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John Gillott

Manjit Kumar


Quantum theory is often shrouded in a veil of mystery, and you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Is it a case of those in the know trying to make it seem more difficult, or is there really something weird about it. In Quantum : Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality Manjit Kumar explains how such a view of quantum theory came about.

The book is largely biographical in nature, describing the life and work of the scientists involved in the creation of quantum theory. The rather reluctant quantisation of Planck, the work of Einstein, eager for a new look at the way the world works, and the struggles of Bohr to make it all consistent. Kumar looks at the work of Schrodinger and Heisenberg, and goes on to the arguments between Einstein and Bohr in the late 1920's and 1930's. The later chapters look at more recent work, such as that of Bohm and Bell.

My personal view is that the common idea that Bohr 'won' the debate is fundamentally wrong. Kumar doesn't go that far, but I felt he gave a more balanced view of the debate than many accounts, and that the book provides much useful material for anyone wanting to find the problems with Bohr's views. In any case, it's a well written book, giving a flavour of the development of an important part of modern physics without going into technicalities, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the development of science over the last century. info
Hardcover 480 pages  
ISBN: 1848310293
Salesrank: 223535
Published: 2008 Icon Books Ltd
Amazon price $44.99
Marketplace:New from $44.99:Used from $7.50
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ISBN: 1848310293
Salesrank: 669371
Weight:1.72 lbs
Published: Icon Books Ltd
Amazon price CDN$ 111.60
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 82.60:Used from CDN$ 7.01
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Product Description

“One of the best guides yet to the central conundrums of modern physics.”―John Banville

Quantum theory is weird. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren’t shocked by quantum theory, you didn’t really understand it. For most people, quantum theory is synonymous with mysterious, impenetrable science. And in fact for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly written account of this fundamental scientific revolution, focusing on the central conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. This revelatory book takes a close look at the golden age of physics, the brilliant young minds at its core―and how an idea ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century. 16 pages of photographs