This is a very well-written account of the development of quantum theory and, to some extent, the theory of relativity. Getting a full grasp of what the author conveys, however, often requires reference to figures that are, I hope, included in the print version.
If you primarily listen to audiobooks while driving or doing similar tasks, my advice is to skip this audiobook, and instead read the print version.
The only general area thatI wished the author would have converted was an overview of why a quantum interpretation of the universe is important. What would not have come about had quantum theory not been developed? What do scientists now expect to develop from it?
"Quantum" will have a lengthy residence in our 8Gb player. It is worth several listens. Narration is well paced and even-toned. Much of the story is brief biographical or personality sketches of the twenty or so personalities involved in developing quantum physics. These details provide a framework against which to pin the scientific details of the story.
Without need of deep mathematical or physical knowledge, the book covers the emergence of quantum physics in the 1920's, and what was so revolutionary about it. In a way that classical physics, even the relativity physics of Einstein, did not envision, the world according to quantum does not exist except in the presence of the observer.
It was great to hear of the lives, discoveries, and disputes of the men who founded the field of quantum physics. Einstein and Bohr play major roles in the story, but many other scientists and mathematicians are introduced along with their discoveries.
Yes. Though, I did take breaks to research the different theories and discoveries as I listened.
Magic tricks revealed
Taking discoveries out of the context of the current events of their day and ignoring those men whose shoulders lifted the individual discoverer high enough to get a good glimpse of an undiscovered truth, makes that individual seems magical. Some of the mystique of their individual contributions in light of that context provided within this book, becomes more understandable and we see that, although no less brilliant, they appear to be a little more human. Time and again, we are permitted to observe throughout this book how frequently the implications of their own contributions and discoveries are used by others to leap frog a little bit further. Einstein and Bohr are the main contenders who, like poles of a magnet pull other physicists one way or the other. This book focuses on the men in a time that Quantum Mechanics was just an infant; arguably, one that grew too heavy for its father to bear. This story is stranger than fiction. Unlike that old adage however, I still don't know if the focus subject is truth, but it does work as well or better than Ptolemy's strange orbits to predict what we observe. Now you know that I am not a physicist. I am just a mathematician with an interest in science.
Very good presentation that did not tire me. The fact that I enjoyed the presentation and do not ever remember thinking about poor narration means that he did not interfere with the story. I think that he had a pleasant, unaffected accent for me as an American listener, and he presented the material with enthusiasm.
The material was interesting throughout. The incident where Heisenberg personally requested that Hitler allow some Jews to stay in German universities since they were making significant contributions to science and were a great value to Germany was a standout. Hitler's response caused me a visceral reaction.
Part of science is knowing where to go for further information. Several papers are available to review on the internet. I stopped a few times to do some ciphering on my own. The book is inspiring. It will help me as I continue to pursue further developments as a layman, interested in physics and cosmology.
This books was delightful! I was familiar with the main characters of this story and read books written by them as well as biographical materials.
This is not a novel and this question is irrelevant.
I would like to read more from the authors.
I wasn't sure what exactly what I was in for but the book provides an excellent history of the emergence of modern physics. I'm an engineer with general physics knowledge and this puts much into perspective.
Yes, I have, it's great.
The writing, the information, the way the story is woven, and the performance are all superb
I'm not sure that I have, but he did a great job with this one.
"The great debate about the nature of reality" is pretty spot on!
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Is science about being able to understand the physical world, or is it merely what we are able to say about the physical world? This is one way of framing the great question explored in this book. It's always a challenge in this kind of book to strike the right balance for the intended audience. Kumar does a fairly good job of that in terms of understandable analogies vs. mathematical formulas. Translating his formulas and tables into the audio format poses additional difficulties. I think Ray Porter does about as good a job as he could have, though I think he could have used a little more coaching on some of the mathematical phrasing. In the first half of the book, I felt Kumar paid too much attention to the human interest side of things. There's a certain style that reporters have when they are self-consciously describing people and their clothing and inferring thoughts and feelings they have no justification for. That's what it felt like. Kumar is at his best when he is talking about the questions that paved the way for further exploration, and how the various physicists challenged each other to address unexplained loopholes and paradoxes in their theorems. This really was the single most important question of the 20th century: whether there is or is not an objective reality independent of the observer. To borrow from Einstein, the rest is merely details.
Yes, it was a great story about some of the biggest names in Physics.
None that I can think of. It is like a historical non-fiction with scientific explanation.
I always wondered how some of the greatest Physicists of all time were all born and working in the same age. Also, how did they work together, was there competition? This book explains the science of early physics, what drew these men to the field of study and how they worked together. Definitely want to be science minded as the book does explore and try to explain their work.
Yes, I would recommend this Book to anyone interested in the ongoing Quantum research. it's a very good look/ perspective of the way and the why things came about in quantum science and still are. Really Cool