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Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Principles of Modern Physics (Secrets of the Universe) Hardcover – September 1, 2001
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There are four chapters -- the first chapter looks at relativity, discussing the speed of light, frames of reference, and the idea of warped space-time around massive objects. The second chapter, quantum mechanics, presents the idea of the photoelectric effect, the idea the energy behaves in wavelike and particle manner, and that there are few 'real life' experiments that can adequately explain quantum effects. The third chapter looks the conservation of mass and energy, the famous Einstein equation of E = mc(squared). The fourth chapter presents one more misunderstood physics idea, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, one of the important concepts in quantum physics, that basically sets the stage for much of the 'bizarre' aspects of modern physics, including the concept of limits to our knowledge and measurement ability.
Fleisher presents several short appendices -- a two-page timeline starting in 1675 with Olaus Romer's discovery that the speed of light is finite to the late 1900s with nuclear events. There are eight pages of one-paragraph biographies of major physicists of the past few hundred years. There are selected readings and bibliography, as well as a useful glossary.
Not just for kids, the book and the others in the series of 'Secrets of the Universe' present science ideas in small, easily comprehended pieces for any non-scientifically-literate reader.
Reading the introduction makes you want to regurgitate. Even though the target reader grade is sit to nine, the author, Paul Fleisher, talks down to the reader in the most fundamental way.
After you get past the introduction it is Relativity and Quantum Mechanics relatively with out the math. You will find the book more of a history of how our concept of light and the makeup of the atom changes down through the ages. He sights key discoveries and concepts. And drops names such as Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Max Plank, and Werner Heisenberg.
Before you get a chance to yawn this is one of the few books that has practical experiments to prove the laws and not just take my word for it theories. Try the Red or Blue light on a motion detector that proves that "the shorter the wave = the higher the energy."
The information is split into logical and short chapters:
2. Quantum Mechanics
3. Conservation of Mass/Energy
4. The Uncertainty Principle
Included are references to further reading and web sites to visit.