The Quantum Story: A History In 40 Moments

Hardcover | March 24, 2011

byJim Baggott

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The twentieth century was defined by physics. From the minds of the world's leading physicists there flowed a river of ideas that would transport mankind to the pinnacle of wonderment and to the very depths of human despair. This was a century that began with the certainties of absoluteknowledge and ended with the knowledge of absolute uncertainty. It was a century in which physicists developed weapons with the capacity to destroy our reality, whilst at the same time denying us the possibility that we can ever properly comprehend it. Almost everything we think we know about the nature of our world comes from one theory of physics. This theory was discovered and refined in the first thirty years of the twentieth century and went on to become quite simply the most successful theory of physics ever devised. Its concepts underpinmuch of the twenty-first century technology that we have learned to take for granted. But its success has come at a price, for it has at the same time completely undermined our ability to make sense of the world at the level of its most fundamental constituents.Rejecting the fundamental elements of uncertainty and chance implied by quantum theory, Albert Einstein once famously declared that 'God does not play dice'. Niels Bohr claimed that anybody who is not shocked by the theory has not understood it. The charismatic American physicist Richard Feynmanwent further: he claimed that nobody understands it.This is quantum theory, and this book tells its story.Jim Baggott presents a celebration of this wonderful yet wholly disconcerting theory, with a history told in forty episodes - significant moments of truth or turning points in the theory's development. From its birth in the porcelain furnaces used to study black body radiation in 1900, to thepromise of stimulating new quantum phenomena to be revealed by CERN's Large Hadron Collider over a hundred years later, this is the extraordinary story of the quantum world.

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The twentieth century was defined by physics. From the minds of the world's leading physicists there flowed a river of ideas that would transport mankind to the pinnacle of wonderment and to the very depths of human despair. This was a century that began with the certainties of absoluteknowledge and ended with the knowledge of absolute...

Jim Baggott graduated in chemistry in 1978 and completed his doctorate at Oxford three years later. He was a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Reading. He left Reading to pursue a business career, where he first worked with Shell International Petroleum Company and then as an independant business consultant and trainer. He ma...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:March 24, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199566844

ISBN - 13:9780199566846

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Table of Contents

Part I: Quantum in Action1. An Act of Desperation: Berlin 19002. Independent Energy Quanta: Bern 19053. Quantum Numbers and Quantum Jumps: Manchester 19134. Wave-particle Duality: Paris 19235. Strangely Beautiful Interior: Helgoland 19256. A Late Erotic Outburst: Swiss Alps 19257. The Self-rotating Electron: Leiden 1925Part II: Quantum Probability and Quantum Uncertainty8. Quantum Probability: Gottingen 19269. The Whole Idea of Quantum Jumps Necessarily Leads to Nonsense: Copenhagen 192610. Uncertainty Principle: Copenhagen 192711. The Copenhagen Interpretation: Copenhagen 192712. Complementarity: Lake Como 1927Part III: Quantum Interpretation13. Gedankenexperiment: Brussels 192714. An Absolute Wonder: Cambridge 192715. A Certain Unreasonableness: Brussels 193016. A Bolt from the Blue: Copenhagen 193517. The Paradox of Schrodinger's Cat: Oxford 1935Part IV: Quantum Fields18. Crisis: Shelter Island 194719. Quantum Electrodynamics: Oldstone 194920. Gauge Symmetry and Gauge Theories: Princeton 195421. Three Quarks for Muster Mark: Pasadena 196322. The Higgs Mechanism: Edinburgh 1965Part V: Quantum Particles23. Electro-weak Unification: Harvard 196724. Deep Inelastic Scattering: Stanford Linear Accelerator Center 196725. Asymptotic Freedom and Quantum Chromodynamics: Harvard 197326. The November Revolution: Brookhaven and SLAC 197427. The W and Z Bosons: CERN 198328. Completing the Picture: Fermilab 1994Part VI: Quantum Reality29. Hidden Variables: Princeton 195130. Bell's Theorem: Geneva 196431. The Aspect Experiments: Paris 198232. Beating the Uncertainty Principle: Albuquerque 199133. Three-photon GHZ States: Vienna 200034. Reality, Whether Local or Not: Vienna 2007Part VII: Quantum Gravity35. That Damned Equation: Princeton 196736. The First Superstring Revolution: Aspen 198437. The Quantum Structure of Space: Santa Barbara 198638. No Consistency Without Contingency: Durham 199539. The Second Superstring Revolution: Los Angeles 199540. Resolving the Impasse: CERN 2008EpilogueQuantum TimelineName IndexSubject Index