The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That Made Our Worldby James Kakalios
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Most of us are unaware of how much we depend on quantum mechanics on a day-to-day basis. Using illustrations and examples from science fiction pulp magazines and comic books, The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics explains the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics that underlie the world we live in.
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A cheerful and mostly successful effort to explain the notoriously difficult field of quantum mechanics.
Kakalios (Physics and Astronomy/Univ. of Minnesota; The Physics of Superheroes, 2007), who served as the science consultant for the film version of Watchmen, loves pulp science fiction and comics but admits that their predictions flopped. By 2000, they promised flying cars, jetpacks, routine interplanetary travel and domed underwater cities. They had forecast a revolution in energy which didn't happen, paying less attention to the revolution in information that gave us personal computers, the Internet, smart phones, MRIs and instant international communication. Central to this revolution was quantum mechanics, a weird but critically important field. In the ultra-tiny quantum world, light travels as a wave or as a particle depending on the experiment. Protons and neutrons are infinitely small points, yet they "spin." The image of the atom many of us learned in high school—a tiny solar system with electrons circling a nucleus—is wrong. Reasonable things are impossible (you can never locate a subatomic particle precisely), but the impossible happens routinely (particles can teleport past impenetrable barriers).Readers will rarely chuckle at the author's numerous jokes, and they may roll their eyes at examples featuring superhuman characters from pulp magazines. Despite the title, the book is not math-free, although it rarely goes beyond high-school algebra. However, readers should not expect an easy ride. Quantum mechanics remains a complex field, but one as essential to a good education as, say, knowledge of Shakespeare or the Constitution.
A quirky but sensible explanation of quantum mechanics that avoids the oversimplification of TV science documentaries.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 3 MB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
James Kakalios is a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1988, and where his class "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books" is a popular freshman seminar. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago, and has been reading comic books for much longer.
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