new arrival Quantum: sale Einstein, Bohr, and the popular Great Debate about the Nature of Reality online sale

new arrival Quantum: sale Einstein, Bohr, and the popular Great Debate about the Nature of Reality online sale

new arrival Quantum: sale Einstein, Bohr, and the popular Great Debate about the Nature of Reality online sale

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“One of the best guides yet to the central conundrums of modern physics.”―John Banville

Quantum theory is weird. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren’t shocked by quantum theory, you didn’t really understand it. For most people, quantum theory is synonymous with mysterious, impenetrable science. And in fact for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly written account of this fundamental scientific revolution, focusing on the central conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. This revelatory book takes a close look at the golden age of physics, the brilliant young minds at its core―and how an idea ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century. 16 pages of photographs

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. With vigor and elegance, Kumar describes the clash of titans that took place in the world of physics in the early 20th century, between physicists who did and those who did not believe in the quantum—the strange concept that we now know to be the underpinning of reality. The titans in Kumar''s account of the conflict are Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. In 1900, Max Planck discovered that electromagnetic radiation and the energy of light are transmitted not in a continuous flow but in small packets called quanta (singular, quantum). Bohr applied the idea of quantum to electrons, leading to the development of quantum mechanics. Bohr''s theory explained experimental results that were inexplicable in classical theory. Einstein rejected Bohr''s theory overturning reality in dangerous but also thrilling ways. The clash culminated at the 1927 Solway conference. Kumar, founding editor of Prometheus and a consulting science editor for Wired UK, recounts this meaty, dense, exciting story, filled with vivid characters and sharp insights. With physics undergoing another revolution today, Kumar reminds us of a time when science turned the universe upside down. 16 pages of photos. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* “A first rate mind, extremely critical and far-seeing.” Einstein quickly sizes up the mental powers of Danish scientist Neils Bohr. How ironic that Bohr will demonstrate his farseeing vision most compellingly by discrediting Einstein’s own myopia! Kumar recounts Bohr’s astounding triumph over the great German theorist in their debate over quantum physics, thus illuminating a pivotal episode in modern physics. In that episode readers see how quantum mechanics integrates a range of promising but puzzling and seemingly disconnected subatomic discoveries. Readers see, for instance, how a cautious Max Planck reluctantly parcels light into discrete packets and how a befuddled Ernest Rutherford recognizes that only a radically new model of the atom can explain alpha-particle deflections. Though only specialists will understand the technical issues, Kumar keeps the main thread of his narrative accessible to the intelligent general reader, particularly clarifying how Einstein’s belief in objective reality pits him against the daringly agnostic Bohr, who leaves the mysteries of wave-particle duality veiled in statistical probabilities and abstract formulas. Intellectual exhilaration runs high as Einstein repeatedly presses Bohr—posing daunting questions about how to weigh an imaginary box of light and how to explain eerily “entangled” particles. The future of science hangs in the balance: physics becomes high drama. --Bryce Christensen

Review

"Lively....a wide-ranging account, written for readers who are curious about the theory but what to sidestep its mathematical complexities....fascinating."
The New York Times Book Review

"A super-collider of a book, shaking together an exotic cocktail of free-thinking physicists, tracing their chaotic interactions and seeing what God-particles and black holes fly up out of the maelstrom… Provides probably the most lucid and detailed intellectual history ever written of a body of theory that makes other scientific revolutions look limp-wristed by comparison."
The Independent [UK]

"As a fairly innumerate non-scientist, I am perversely drawn to books about maths and science and usually abandon them with ignorance intact. However, Quantum by Manjit Kumar … is so well written that I now feel I’ve more or less got particle physics sussed. Quantum transcends genre―it is historical, scientific, biographical, philosophical."
The Guardian

"Kumar is an accomplished writer who knows how to separate the excitement of the chase from the sometimes impenetrable mathematics."
Financial Times

"Kumar brings lucidity and a sense of drama to what is usually considered by lay readers as an esoteric, bubble-chambered subject. He does this without sacrificing the ‘science of it’ at the altar of readability. The triumphs and the tribulations, the politics and the physics, the humanity and the genius of the protagonists all collide to produce the sort of energy that we usually expect in a Le Carre thriller."
The Hindustan Times

About the Author

Manjit Kumar has degrees in physics and philosophy and has written for Slate, The Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, and New Scientist. He lives in London.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Steven H Propp
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
AN INTERESTING HISTORY OF THE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT QUANTUM THEORY
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2020
Author Manjit Kumar wrote in the Prologue to this 2008 book, “Whereas the name Einstein is a byword for scientific genius, Niels Bohr was, and remains, less well known. Yet to his contemporaries he was every inch the scientific giant… When Einstein and Bohr first met in... See more
Author Manjit Kumar wrote in the Prologue to this 2008 book, “Whereas the name Einstein is a byword for scientific genius, Niels Bohr was, and remains, less well known. Yet to his contemporaries he was every inch the scientific giant… When Einstein and Bohr first met in Berlin in 1920, each found an intellectual sparring partner who would, without bitterness or rancour, push and prod the other into refining and sharpening his thinking about the quantum. It is through them and some of those gathered at Solvay 1927 that we capture the pioneering years of quantum physics… Without the quantum, the world we live in would be very different. Yet for most of the twentieth century, physicists accepted that quantum mechanics denied the existence of a reality beyond what was measured in their experiments.” (Pg. xii-xiii)

He notes, “Years after [Max] Planck’s death in 1947, at the age of 89, his former student and colleague James Franck recalled watching his hopeless struggle ‘to avoid quantum theory, [to see] whether he could not at least make the influence of quantum theory as little as it could possibly be.’ It was clear to Franck that Planck ‘was a revolutionary against his own will’ who ‘finally came to the conclusion, “It doesn’t help. We have to live with quantum theory. And believe me, it will expand.’ It was a fitting epitaph for a reluctant revolutionary.” (Pg. 29)

He notes, “Over a quarter of a century, the developments in quantum physics… were the product of an unhappy marriage of quantum concepts and classical physics. It was a union that by 1925 was increasingly under strain. ‘The more successes the quantum theory enjoys, the more stupid it looks,’ Einstein had written as early as May 1912. What was needed was a new theory, a new mechanics of the quantum world… Given the pivotal role of young physicists in making the revolution that shaped the modern world, these were the years of knabenphysik---‘boy physics.’” (Pg. 153)

He points out, “In December 1926, Einstein had expressed his growing disquiet at the rejection of causality and determinism in a letter to Born: ‘Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the “old one.” I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.’ As the battle lines were being drawn, Einstein was unwittingly the inspiration for a stunning breakthrough, one of the greatest and profoundest achievements in the history of the quantum---the uncertainty principle.” (Pg. 224)

He explains, Bohr never used the term the ‘Copenhagen interpretation,’ nor did anyone else until Heisenberg in 1955. Yet from a handful of adherents it quickly spread so that for most physicists the ‘Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics’ because synonymous with quantum mechanics. Three factors lay behind this rapid dissemination and acceptance of the ‘Copenhagen spirit.’ The first was the pivotal role of Bohr and his institute… Secondly, around the time of Solvay 1927 a number of professorships became vacant. Those who had helped create the new physics filled nearly all of these… Lastly, despite their differences, Bohr and his younger associates always presented a united front against all challenges to the Copenhagen interpretation.” (Pg. 276-277)

He states, “One possible reason for the misunderstanding may be that Einstein first said that God ‘is not playing at dice’ in December 1926 when he tried to convey to Born his unease at the role of probability and chance in quantum mechanics and the rejection of causality and determinism. Pauli, however, understood that Einstein’s objections went far beyond the theory being expressed in the language of probability. ‘In particular it seems to me misleading to bring the concept of determinism into the dispute with Einstein,’ he warned Born. ‘At the heart of the problem,’ wrote Einstein in 1950 of quantum mechanics, ‘is not so much the question of causality but the question of realism.’ For years he had hoped that he ‘may yet work out the quantum puzzle without having to renounce the representation of reality.’ For the man who discovered relativity, the reality had to be local, with no place for faster-than-light influences. The violation of Bell’s inequality meant that if he wanted a quantum world that existed independently of observers, then Einstein would have had to give up locality.” (Pg. 353)

He concludes, “In December 1900, classical physics had a place for everything and almost everything in its place. Then Max Planck stumbled across the quantum, and physicists are still struggling to come to terms with it. Fifty long years of ‘conscious brooding,’ said Einstein, had not brought him any closer to understanding the quantum. He kept trying to the end, taking solace in the words of the German playwright and philosopher Gotthold Lessing: ‘The aspiration
to truth is more precious than its assured possession.” (Pg. 360)

There is a great deal of interesting “background” information about all of the personalities involved in the development of quantum physics; this book will thus be of keen interest to anyone studying the history of this subject.
3 people found this helpful
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Storyteller Studios
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Masterfully written
Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2019
I am a medical doctor and understand the importance of communicating complex problems to patients in an understandable manner. The challenge lay in the fact that my patients do not "speak the language" so to speak. Simply put-I don''t speak math and physics. Add to this a... See more
I am a medical doctor and understand the importance of communicating complex problems to patients in an understandable manner. The challenge lay in the fact that my patients do not "speak the language" so to speak. Simply put-I don''t speak math and physics. Add to this a second challenge: quantum physics (including quantum entanglement) are not fully understood by anyone! These barriers to clear and concise teaching are what Manjit Kumar has masterfully overcome. The text is interesting and for the most part presented in a manner which I could follow.
My favorite parts of the book are the historical details of how these brilliant physicists struggled with the discoveries they were making. Another enjoyable matter is how the different fields are brought together: Experimental physics, theoretical physics, mathematics, spectral light theory, metallurgy and on and on. Example: At times, they discovered mathematical formulas which worked, such as those with spectral light energies, but didn''t have any idea of why they worked...until scientists in a different area (Bohr''s atom) came up with the answers.
The author shows us the struggle between quantum physics and Newtonian physics which behave according to different laws...how can that be?
I would highly recommend Kumar''s "Quantum" to anyone with a desire to understand a small portion of the incredible area of Quantum physics and how out understanding of it developed during the 20th century.
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Cohibuh23
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book. Worth reading more than once.
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2015
I''ll make this short. There are so many books out there on quantum physics. As I layman, I find this topic deeply engrossing, so I''ve read 6 or 7 books and will surely read more on this. This is one of the better ones I''ve come across. The author weaves a fascinating... See more
I''ll make this short. There are so many books out there on quantum physics. As I layman, I find this topic deeply engrossing, so I''ve read 6 or 7 books and will surely read more on this. This is one of the better ones I''ve come across. The author weaves a fascinating account of the major scientists at quantum''s core, and the cooperation and rivalry amongst them: Planck, Bohr, Shrodinger, Einstein, Heisenberg, Pauli, and quite a few others. The genius of these men is awe-inspiring and humbling. Each development in quantum is covered, who worked with whom, the brilliant speeches and symposiums, and the countless one on one talks into the night, which sometimes pitted genius against genius as each seemed to have his own deeply felt inherent insight and direction. Those great years were peppered with amazing breakthroughs. I just love reading the nicely told and exciting stories of how each important breakthrough came about. And then, of course, the ensuing debates about what the experiments really showed. After all, classical physics can lead one awfully astray in the strange world of the quantum! I highly recommend this book, and can''t wait to finish it so I can read it again!
22 people found this helpful
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G.Logo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I was actually caught up in it like a novel
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2016
This review is for the audio book, which I supplemented with the paperback Kumar has fleshed out these incredible individuals we have known and read about all our lives into characters we can relate to on the human level. I found myself emotionally overcome when... See more
This review is for the audio book, which I supplemented with the paperback

Kumar has fleshed out these incredible individuals we have known and read about all our lives into characters we can relate to on the human level. I found myself emotionally overcome when Bohr had the final drawing of Einstein''s ''light box'' on his chalk board... I was actually caught up in it like a novel. He covers the history and idiosyncrasies of the ''characters'' which one can see undoubtedly influence some of the breakthroughs, some of which the originator found more tragic and "Oh no!" than ''Eureka!"

Though a crude understanding of basic chemistry and/or physics will help it is not a necessary prerequisite for reading. The material and Ray Porter''s intelligent and succinct style of narration could not be a better match. Can''t say enough good things about this book.
7 people found this helpful
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William G. Nyilas
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Great Read on the Development of he Theory of Quantum Mechanics
Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2015
This book is about all the main players in the development of Quantum Mechanics. It details the contribution and work of each of those men and women in developing the theory of Quantum Mechanics as we now know it, in a nice chronological fashion. The book did more for... See more
This book is about all the main players in the development of Quantum Mechanics. It details the contribution and work of each of those men and women in developing the theory of Quantum Mechanics as we now know it, in a nice chronological fashion.
The book did more for me in grasping Quantum Mechanics than any other of the many books that I have read on the subject, explaining how Max Planck stumbled upon the concept of the quantization of energy due to the fact that it was the only way that he could explain Black Body radiation, to a discussion of Bell''s Theorem (or Bell''s Inequality) which is really an explanation of what Einstein called "Spooky action at a distance."
All anyone needs to completely understand this book is a decent knowledge of high school algebra and trigonometry and physics 101.
5 people found this helpful
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Christopher A. Meli
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
great for historical context
Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2011
I would encourage anyone interested in this subject to read this book. That said, it''s important to understand what this book covers and at what level; coming to this book with a background in physics, and having read other books on the interpretation of quantum mechanics,... See more
I would encourage anyone interested in this subject to read this book. That said, it''s important to understand what this book covers and at what level; coming to this book with a background in physics, and having read other books on the interpretation of quantum mechanics, I didn''t find any further insights into the subject here. The book is generally well-written, albeit with some purple prose here and there that I found a bit annoying. It is most appropriate for a reader with a non-technical background who''s willing to stretch; to anyone who''s taken a course in elementary modern physics, all of the mathematical content will be very familiar. The summary historical lead-up to the main subject is masterful - there are a lot of people, places, developments and concepts to introduce, and the author does the best job of this that I''ve ever encountered. What I found unique was the chronology of the arguments, liberally illustrated with direct quotes from the participants - while I''ve read a number of meatier books on the subject, none provided the historical perspective here, which leads to an appreciation of the depth of thought over decades that''s led to our current (lack of) understanding.

For those who have finished this book and are looking for more, a couple of suggestions: Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science , which addresses the same subject in a different way - more from the perspective of the ideas than the chronology - and which I would say that I found to be more compelling; Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Quantum Theory , which is much meatier and satisfying in addressing the meaning of quantum theory, but which requires one to go further with the concepts/mathematics.
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R. Delrio
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
ABSOLUTELY ABSORBING!
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2012
I do not write in capital letters. This tells you how much I sincerely enjoyed the book. I would agree with the summation of one who says that this is a boring book for the scientist, but it is a fantastic book for a historian! The character profiles of the... See more
I do not write in capital letters. This tells you how much I sincerely enjoyed the book.

I would agree with the summation of one who says that this is a boring book for the scientist, but it is a fantastic book for a historian! The character profiles of the scientists like Einstein and Borh, humanized them and hit home the thought that these men were more than just the equations they wrote. It was not a child''s book, and was written at college level, but with a passion for the subject.

Quantum Physics is still in its infantile stages. Everything is so unknown. Imagine Einstein or Gell-Mann in contemporary science with all the right equipment. It was only a theory to them. They spent plenty of time arguing over their theories, but it would take decades just to find some correlation.

This book took a subject that was very alien to me, and made me feel at home in a wide-eyed way! I think this would be a good book for anyone who wants to see where it all started. Major kudos go to the Kumar the author for appreciating the fact that there are some of us that just want to know the juice behind the equation!!!!
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Dan F. Duda
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Pleasant Surprise
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2011
Based on the title I expected a detailed report focused on the great debate between Einstein and Bohr. However, when the narrative started with Max Planck I realized the contents was much broader. Kumar presents a very compelling account of the entire quntum revolution... See more
Based on the title I expected a detailed report focused on the great debate between Einstein and Bohr. However, when the narrative started with Max Planck I realized the contents was much broader. Kumar presents a very compelling account of the entire quntum revolution including all of the key players and the background drama that unfolded (and continues to unfold).

At first I was dissapointed with the broader scope, however, as I continued I was impressed with Kumar''s ability to draw me into the background of the people and the events. There wasn''t a lot that was new to me, but the quality of his story telling made it a very enjoyable read. And, his account of the debate itself is excellent, including his description of the famous photo of Einstein and Bohr walking (and debating) together in Brussels during the 1930 Solvay conference.

This is highly recommended for anyone, like me, who obsesses on the nature of reality.
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Top reviews from other countries

Ing. Borgdorff
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2015
Good CD album due to expectation and ptoper delivery (dAb) +>
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Rid
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting but hmm
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 11, 2020
A controversial book slightly but interesting
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Johnnyboy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 17, 2016
Brilliant
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Romas
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2018
Loved it
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Cliente de Amazon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of the best books about the history of Quantum Mechanics!
Reviewed in Mexico on March 23, 2017
Very detailed narrative of the accounts of the quantum leap from classical physics to quantum mechanics during the first half of the XX century and beyond. One of the best books on the subject.
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