Tales of the Quantum

Understanding Physics' Most Fundamental Theory

Author: Art Hobson,Professor Emeritus of Physics Art Hobson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190679638


Page: 304

View: 5878


Everybody has heard that we live in a world made of atoms. But far more fundamentally, we live in a universe made of quanta. Many things are not made of atoms: light, radio waves, electric current, magnetic fields, Earth's gravitational field, not to mention exotica such a neutron stars, black holes, dark energy, and dark matter. But everything, including atoms, is made of highly unified or "coherent" bundles of energy called "quanta" that (like everything else) obey certain rules. In the case of the quantum, these rules are called "quantum physics." This is a book about quanta and their unexpected, some would say peculiar, behavior--tales, if you will, of the quantum. The quantum has developed the reputation of being capricious, bewildering, even impossible to understand. The peculiar habits of quanta are certainly not what we would have expected to find at the foundation of physical reality, but these habits are not necessarily bewildering and not at all impossible or paradoxical. This book explains those habits--the quantum rules--in everyday language, without mathematics or unnecessary technicalities. While most popular books about quantum physics follow the topic's scientific history from 1900 to today, this book follows the phenomena: wave-particle duality, fundamental randomness, quantum states, superpositions (being in two places at once), entanglement, non-locality, Schrodinger's cat, and quantum jumps, and presents the history and the scientists only to the extent that they illuminate the phenomena.

Black Bodies and Quantum Cats

Tales from the Annals of Physics

Author: Jennifer Ouellette

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101221402

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 2277


Physics, once known as "natural philosophy," is the most basic science, explaining the world we live in, from the largest scale down to the very, very, very smallest, and our understanding of it has changed over many centuries. In Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, science writer Jennifer Ouellette traces key developments in the field, setting descriptions of the fundamentals of physics in their historical context as well as against a broad cultural backdrop. Newton’s laws are illustrated via the film Addams Family Values, while Back to the Future demonstrates the finer points of special relativity. Poe’s "The Purloined Letter" serves to illuminate the mysterious nature of neutrinos, and Jeanette Winterson’s novel Gut Symmetries provides an elegant metaphorical framework for string theory. An enchanting and edifying read, Black Bodies and Quantum Cats shows that physics is not an arcane field of study but a profoundly human endeavor—and a fundamental part of our everyday world.

The Story of Spin

Author: Sin-itiro Tomonaga,Shinʼichirō Tomonaga

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226807942

Category: Science

Page: 258

View: 4044


All atomic particles have a particular "spin," analogous to the earth's rotation on its axis. The quantum mechanical reality underlying spin is complex and still poorly understood. Sin-itiro Tomonaga's The Story of Spin remains the most complete and accessible treatment of spin, and is now available in English translation. Tomonaga tells the tale of the pioneers of physics and their difficult journey toward an understanding of the nature of spin and its relationship to statistics. His clear unfolding of the tale of spin is invaluable to students of physics, chemistry, and astronomy, and his description of the historical development of spin will interest historians and philosophers of science. "This piece of the history of physics will provide excellent and exciting reading. . . . It also provides the personal touch of an expert in the field that is so often lacking in the physics literature. I recommend it very highly."—Fritz Rohrlich, Physics Today Sin-itiro Tomonaga was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965.

Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift

Author: Michael R. Matthews

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9783030166724

Category: Science

Page: 828

View: 5672


This volume has 41 chapters written to honor the 100th birthday of Mario Bunge. It celebrates the work of this influential Argentine/Canadian physicist and philosopher. Contributions show the value of Bunge’s science-informed philosophy and his systematic approach to philosophical problems. The chapters explore the exceptionally wide spectrum of Bunge’s contributions to: metaphysics, methodology and philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of physics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of social science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of technology, moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, medical philosophy, and education. The contributors include scholars from 16 countries. Bunge combines ontological realism with epistemological fallibilism. He believes that science provides the best and most warranted knowledge of the natural and social world, and that such knowledge is the only sound basis for moral decision making and social and political reform. Bunge argues for the unity of knowledge. In his eyes, science and philosophy constitute a fruitful and necessary partnership. Readers will discover the wisdom of this approach and will gain insight into the utility of cross-disciplinary scholarship. This anthology will appeal to researchers, students, and teachers in philosophy of science, social science, and liberal education programmes. 1. Introduction Section I. An Academic Vocation (3 chapters) Section II. Philosophy (12 chapters) Section III. Physics and Philosophy of Physics (4 chapters) Section IV. Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Mind (2 chapters) Section V. Sociology and Social Theory (4 chapters) Section VI. Ethics and Political Philosophy (3 chapters) Section VII. Biology and Philosophy of Biology (3 chapters) Section VIII. Mathematics (3 chapters) Section IX. Education (2 chapters) Section X. Varia (3 chapters) Section XI. Bibliography

Mathematical Physics

A Modern Introduction to Its Foundations

Author: Sadri Hassani

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9780387985794

Category: Science

Page: 1026

View: 1605


For physics students interested in the mathematics they use, and for math students interested in seeing how some of the ideas of their discipline find realization in an applied setting. The presentation strikes a balance between formalism and application, between abstract and concrete. The interconnections among the various topics are clarified both by the use of vector spaces as a central unifying theme, recurring throughout the book, and by putting ideas into their historical context. Enough of the essential formalism is included to make the presentation self-contained.


The New Language of Science

Author: Hans Christian Von Baeyer

Publisher: George Weidenfeld & Nicholson

ISBN: 9780297607250

Category: Communication in science

Page: 258

View: 3310


The nuclear age has morphed into the information age. Information is a cool, sexy word: using it makes you feel smart. It proves that you are plugged in and technologically sophisticated. Information is unquestionably in. But what is information? Is it a scientifically useful concept? The slow emergence of the notion of information during the 20th century contrasts sharply with the birth of the energy concept as in the 19th. Then, in the brief span of 20 years, energy was invented, defined and established as a key element of physics, and more generally of science. We don't know what energy is, but we can describe it mathematically, measure it accurately, even market, regulate and tax it. In this work, Professor von Baeyer shows how information is becoming just as robust, and just as central to physics and biology, as energy is today. It is, he says, poised to replace matter as the primary stuff of the universe - stuff that flows out of a tangible object, like a piano or a book or an atom, and, after a tortuous sequence of metamorphoses involving the senses, lodges in the conscious brain.

Modern Foundations of Quantum Optics

Author: Vlatko Vedral

Publisher: Imperial College Press

ISBN: 9781860945311

Category: Science

Page: 222

View: 5224


This textbook offers a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the basic ideas in modern quantum optics, beginning with a review of the whole of optics, and culminating in the quantum description of light. The book emphasizes the phenomenon of interference as the key to understanding the behavior of light, and discusses distinctions between the classical and quantum nature of light. Laser operation is reviewed at great length and many applications are covered, such as laser cooling, Bose condensation and the basics of quantum information and teleportation. Quantum mechanics is introduced in detail using the Dirac notation, which is explained from first principles. In addition, a number of non-standard topics are covered such as the impossibility of a light-based Maxwell's demon, the derivation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics from the first-order time-dependent quantum perturbation theory, and the concept of Berry's phase. The book emphasizes the physical basics much more than the formal mathematical side, and is ideal for a first, yet in-depth, introduction to the subject. Five sets of problems with solutions are included to further aid understanding of the subject.

The Nature of Science

An A-Z Guide to the Laws and Principles Governing Our Universe

Author: James S. Trefil

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 9780618319381

Category: Science

Page: 433

View: 5992


An alphabetically arranged handbook contains essays on two hundred key principles, from Kepler's laws of planetary motion and Mendel's laws of genetics, to lesser-known laws that explain everything from black holes to sunflower patterns.

What the Heavens Declare

Science in the Light of Creation

Author: Lydia Jaeger

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1610970349

Category: Religion

Page: 226

View: 9154


In her latest book, What the Heavens Declare, Lydia Jaeger provides a detailed analysis of the role of the theistic doctrine of creation in the rise of modern science, with a particular focus on the natural order. As the author explains, despite the common use of the expression "laws of nature" by both scientists and laymen, there is a long-standing tradition of philosophical debate about, and even refusal of, the notion that laws of nature might exist independently of a divine or human mind. This work attempts to account for natural order in harmony with the religious worldview that significantly contributed to the original context in which modern science began: the world seen as the creation of the triune God.

Physics, Philosophy, and the Scientific Community

Essays in the Philosophy and History of the Natural Sciences and MathematicsIn Honor of Robert S. Cohen

Author: Kostas Gavroglu,J.J. Stachel,Marx W. Wartofsky

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9780792329916

Category: Science

Page: 383

View: 1797


In three volumes, a distinguished group of scholars from a variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, the humanities and the arts contribute essays in honor of Robert S. Cohen, on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The range of the essays, as well as their originality, and their critical and historical depth, pay tribute to the extraordinary scope of Professor Cohen's intellectual interests, as a scientist-philosopher and a humanist, and also to his engagement in the world of social and political practice. The essays presented in Physics, Philosophy, and the Scientific Community (Volume I of Essays in Honor of Robert S. Cohen) focus on philosophical and historical issues in contemporary physics: on the origins and conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics, on the reception and understanding of Bohr's and Einstein's work, on the emergence of quantum electrodynamics, and on some of the sharp philosophical and scientific issues that arise in current scientific practice (e.g. in superconductivity research). In addition, several essays deal with critical issues within the philosophy of science, both historical and contemporary: e.g. with Cartesian notions of mechanism in the philosophy of biology; with the language and logic of science - e.g. with new insights concerning the issue of a `physicalistic' language in the arguments of Neurath, Carnap and Wittgenstein; with the notion of `elementary logic'; and with rational and non-rational elements in the history of science. Two original contributions to the history of mathematics and some studies in the comparative sociology of science round off this outstanding collection.