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The Quantum Universe: And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Workman Pub Co; Unabridged edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611745861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611745863
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 7.9 x 4.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,028,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Quantum Universe by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw

"The Quantum Universe" is the interesting book about the subatomic realm. Well known physicist and science celebrity Brian Cox along with fellow physicist Jeff Forshaw take us into the intimidating world of quantum mechanics. Using the latest in scientific understanding and creative analogies these scientists make complex topics accessible to the masses. This 272-page book is composed of the following eleven chapters: 1. Something Strange Is Afoot, 2. Being in Two Places at Once, 3. What Is a Particle? 4. Everything That Can Happen Does Happen, 5. Movement as an Illusion, 6. The Music of the Atoms, 7. The Universe in a Pin-head (and Why We Don't Fall Through the Floor), 8. Interconnected, 9. The Modern World, 10. Interaction, and 11. Empty Space Isn't Empty.

Positives:
1. The ability of great scientists to communicate to the masses.
2. Fascinating topic in the hands of experts. Well researched and well written.
3. Finally, a book about quantum mechanics that I can comprehend and in the process I didn't perceive it was "dumbed" down either. Most importantly, it kept my interest and I learned while doing so. Bravo!
4. Great use of charts and illustrations to assist the reader. Many concepts of physics defy common logic so the choice of sound illustrations is a must in order to understand the concepts. As an example, the use of clocks to understand particles.
5. Grounding what we know based on the best knowledge that science can offer. The authors do a wonderful job of explaining the scientific process and defining what a good scientific theory is all about.
6. This is strictly a science book. The authors are focused on quantum mechanics, not on the supernatural or making fun of those who do.
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9 Comments 130 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Writing a layperson's book on Physics must be one of the most challenging projects known to man. Writers must resist going to the extreme of either making it a comic book with little meaningful insight or turning it into a textbook that goes over the layperson's head.

The best layperson's physics books are written in a sort of cook-book style where the final "dishes" are shown with all their wonderful deliciousness, and the ingredients that they are made from are listed, but the details of how all the ingredients interact to make the flavors are omitted because they are beyond the layperson's understanding and interest.

I recently read such a wonderful book by Cox and Forshaw when I GOOGLED on "Why does E=MC2" and was directed to their book of that title Why Does E=mc2?: (And Why Should We Care?). They beautifully explained why E=MC2 isn't just the equivalence of energy to mass, but is an expression of the basic nature of the space/time universe. They answered every question I wanted to know about the subject and a lot more. That book is one of the top two or three popular physics books I've ever read, and I've been reading them since Isaac Asimov and George Gamow began writing them in the 1960s.

Their new book THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE is NOT a layperson's book. On a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being the "comic book" and 10 being a physics textbook, this would come in at an 8. I didn't find the book to be interesting or meaningful. The problem isn't in the writing, which is lucid. It isn't any lack of illustration; a major effort was put into explaining the concepts graphically as diagrams and pictures. The difficulty is the complexity of the subject matter itself.
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15 Comments 94 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is good, but the Kindle edition is not. The equations appear fuzzy and with low contrast, there are references to pages in the text, but the Kindle edition does not contain pages (only positions), the Index does not contain links and is completely useless, some images cannot be enlarged enough to be readable (problem inherent to the Kindle images).
3 Comments 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Any attempt to explain Quantum Theory is likely to be tough going unless it's so facile as to be pretty well worthless, and parts of this book will be very tough going for anyone with little background in physics or maths. Cox and Forshaw treat the subject and their readers with respect in that they do not fudge issues nor duck important ideas and problems, which means that some pretty serious brainwork is required to follow what they are saying.

I thought some parts of this book were excellent and other parts not so good. The explanations of such things as the Quantum Measurement Problem and the Epilogue on the Death of Stars, for example, are in the excellent category. Much less good was the explanation of phase and quantum interference by constant reference to "clocks," which I found clumsy and unhelpful (although others may disagree). This is quite a serious flaw, as it permeates much of the book. However, the style is readable and the treatment of the subject quite rigorous for a "popular" book, so overall I found it an incisive account of the state of Quantum Theory in late 2011

There is a reasonable amount of mathematics in the book, although most is explained in a way that should be comprehensible to those with only a little background in the subject. It is badly hindered, though, by a number of unnecessary errors which really should have been eliminated in proof reading. For example, a footnote on p67 asserts that... "a microgramme...is a millionth of a kilogramme." More seriously, in the otherwise excellent Epilogue in which the authors take us gently and expertly through a rather complex mathematical process, several errors in the text will make the argument almost impossible for anyone with little maths to follow.
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3 Comments 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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