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The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Physics and Astronomy) Hardcover – July 28, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0763724702 ISBN-10: 076372470X Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Physics and Astronomy
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2 edition (July 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076372470X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763724702
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
90%
4 star
0%
3 star
10%
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See all 10 customer reviews
Given this background, the reader should find this book clear and well filled-out.
Neal J. King
I am using this book for self-study and have found that it complements standard undergraduate textbooks on quantum mechanics very well.
gengogakusha
This book has the best explanations of the Bell test experiments and other experiments that make quantum mechanics so puzzling.
physicist2000

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Laurance R. Doyle on June 16, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book available, by far, on experimental results of the quantum measurement problem. It is one of the few books that are beyond popular accounts, which generally do not have the depth necessary to understand the measurement problem, and - on the other hand - very technical quantum optics volumes. I give it my highest recommendation for anyone with some science background to become acquainted with the quantum measurement problem in detail. It is a triumph and comprehensive in its coverage and reference to quantum measurement experiments. Every scientist should read this book.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. Eichenlaub on August 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Even after taking an advanced-level quantun mechanics course my junior year of college, I had only heard vague reference to Bell's Inequalities, and certainly had not heard of delayed-choice experiments or Bohm's formulation of quantum mechanics. I knew nothing about quantum computation, hidden variable theories, or really anything at all beyond the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Quantum mechanics tends to bring up philosophical questions in first-time students. I have a friend who after taking his first quantum course, was adamant, to near the point of hysteria, that quantum mechanics must be wrong because to him the collapse of the wave function simply did not make sense. For him, and for myself, The Quantum Challenge was exactly what we needed. It takes questions about the meaning of quantum mechanics and answers them firmly and concretely (to the extent that the answers are known) in light of experimental results. These are the sort of things they don't teach you in physics class, where you diagnolize matrices, solve Schrodinger Equations, and learn approximation methods for months without understanding how everything you're doing works in application.

I was a teaching assistant for an intensive, 4-week quantum mechanics course for high school students this summer. The Quantum Challenge was our text. At first, I was skeptical of using this route to introduce students to quantum physics, but now I realize that it is much more successful than a traditional approach towards the mathematics of quantum. After working with Quantum Challenge, my students had a better understanding of quantum physics than they would have if we had spent four weeks trying to teach differential equations and linear algebra to them.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Helen on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great for understanding QM conceptually. You should have studied QM at least at the undergraduate level already - the authors assume you already know the math. I'm a first year grad student in electrical engineering and the level is perfect for me (that is, challenging and slow to read, but very rewarding and not too frustrating). The authors go over a lot of spiffy experiments that have taken place in the last 50 years. They give you the experimental schematic, tell you the "expected result", give you charts of the actual result, and discuss what it means. As an engineer, this style of learning is great for me, because there's a lot of pretty diagrams and plots.

The authors also teach you how to apply the math you learned in your undergrad to actually analyze real world situations. For example, they analyze scattering events inside a fission reactor using the uncertainty principle and conclude *warning: spoilers* that the uncertainty in the position of a particle in a fission reactor is one hundred times bigger than the cross section of the nucleus it is to strike. (This is a fundamental uncertainty due to the Heisenberg Principle, not due to faulty measuring equipment). This means that we cannot visualize a fission chain reaction as these neat little balls that bounce around, splitting nuclei apart. It means that we cannot be sure what is going on inside at all. I thought that was neat.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. King on October 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the only pedagogical book I have seen that tries to explain the issues in interpreting Quantum Mechanics without trying to sell the reader on a philosophical direction first. The authors just try to explain the implications and rationale behind QM as it is today, without promoting a "new direction". I think this is extremely useful - even if you want to go somewhere else, it helps to know where you are, to start.

There is a lot of discussion of the relevant experiments and the issues they settle (and raise). This is rather grounding.

The reader will need a good undergraduate-level capability in mathematics and previous exposure to quantum physics, in order to make real progress with this book. I think this is unavoidable, as QM is inherently mathematical. Given this background, the reader should find this book clear and well filled-out.

(I am writing about the 1st edition - I'm not sure how the 2nd edition differs.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gengogakusha on July 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As others have said, this is by far the best book for gaining a solid understanding of many key experimental results in QM until about 2002.

I am using this book for self-study and have found that it complements standard undergraduate textbooks on quantum mechanics very well. The level of the book is between (typically misleading) popular accounts and highly technical textbook or journal article accounts. As such, it assumes you have some background in calculus and modern physics. The only textbook I am aware of that deals with more recent experiments is Auletta, Fortunato and Parisis Quantum Mechanics. This textbook, however, makes significantly greater demands on the reader (cf. my Amazon review).
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