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Quantum Physics: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Paperback – July 1, 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Few appreciate how deeply quantum physics affects so many aspects of our everyday 21st century world, so Rae's emphasis on the practical impact of abstract concepts is very welcome." -- Professor Sir Michael Berry, Royal Society Research Fellow, Bristol University

"An accessible introduction to the field and assumes no prior knowledge; A comprehensive and up to date review." -- Scientific and Medical Network

"Rae has done an impressive job. Any reader who is prepared to put in a little effort will come away from this book with not only an understanding of the basics of some important practical applications of the theory but also some appreciation of why its conceptual foundations are still the subject of such spirited debate." -- Professor Anthony Leggett, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Physics

From the Author

Alastair Rae is editor of The European Journal of Physics and was, until his recent retirement, Reader in Quantum Physics at the University of Birmingham. His Quantum Mechanics, now in its second edition, has become a standard undergraduate text on the subject, and his book on the philosophical implications of quantum theory, Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality?, is in its fourth edition and has been translated into six different languages.
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Product Details

  • Series: Beginner's Guides
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851683690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851683697
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I don't have a Physics or Math background, and if you'd told me 10 years ago, that I'd buy AND read a book on Quantum Physics, I'd have chuckled. You, of course, would have been right, because I did. I loved it and whipped through it pretty quickly.

I bought this book to learn more about quantum theory. I wanted a book that wasn't going to beat me senseless with heavy theoretical math, physics or formulae. I wanted a more complete understanding of the possibilities that quantum physics theory hints at, which is exactly what I got with this book. This book offers the Open-minded a fascinating overview of some of the more controversial quantum theories, the experiments that "proved" some of them, and what might be just over the horizon for quantum physics and for us.

I found this book really worthwhile, with a positive slant that worked for me. What quantum physics seems to be demonstrating these days, according to the author, is that much of the information that we "knew" to be true, may very well not be. Which really does open up a world of possibility for all of us.

This short meaty book is ideal for the quantum-curious. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
In pop science literature on quantum mechanics (QM) this booklet is a bit of an oddity. Rae really does address "beginners", i.e. readers with very little or no background in mathematics and physics. However, unlike most pop science writers he does not shy away from simple mathematics, even though all the math is contained in seperate "math boxes" which one can easily skip without loss of continuity. Rae does an excellent job explaining the basics of QM, but still IMO - given the targeted audience -not as good as J.P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate's "Introducing Quantum Theory" (Icon Books).

Many readers are probably attracted to this kind of book in search of an explanation of the "weirdness" of QM. Although Rae splendidly epitomizes the many interpretations of QM in the last chapter, there are more comprehensive books out there covering this particular topic, including Rae's own "Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality?" !

The main strength of this beginners's guide really is the way he explains the many manifestations of QM in our daily lives, from chemistry, power generation and climate change to computing and cryptography. As Rae is the first to admit, in such a short text he can do little else but scratch the surface, but nonetheless his descriptions are very lucid, well illustrated, and above all founded on a deep understanding of the essentials of QM. The biggest miracle of all is perhaps that he manages to convey this essence to readers who otherwise would probably never have dreamed of opening a book containing a single equation.

All in all, the definite primer on QM for the pure layman.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a review in which the reviewer said he reads 5 books a year and that makes him an authority. That made me chuckle. I think Einstein himself said, he was no Einstein.

I've read about 3 dozen books on math and physics in the last 2 years and I'm not even close to being an authority, but this is another book I am happy to add to my list. Alastair Rae has the gift of not talking down to the reader. What I particularly like are the summaries and notes at the end of each chapter; it just seems to tie everything together. The book has mathematical boxes throughout, which can be skipped by the reader and still manage to get the over-all message.

All in all, Rae offers a good introduction to quatum for those who are new to the field, as well as a refresher for anyone with experience.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the three books on quantum physics that collectively will not only take you to the land of quantum physics, but after working through these books you will feel like a native of the quantum world. Here are those three books:
1. This Book by Alastair Rae covers all the basic concepts and principles of quantum physics in the context of their practical impact in the real world. It assumes no prior knowledge of quantum physics. You can use this book without any considerable physics or math background. There is some math involved, but vary basic, and the mathematical material is separated from the rest of the book into boxes; you can ignore it if not interested without losing the consistency or the flow in your read. Don't expect it comprehensive in details though because for that you will need more math, but this is an excellent starting book in quantum mechanics. It will not only break the ice real well, but also take you from point A where you know very little or none about quantum physics to point B where you are hungry to know more.

2. The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone. This book by Kenneth Ford with easy-to-understand explanations and examples make quantum mechanical concepts more accessible to readers with very little math and physics background. It covers a wide spectrum of topics and gives you a very broad understanding of quantum mechanics. Again, do not expect comprehensive detail of any topic because that would require math. It explores quantum mechanics by venturing in the world of particle physics. There is an overwhelming emphasis on particle physics, which makes this book almost as much about particle physics as about quantum physics.
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