The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone

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As Kenneth W. Ford shows us in The Quantum World, the laws governing the very small and the very swift defy common sense and stretch our minds to the limit. Drawing on a deep familiarity with the discoveries of the twentieth century, Ford gives an appealing account of quantum physics that will help the serious reader make sense of a science that, for all its successes, remains mysterious. In order to make the book even more suitable for classroom use, the author, assisted by Diane Goldstein, has included a new section of Quantum Questions at the back of the book. A separate answer manual to these 300+ questions is available; visit The Quantum World website for ordering information.

There is also a cloth edition of this book, which does not include the "Quantum Questions" included in this paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

New Scientist

An excellent book—one of the best popular accounts of quantum theory I have read. Ford has a deep understanding of his demanding subject and he leavens his account with color and anecdote
— Elizabeth Sourbut

Science News
Ford deals with topics as difficult as granularity, quantum numbers, superposition, entanglement, and the uncertainty principle, but he uses explanations and examples that make these concepts easy to understand and quantum weirdness far less daunting.
New Scientist - Elizabeth Sourbut
An excellent book--one of the best popular accounts of quantum theory I have read. Ford has a deep understanding of his demanding subject and he leavens his account with color and anecdote
Publishers Weekly
Albert Einstein's objections to the theoretical underpinnings of quantum physics are usually summed up in his famous quote, "God doesn't play dice." Unfortunately for Einstein, experimental evidence over the past 75 years has consistently showed that the cosmos does indeed play dice. Whereas what we can see obeys laws of certainty (we know where Mars will be in five years or when the next lunar eclipse will occur), the subatomic world obeys laws of probability: you never know for sure where an electron will be at any given moment; worse, it may be in two places at once. In this approachable book for the armchair science buff or student struggling through a physics class, Ford (Quantum Foam), retired director of the American Institute of Physics, offers his services as cicerone through the subatomic world. He explains why quarks are said to have "flavors," and why scientists refer to "strange" and "charm" quarks and their being red, blue or green. Ford provides readers with a brief but adequate history of the early development of quantum theory and introduces the present-day scientists who use multimillion-dollar machines to detect particles that pop in and out of existence in less than the blink of an eye. If readers blink, they might miss the author's mention of string theory, which deserves more discussion than it receives here. Even scientists never really understand the quantum world, but this book will help readers wrap their minds around the paradoxical concepts of how the building blocks of existence lead a strange, if not charmed, life. 33 photos, 52 line illus., 6 tables. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674018327
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/4/2005
  • Series: Adams Papers Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 230,466
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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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Table of Contents

1 Beneath the Surface of Things 1
2 How Small Is Small? How Fast Is Fast? 8
3 Meet the Leptons 29
4 The Rest of the Extended Family 67
5 Quantum Lumps 92
6 Quantum Jumps 112
7 Social and Antisocial Particles 131
8 Clinging to Constancy 153
9 Waves and Particles 184
10 Pushing the Limits 220
App. A Measurements and Magnitudes 249
App. B The Particles 252
App. C Going for the Gold 257
Index 259
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2005

    A great read

    In a world where two things can occupy the same space at the same time, can be two distinct entities, and can travel faster than the speed of light. The authors do a good job of describing the highly complex, and confusing (even for physicists) world of quantum mechanics. The book does a great job of starting in the beginning, with the founding fathers of quantum, and progresses towards the ever changing world. For the lay person, the math and descriptions are understandable and for the involved physicist, this book does a good job of showing easy, thought provoking examples to show the many different thoughts of quantum mechanics to someone who may not have the science background to understand the complexities of this world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005

    A very good book

    If your interested in quantum physics this is your book. It explains every aspect of quantum theory in a clear and easy to comprehend way.

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