Quantum theory is weird. As Niels Bohr said, if you aren’t shocked by quantum theory, you don’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 20th century.
Manjit Kumar was the founding editor of Prometheus, an arts-and-sciences journal. He has written and reviewed for various publications, including the Guardian, and is a consulting science editor at Wired UK. He lives in London.
©2008 Manjit Kumar (P)2010 Blackstone Audio
“Lively…A wide-ranging account, written for readers who are curious about the theory but want to sidestep its mathematical complexities….Fascinating.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“With vigor and elegance, Kumar…recounts this meaty, dense, exciting story, filled with vivid characters and sharp insights. With physics undergoing another revolution today, Kumar reminds us of a time when science turned the universe upside down.” (Publishers Weekly)
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
Finally, after too many years many of the gaps in my understanding of quantum physics, albeit it not great, has been fillled in. And the story line on the great Physicists of the that time is well presented.
Description of a meeting in the 1920's in which 19 of the 26 attendees did or would have a nobel prize.
Descriptions of electons leaping fromone level to another
The True Quantum of Solice
The personal lives and work of Bohr and Einstein is very good but the context of what Quantum Mechanics as compared an "observer - independent reality" is still very confusing.
Far to technical for an audio book. Complicated non-fiction requires charts, lists, graphics to aid in comprehension.
Quantum really does not require Ray to read "in character". Ray's reading is one of the main reasons for listening to this book.
No. Its about the lives of two great scientists.
Good book. I especially enjoyed the first half…this is the part of the history of physics that I would think peole are most familiar with…the development of the quantum theory from the late 1800s to early 1900s. At that point I was ready to give the book a 5, as it entertainingly weaves biographies of the key players with their contributions to physics in a very engaging way. Amazingly, every contributor except one (Schroedinger) made their biggest and most profound earth changing contributions when they were in their young 20s. Truly amazing history.
Unfortunately, the book takes a turn for the worse. The 3rd of the 4 quarters of the book I found boring..it is several hours of incredibly nuanced discussion of differences of opinion between Bohr and Einstein. While this may be of interest to a theoretical physicist, as a medical scientists with an MD PhD I could not follow this. The last quarter of the book picked up a little and put some things into broader perspective, but again by this time physics is so ethereal, mathematical, and without any way to conceptualize what is being described, that I found it difficulty to follow and understand. The denouement is good as it describes the fading into the background of all these great scientists.
On other thing that bugged me is that some stuff is completely over stated. For instance at one point the author claims that the most striking scientific discovery from 1964 is (I cannot remember the specifics now) a finding that validated Bohr’s quantum approach. I bet if you talked to anyone who is not a theoretical physicist, they would think that one of the other discoveries from the year which he lists as examples have had more impact on our lives.
I am a 27 year old nurse pursuing a nurse practitioner degree. My favorite book genres are: fantasy, science fiction, medicine and sociology
This was a fantastic book, revealing many fantastic insights into the lives of the physicists that shaped quantum physics, as well as explaining quantum physics in and of itself. We see the development of the periodic table, development of the understanding of atomic structure, and details about the borderline philosophical debates that Bohr and Einstein had regarding the quantum.
What really made it an amazing listen is, of course, the great narration and the fact it is written very well, with not too much physics, so it never feels like a dry recitation of a textbook. It wows you and makes you realize how much you're learning as it unveils physics concepts, then mixes it up entirely by going into the private lives and personalities of the physicists. You find yourself liking some more than others, or even surprised by how wild some of their lives were - like Schrodinger's sexual exploits, hehe.
The beginning was interesting and grabbed my attention
Zombie book. It wouldn't stop. The author repeated the philosophical differences between Einstein and Bohr to the point painful boredom. OK, we got it.
The performance was generally OK. At times the tone and recording settings noticeably changed. His French accent is comically bad.
The first half.. quit while you're ahead.
I had owned the Kindle version for a while, without really having the time, when I decided to buy the audio book. Best use of my credits since I signed up for Audible, as 3 days later, I had listened to every syllable, and was spurred to learn more about the subject.
If you like reading about physics and are curious about Quantum theory or the state and evolution of the science of physics during that time, I believe you'd be hard pressed to find a better listen. I know because after finishing this, I bought Uncertainty by David Lindley, and The Age of Entanglement by Louisa Gilder and they are still sitting in my Library unfinished after 2 months.
I know too little to give a worthy analysis of the scientific content. Suffice it to say, my ignorance was certainly diminished. What I can say however, is that the writer exposed the science and ideas with a masterful touch, and as far as I could ascertain, managed to communicate the gist of the concepts, and the historical context from which they arose.
Last, but certainly not least, the narrator is excellent, at least to my ears. His voice, tone, inflection and delivery were the right combination of pleasing, expressive, and effacing. if that makes any sense.
A wonderful book.
Quantum will appeal to anyone interested in how Quantum Theory evolved in a historical sense. It portrays the many players involved in its development but focusses on Einstein and Bohr's decades-long disagreement on what constitutes reality.
There is a moment when it appears that Einstein has finally conjured up the experiment that will prove his side of the argument once and for all. And it did...at least for a while.
As this is a historical biography, Ray Porter was not required to get into character as in a novel. But his narration is excellent and he is able to bring the many figures involved to life.
I am not a physicist nor, for that matter, even much of a science geek. Still, I found this book peeked my curiosity and answered many questions I had about the mind-bending topic of Quantum Mechanics.
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