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In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality

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Overview

Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it. It is so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. Without it, we'd have no nuclear power or nuclear weapons, no TV, no computers, no science of molecular biology, no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an ever more bizarre and ...

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In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantam Physics And Reality

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Overview

Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it. It is so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. Without it, we'd have no nuclear power or nuclear weapons, no TV, no computers, no science of molecular biology, no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an ever more bizarre and fascinating place, requiring only that we approach it with an open mind. He introduces the scientists who developed quantum theory. He investigates the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, superconductors and life itself. And in a world full of its own delights, mysteries and surprises, he searches for Schrodinger's Cat - a search for quantum reality - as he brings every reader to a clear understanding of the most important area of scientific study today - quantum physics. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat is a fascinating and delightful introduction to the strange world of the quantum - an essential element in understanding today's world.

The noted cosmologist offers a fascinating and delightful introduction to quantum physics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553342536
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1984
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 197,026
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction xv
Prologue: Nothing Is Real 1
Part 1 The Quantum
Chapter 1 Light 7
Waves or Particles?
Wave Theory Triumphant
Chapter 2 Atoms 19
Nineteenth-Century Atoms
Einstein's Atoms
Electrons
Ions
X Rays
Radioactivity
Inside the Atom
Chapter 3 Light and Atoms 33
The Blackbody Clue
An Unwelcome Revolution
What Is h?
Einstein, Light, and Quanta
Chapter 4 Bohr's Atom 51
Jumping Electrons
Hydrogen Explained
An Element of Chance: God's Dice
Atoms in Perspective
Chemistry Explained
Part 2 Quantum Mechanics
Chapter 5 Photons and Electrons 81
Particles of Light
Particle/Wave Duality
Electron Waves
A Break With the Past
Pauli and Exclusion
Where Next?
Chapter 6 Matrices and Waves 101
Breakthrough in Heligoland
Quantum Math
Schrodinger's Theory
A Backward Step
Quantum Cookery
Chapter 7 Cooking with Quanta 123
Antimatter
Inside the Nucleus
Lasers and Masers
The Mighty Micro
Superconductors
Life Itself
Part 3 ... And Beyond
Chapter 8 Chance and Uncertainty 155
The Meaning of Uncertainty
The Copenhagen Interpretation
The Experiment With Two Holes
Collapsing Waves
Complementarity Rules
Chapter 9 Paradoxes and Possibilities 177
The Clock in the Box
The "EPR Paradox"
Time Travel
Einstein's Time
Something for Nothing
Schrodinger's Cat
The Participatory Universe
Chapter 10 The Proof of the Pudding 215
The Spin Paradox
The Polarization Puzzle
The Bell Test
The Proof
What Does It Mean?
Confirmation and Applications
Chapter 11 Many Worlds 235
Who Observes the Observers?
Schrodinger's Cats
Beyond Science Fiction
Beyond Einstein?
A Second Look
Beyond Everett
Our Special Place
Epilogue: Unfinished Business 255
Twisted Space-Time
Broken Symmetry
Supergravity
Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?
Inflation and the Universe
Bibliography 277
Index 291
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Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An easy, non-mathematical introduction to quantum mechanics

    Since my freshman days at the University of Sarajevo, where I was studying Metallurgical Engineering, I have been quite a bit intrigued and extremely fascinated by the whole world of quantum mechanics. In Search of Schrodinger¿s Cat was one of very few popular science books published in the early 1980s on the subject of quantum mechanics. The title of the book refers to a famous thought experiment (paradox) devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger. The thought experiment presents a hypothetical cat that apparently can be simultaneously both dead and alive (or neither dead nor alive), depending on an earlier random event, and assuming that the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics can be applied to everyday objects. <BR/><BR/>For those of us who are not physicists, the book covers, in a rather accessible manner (especially in its first half), a number of key theories, ideas, and paradoxes such as the dual nature of light, the double-slit experiment, the structure and the inner workings of atoms, Plank¿s constant and its history and significance, the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics and its possible far-reaching philosophical implications, the Compton effect, the Copenhagen interpretation, etc. Often incorrectly depicted as just an experimental limitation, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (the central idea of quantum mechanics), is explained quite nicely (and I believe correctly) in this book. The author also gives a couple of great examples of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in physics (e.g., Dirac¿s mathematical prediction of the existence of positrons, the electron¿s antiparticle).<BR/><BR/>The author¿s style of writing is engaging and pleasant to read. The book is filled with relevant historic references, which I personally always find useful, as they help with putting everything in a right prospective and context. Even though it is thought provoking, the second half of the book, which deals with more speculative questions related to quantum mechanics (e.g., the many-worlds theory), is less satisfactory and less focused.<BR/><BR/>I recommend this book as an easy, non-mathematical introduction to the basic concepts of quantum mechanics, arguably the most fascinating scientific theory ever formulated by human mind. To fully understand and truly appreciate quantum mechanics, however, one has to sharpen one¿s mathematical pencil and dig deep into vector algebra with all its eigenvectors and eigenvalues. There are no shortcuts. Thus, my caveat lector: advanced students will almost certainly learn nothing new of importance in this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    highly recommend

    I have read a few books on quantum physics, but this work for the layperson is exceptionally understandable (even though the subject matter, by its very nature, still bemuses scientists). The historical exposition, the clear logic of presentation, and the exquisitely apt examples allowed me to comprehend to a fuller degree this most abstruse of natural phenomena.
    The major drawback is that the book was written in the 1980's, and lacks any discussion of discoveries dating within the last 30 years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Fascinating

    John Gribbin's work is informative and fun to read. His explanations make quantum mechanics approachable for those interested in science.

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    Posted May 22, 2011

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted February 1, 2010

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