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The Quantum Moment Audiobook

The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty

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Publisher's Summary

The fascinating story of how quantum mechanics went mainstream.

The discovery of the quantum - the idea, born in the early 1900s in a remote corner of physics, that energy comes in finite packets instead of infinitely divisible quantities - planted a rich set of metaphors in the popular imagination.

Quantum imagery and language now bombard us like an endless stream of photons. Phrases such as multiverse, quantum leap, alternate universe, the uncertainty principle, and Schrödinger's cat get reinvented continually in cartoons and movies, coffee mugs and T-shirts, and fiction and philosophy - phrases reinterpreted by each new generation of artists and writers.

Is a quantum leap big or small? How uncertain is the uncertainty principle? Is this barrage of quantum vocabulary pretentious and wacky or a fundamental shift in the way we think?

All of the above, say Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber in this groundbreaking book. The authors - one a philosopher, the other a physicist - draw on their training and six years of co-teaching to dramatize the quantum's rocky path from scientific theory to public understanding. Together, they and their students explored missteps, mistranslations, jokes, and gibberish in public discussions of the quantum. Their book explores the quantum's manifestations in everything from art and sculpture to the prose of John Updike and David Foster Wallace. The authors reveal the quantum's implications for knowledge, metaphor, intellectual exchange, and the contemporary world. Understanding and appreciating quantum language and imagery, and recognizing its misuse, is part of what it means to be an educated person today.

The result is acelebration of language at the interface of physics and culture, perfect for anyone drawn to the infinite variety of ideas.

©2014 Robert P. Crease (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Hendrick Mcdonald 10-10-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Goes Over The Basics"

    Goes over the basic concepts of quantum mechanics, tying them in with one or two references from popular culture for each concept.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-02-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-02-14 Member Since 2016

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Interesting"

    The authors, one a philosopher the other a physicist draw on their training and six years of co-teaching to dramatize the quantum’s rocky path from scientific theory to public understanding. The book explores the quantum’s manifestation in everything from art and sculpture to the prose of John Updike. Understanding and appreciation the quantum language and imagery, and recognizing its misuse, is part of what is means to be an educated person today according to the authors.

    The authors recount a series of historical moments that occurred during the development of quantum mechanics in order to demonstrate how quickly scientific language worked its way into the artistic world. The author’s vivid storytelling of Einstein’s theories of relativity to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to modern conception of causality. Crease and Goldhaber keep the discussion of these complex topics clear and fun to read. Pop culture took to the quantum cause with far more gusto than most physicists. Experimentalist Robert Milliken tried to kill the idea, but his lab results kept confirming it. It is fascinating that concepts imagined 100 years ago will influence the physical and intellectual spaces we inhabit in the future. Sean Runnette narrated the book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra Hopkins 05-14-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Learned a lot about quantum physics"

    I learned a lot more about quantum physics. But this book is more than about the science of quantum physics and the bios of the founders of the field. It also spends about half the book on social, philosophical, and artistic impacts of quantum physics. This might be interesting to some people, but a few pages rather than half a book on the topic would have suited me better.

    I listen to science books about 5 times as I'm not able to put full attention on them when I'm listening -- driving, doing housework, etc. So, the last few times that I listened, I skipped the societal implications.

    If your interest is primarily the science of quantum physics, this is not where to start. The science presentations are too concise for a beginner. However, I've read several books and watched endless numbers of Youtube videos on the subject. My math is not up to the level needed for quantum physics.

    For me, the level of the book was about right -- only a few very simple equations. By careful, repeated listening, I picked up more understanding of the subject. I find that the more different videos I see, words I look up, and books that I read & listen to, the more understanding I gain.

    It took me a while to get used to the narrator -- he has a style that I found a little distracting -- sort of sing-songy, but that doesn't quite capture it. He's a clear speaker though, and his voice is fine.

    If you're a beginner, I'd start with Youtube videos, one after another, until you're somewhat oriented. Then, you might get "Dr. Quantum Presents the Real Creator, You!" -- also on Audible. It's by a quantum physicist though so informally presented that you might not think so. And it's got some philosophical viewpoints that you might not care for. But its presentation of quantum physics is a good place to start and it's pretty entertaining. There are probably lots of other good places to start as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    abed 04-23-16
    abed 04-23-16 Member Since 2014

    enjoy hearing something interesting

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    "Good enough introduction and general overview"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    this was my very first audio book purchase and i couldn't have picked a better tittlei have been going over the topic of quantum mechanics and sub particle physics for quite sometimes with multiple readings here and there.although this book was not a deep plunge into the nitty and gritty but it was a very insightful introduction to the ideas or the basics of quantum mechanics.the authors painted a picture for the reader and eased them into the story, allowing a better understanding of the principles.
    i liked the way he segwayed from the traditional(Newtonian) way that we see the world and presented it in the quantum realm where everything is counter intuitive.Really enjoyed this book and i would definitely recommend it to anyone new to this topic.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber ? Why or why not?

    the authors used various real world examples from their own lectures to pop culture to shed light on the topic presented in the book, the story and the rhythm of the book was very fluent which made a very good read, it tended to get a bit redundant at time but would definitely check out other books by the authors


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Spot-on


    Did The Quantum Moment inspire you to do anything?

    Go further into Quantum mechanics


    Any additional comments?

    Good book, very insightful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    satisfied user 04-17-16
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    "Mixed approach not helpful"
    What would have made The Quantum Moment better?

    I wanted a straightforward book presenting quantum theory. I lost patience with this book that seemed intent on wordiness rather than presenting its topic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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