small-fast world, full of uncertainty and probability, where all matter can exist in more than one state simultaneously. Ford brings interesting and entertaining anecdotal and historical material into his answers, organizing and shaping his book around 15 subjects. By using humor and straight talk to answer questions that often bedevil the non-scientist who attempts to grasp this knotty subject, Ford has created an entertaining read and an excellent companion piece to more detailed popular treatments of modern physics. 104 illustrations, nine tables, two appendices. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Ford (former director, American Inst. of Physics; Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics) here sets aside his usual essay approach in favor of a Q&A format. In his able hands, this technique has yielded an extremely coherent and understandable review of quantum and nuclear physics as they developed in the 20th and 21st centuries. The text is further enhanced by illustrated biographical notes about many of the scientific giants who contributed significantly to the development of modern physics. Ford carefully explains all the necessary technical terms while weaving in some marvelous informal explanations of such matters as the physical limit to the size of the periodic table of the elements and of the motion of particles within the atomic nucleus. VERDICT Among the slew of books published in the last several decades aiming to explain modern physics to the public, this work is surely one of the best. Strongly recommended for armchair physicists and academic and public libraries.—Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674060937
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
07/15/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
300
Sales rank:
1,199,849
File size:
10 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Kenneth W. Ford, retired director of the American Institute of Physics, has taught at university and high-school levels. His books include The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone and a memoir, In Love with Flying.

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101 Quantum Questions: What You Need to Know about the World You Can't See 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book based upon someone's recommendation. It is a good book to use as a reference guide along side a standard physics textbook but not as a teaching book on its own. As the book does not start off for a novice, you really need to have a solid science understanding in order to follow along and comprehend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book explains things about Quantum physics that are typically overlooked in other books. I would highly recommend this to someone who is looking for an in-depth book into Quantum physics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago