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Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics Hardcover – July 21, 1995


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Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics + The Wizard of Quarks: A Fantasy of Particle Physics + Scrooge's Cryptic Carol: Visions of Energy, Time, and Quantum Nature
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 1995 edition (July 21, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387914951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387914954
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

My eyes tend to glaze over when I encounter YAPBAQPs (Yet Another Popular Book About Quantum Physics). But this volume captured my attention, and imagination. Told in the same way as Alice in Wonderland (with many of the original passages re-tooled to their new purpose) and a hint of Flatland, Gilmore guides us through the principles of Quantum mechanics in a truly lively and fun way. I suspect it may even be a good read for teens or extremely bright children.

Review

It (..) includes characters like the uncertain accountant and the state agent who shows Alice how items can be two places at once. -- The Vancouver Sun

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on February 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I found this book very readable & an excellent introduction to QM. The other really good intro that I would recommend would be Fred Alan Wolf's "Taking The Quantum Leap." Some of the ideas of this fascinating subject I found to be clearer in Gilmore's book....others I thought were said with less verbosity in Wolf's book. As Gilmore's book is told in the style of Lewis Carrol's allegory, it is a touch more pleasant to read.....but not much. I would recommend reading them both for a complete intro to the wonderful world of theoretical physics. Afterwards, I would recommend "In Search Of Schroedinger's Cat" by John Gribbin and "Parallel Universes" (also by Fred Alan Wolf).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Alice in Wonderland metaphor fits the subject perfectly and Gilmore does a fantastic job of catching the tone and feel of the original. He manages to make many subtle concepts understandable in an entertaining manner. Everyone in our family has read it and enjoyed it, even those who don't normally like science texts. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants an overview of Quantum Physics!
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56 of 71 people found the following review helpful By W. Truppel on September 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Like a previous reviewer, I can appreciate the author's efforts. Being a physicist, I am well aware of how difficult it is to explain even the simplest concepts of quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, I find the book to be extremely boring if you happen already to know something of QM, and extremely confusing if you are trying to learn something about it. I'd highly recommend George Gamow's Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland, instead, which I read for the first time in my junior year in college 17 years ago, and several times more since then, always with great joy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By KAHYAMAN@prodigy.net on March 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I had attempted to read several writings geared toward introduction to quantum theories and practices,without any real understanding of what was being said. Then I stumbled across this book, and with it's easy to follow format and great illustrations of ideas, I now have an understanding I can apply to the previously read works. This book has proven invaluable to my studies and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this field of study. It is informative and makes the information easier to retain with amusing visual memory aides.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Silme Sikil on January 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Alice in Quantumland is an entertaining novel that is sure to get the basics of quantum physics across to its readers. Gilmore teaches his readers the basics of complex concepts through lovable characters that are sure to hook his readers. While the concepts are hard to grasp without formal teaching Gilmore presents them in a way that makes it easier to understand. Characters such as the kind and lovable Quantum Mechanic or even the Classics Mechanic help to keep the readers entertained while teaching them new concepts.

However, if you have never taken any type of physics course and have no background in chemistry, this book may come across as very confusing. The concepts can be very difficult to grasp. It is hard to understand how someone can be in six different places at once without having a physicist standing behind you explaining quantum physics while you read about Alice's adventures. As Gilmore explains in the Preface, "Neils Bohr, the father figure of quantum mechanics in its early days is said to have remarked that anyone who did not feel dizzy when thinking about quantum theory had not understood it."

Yet, once the concepts are understood there is an underlying bit of humor that makes the book amusing. There are characters such as the ugly duckling, the little mermaid, and even the emperor with new clothes. Bad puns and old storybook characters appear in this book making the adventures of Alice rather humorous.

As a junior in high school with two older siblings majoring in physics I recommend reading this book (provided you have some physics knowledge or siblings that can explain quantum mechanics). If you are able to understand the concepts of quantum mechanics the book is hilarious and will call you back to read it again and again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Sawiak (sawiak@zetnet.co.uk) on June 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am a 15yr old student and didn't really know anything about Quantum Physics - other than that it was supposed to be really difficult, complex and beyond the average person's intelligence. This book taught me quite a lot and I found it interesting(which can't be said for a lot of physics books) and informative. The only problem was that when I got to the last page, there was still more that I didn't really understand - as if there should have been more pages, it inspired me to find out more about the subject as well. I think that this book definetly deserves all five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sathya Srinivasan on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had read this book a couple of years back during one of my 'interest bursts' in Quantum Mechanics and felt compelled to write a review about the book after seeing the less than expected stars.

As an Engineer by background, I am reasonably comfortable with maths and science. While Physics was not necessarily my favorite subject in school, my interest increased significantly after reading books by Feynman and others that made the subject more approachable. However, I had trouble in grasping the fundamental concepts of Quantum Mechanics even after reading some excellent books, probably due to its inherent abstract nature.

However, this book changed things. The overlay of the Alice in Wonderland on top of intricacies of quantum mechanics made it a lot better read and helped me create a mental picture that was otherwise hazy. I think the use of Alice in Wonderland itself is an excellent choice, given the wacky qualities of the story which fits perfectly with the equally wacky nature of Quantum Mechanics.

The author has made the complex issues in Quantum Mechanics a lot more memorable by equating it to Alice's characters and what they do.

This book is intended to explain the concepts of Quantum Mechanics to a lay reader - be he well-versed in Physics or not. To this effect, the book meets the needs completely. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Quantum Mechanics, Physics, or simply in how things work.
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