Meaning of Quantum Theory: A Guide for Students of Chemistry and Physics / Edition 1

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Overview

Why is quantum theory so difficult to understand? In this book, written for both undergraduate and graduate students of chemistry and physics, the author looks at the continuing debate about the meaning of quantum theory. The historical development of the theory is traced from the turn of the century through to the 1930s, and the famous debate between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein. The book examines in detail the arguments that quantum theory is incomplete, as made by Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen; the development of Bell's theorem; and crucial experimental tests performed in the early 1980s. Alternative interpretations — pilot waves, quantum gravity, consciousness, and many worlds — are described in the closing chapter.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
For undergraduate and postgraduate students of chemistry and physics, the author poses, and comprehensibly responds to, five questions: Why is quantum theory necessary? How does it work? What does it mean? How can it be tested? What are the alternatives? Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198555759
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1992
  • Series: Oxford Science Publications Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Shell International
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Table of Contents

1 How quantum theory was discovered 1
1.1 An act of desperation 1
1.2 Gathering the evidence 10
1.3 Wave-particle duality 15
1.4 Wave mechanics 19
1.5 Matrix mechanics and the uncertainty principle 29
1.6 Relativity and spin 34
2 Putting it into practice 38
2.1 Operators in quantum mechanics 38
2.2 The postulates of quantum mechanics 42
2.3 State vectors in Hilbert space 48
2.4 The Pauli principle 55
2.5 The polarization properties of photons 60
2.6 Quantum measurement 67
3 What does it mean? 75
3.1 Positivism 75
3.2 The Copenhagen interpretation 81
3.3 The Bohr-Einstein debate 88
3.4 Is quantum mechanics complete? 97
3.5 Hidden variables 106
4 Putting it to the test 117
4.1 Bohm's version of the EPR experiment 117
4.2 Quantum theory and local reality 125
4.3 Bell's theorem 131
4.4 The Aspect experiments 139
4.5 Delayed-choice experiments 150
4.6 Retrospective 156
5 What are the alternatives? 159
5.1 Pilot waves, potentials and propensities 159
5.2 An irreversible act 171
5.3 The conscious observer 185
5.4 The 'many-worlds' interpretation 194
5.5 The hand of God? 201
Closing remarks 210
Appendix A: Planck's derivation of the radiation law 212
Appendix B: Bell's inequality for non-ideal cases 214
Bibliography 218
Name index 223
Subject index 225
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