Synopses & Reviews
The Quantum Story begins in 1900, tracing a century of game-changing science. Popular science writer Jim Baggott first shows how, over the space of three decades, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and others formulated and refined the theory--and opened the floodgates. Indeed, since then, a torrent of ideas has flowed from the world's leading physicists, as they explore and apply the theory's bizarre implications. To take us from the story's beginning to the present day, Baggott organizes his story around forty turning-point moments of discovery. Many of these are inextricably bound up with the characters involved--their rivalries and their collaborations, their arguments and, not least, their excitement as they sense that they are redefining what reality means. Through the mix of story and science, we experience their breathtaking leaps of theory and experiment, as they uncover such undreamed of and mind-boggling phenomenon as black holes, multiple universes, quantum entanglement, the Higgs boson, and much more. brisk, clear, and compelling, The Quantum Story is science writing at its best. A compelling look at the one-hundred-year history of quantum theory, it illuminates the idea as it reveals how generations of physicists have grappled with this monster ever since.
Review
"A wonderful history of the scientists and ideas behind quantum mechanics.... The basic history behind the quantum revolution is well-known, but no one has ever told it in such a compellingly human and thematically seamless way."
--Publishers Weekly
"I have never come across a book quite like Jim Baggott's 'The Quantum Story.' He has done something that I would have thought impossible in a popular book. He manages to present the full ambit of the theory, starting with the introduction of the quantum--the basic unit of energy--by the German physicist Max Planck in the beginning of the 20th century, and ending with the search for the Higgs particle at the collider at CERN in Geneva. In doing this Mr. Baggott navigates successfully between the Scylla of mathematical rigor and the Charybdis of popular nonsense."
--Jeremy Bernstein, The Wall Street Journal
"A delight to read. It is clear, accessible, engaging, informative, and thorough. It illuminates an important, revolutionary era of modern science and the varied personalities behind it."
--Peter Atkins
About the Author
Jim Baggott is the author of
Atomic: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atomic Bomb, 1939-1949, A Beginner's Guide to Reality, and
Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Quantum Theory, among other books.
Table of Contents
Part I: Quantum in Action 1. An Act of Desperation: Berlin 1900
2. Independent Energy Quanta: Bern 1905
3. Quantum Numbers and Quantum Jumps: Manchester 1913
4. Wave-particle Duality: Paris 1923
5. Strangely Beautiful Interior: Helgoland 1925
6. A Late Erotic Outburst: Swiss Alps 1925
7. The Self-rotating Electron: Leiden 1925
Part II: Quantum Probability and Quantum Uncertainty
8. Quantum Probability: Gottingen 1926
9. The Whole Idea of Quantum Jumps Necessarily Leads to Nonsense: Copenhagen 1926
10. Uncertainty Principle: Copenhagen 1927
11. The Copenhagen Interpretation: Copenhagen 1927
12. Complementarity: Lake Como 1927
Part III: Quantum Interpretation
13. Gedankenexperiment: Brussels 1927
14. An Absolute Wonder: Cambridge 1927
15. A Certain Unreasonableness: Brussels 1930
16. A Bolt from the Blue: Copenhagen 1935
17. The Paradox of Schrodinger's Cat: Oxford 1935
Part IV: Quantum Fields
18. Crisis: Shelter Island 1947
19. Quantum Electrodynamics: Oldstone 1949
20. Gauge Symmetry and Gauge Theories: Princeton 1954
21. Three Quarks for Muster Mark: Pasadena 1963
22. The Higgs Mechanism: Edinburgh 1965
Part V: Quantum Particles
23. Electro-weak Unification: Harvard 1967
24. Deep Inelastic Scattering: Stanford Linear Accelerator Center 1967
25. Asymptotic Freedom and Quantum Chromodynamics: Harvard 1973
26. The November Revolution: Brookhaven and SLAC 1974
27. The W and Z Bosons: CERN 1983
28. Completing the Picture: Fermilab 1994
Part VI: Quantum Reality
29. Hidden Variables: Princeton 1951
30. Bell's Theorem: Geneva 1964
31. The Aspect Experiments: Paris 1982
32. Beating the Uncertainty Principle: Albuquerque 1991
33. Three-photon GHZ States: Vienna 2000
34. Reality, Whether Local or Not: Vienna 2007
Part VII: Quantum Gravity
35. That Damned Equation: Princeton 1967
36. The First Superstring Revolution: Aspen 1984
37. The Quantum Structure of Space: Santa Barbara 1986
38. No Consistency Without Contingency: Durham 1995
39. The Second Superstring Revolution: Los Angeles 1995
40. Resolving the Impasse: CERN 2008
Epilogue
Quantum Timeline
Name Index
Subject Index