Quantum Physics

Throughout Quantum People I am using quantum theory as a model of the way the human animal progresses through life.

This has involved writing simplified explanations of three fundamental theories in quantum physics: Superposition, Uncertainty and Entanglement.

In order to do this I have read a lot of popular science books.  I have listed some of the more useful ones below.

Superposition -

the dual slit experiment

The Uncertainty Principle

Entanglement

Popular Science

Quantum - A Guide for the Perplexed

Jim Al-Khalili

Khalili has an extremely engaging writing style. He is clearly excited about his subject and he conveys this excitement in his writing.

All of the main concepts in quantum theory are explained in clear, easy to understand prose. There is also some description of the context of the theory being developed, although he does not get too preoccupied with exactly who did what and when they did it.

This book has been the most useful for gaining a broad understanding of the theory.

The Quantum Universe

Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw

Cox and Forshaw appear to believe that it is possible for a lay-person to not only undertand the theory but also appreciate the logic behind the mathematics of quantum mechanics. The metaphor of a clock face, representing the probability of a particle being in a given place at a given time, is used throughout the book.

The book provides a useful insight into the probablistic nature of quantum theory. It is quite a hard read.

Life on the Edge

Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden

I also watched a lecture by Al-Khalili launching the book at the University of Brighton.

Quantum Biology is an emerging and controversial science. Controversial because much of it is not yet proved and the proofs that do exist do have other possible interpretations. The basic problem is that, if the quantum biology that is described in the book does occur in nature, then biological systems are managing to make quantum effects work warmer, bigger and longer than any scientist in a laboratory.

Al-Khalili and McFadden are quite open about these issues and put forward this book as a discussion about what is proven, what is likely and what is conjecture.

The explanation about the Quantum Robin is excellent.

Quantum - Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality.

Manjit Kumar

A book that focuses on the stories of the scientists and the history of the development of quantum physics. Most of the story takes place during the last years of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

The main player was clearly Bohr as he created the environment in his department in Copenhagen University. A fascinating story of science, ambition and brilliance.