Absolutely Small: How Quantum Theory Explains Our Everyday World

Absolutely Small: How Quantum Theory Explains Our Everyday World

by Michael D. FAYER


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Physics is a complex, even daunting topic, but it is also deeply satisfying—even thrilling. And liberated from its mathematical underpinnings, physics suddenly becomes accessible to anyone with the curiosity and imagination to explore its beauty. Science without math? It’s not that unusual. For example, we can understand the concept of gravity without solving a single equation. So for all those who may have pondered what makes blueberries blue and strawberries red; for those who have wondered if sound really travels in waves; and why light behaves so differently from any other phenomenon in the universe, it’s all a matter of quantum physics. Absolutely Small presents (and demystifies) the world of quantum science like no book before. It explores scientific concepts—from particles of light, to probability, to states of matter, to what makes greenhouse gases bad—in considerable depth, but using examples from the everyday world. Challenging without being intimidating, accessible but not condescending, Absolutely Small develops the reader’s intuition for the very nature of things at their most basic and intriguing levels.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814438114
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 06/16/2010
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.71(w) x 7.17(h) x 1.04(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

MICHAEL D. FAYER, PH.D., (Stanford, CA) is the David Mulvane Ehrsam and Edward Curtis Franklin Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has won major prizes and honors in the fields of physics, chemistry, and molecular spectroscopy. He is the author of Elements of Quantum Mechanics.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Chapter 1 Schro¨dinger's Cat 1
Chapter 2 Size Is Absolute 8
Chapter 3 Some Things About Waves 22
Chapter 4 The Photoelectric Effect and Einstein's Explanation 36
Chapter 5 Light: Waves or Particles? 46
Chapter 6 How Big Is a Photon and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle 57
Chapter 7 Photons, Electrons, and Baseballs 80
Chapter 8 Quantum Racquetball and the Color of Fruit 96
Chapter 9 The Hydrogen Atom: The History 118
Chapter 10 The Hydrogen Atom: Quantum Theory 130
Chapter 11 Many Electron Atoms and the Periodic Tab le of Elements 151
Chapter 12 The Hydrogen Molecule and the Covalent Bond 178
Chapter 13 What Holds Atoms Together: Diatomic Molecules 196
Chapter 14 Bigger Molecules: The Shapes of Polyatomic Molecules 221
Chapter 15 Beer and Soap 250
Chapter 16 Fat, It's All About the Double Bonds 272
Chapter 17 Greenhouse Gases 295
Chapter 18 Aromatic Molecules 314
Chapter 19 Metals, Insulators, and Semiconductors 329
Chapter 20 Think Quantum 349
Glossary 363
Index 375

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