The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty

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9780393351927: The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty

The fascinating story of how quantum mechanics went mainstream.

The discovery of the quantum―the idea, born in the early 1900s in a remote corner of physics, that energy comes in finite packets instead of infinitely divisible quantities―planted a rich set of metaphors in the popular imagination.

Quantum imagery and language now bombard us like an endless stream of photons. Phrases such as multiverses, quantum leaps, alternate universes, the uncertainty principle, and Schrödinger's cat get reinvented continually in cartoons and movies, coffee mugs and T-shirts, and fiction and philosophy, reinterpreted by each new generation of artists and writers.

Is a "quantum leap" big or small? How uncertain is the uncertainty principle? Is this barrage of quantum vocabulary pretentious and wacky, or a fundamental shift in the way we think?

All the above, say Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber in this pathbreaking book. The authors―one a philosopher, the other a physicist―draw on their training and six years of co-teaching to dramatize the quantum’s rocky path from scientific theory to public understanding. Together, they and their students explored missteps and mistranslations, jokes and gibberish, of public discussion about the quantum. Their book explores the quantum’s manifestations in everything from art and sculpture to the prose of John Updike and David Foster Wallace. The authors reveal the quantum’s implications for knowledge, metaphor, intellectual exchange, and the contemporary world. Understanding and appreciating quantum language and imagery, and recognizing its misuse, is part of what it means to be an educated person today.

The result is a celebration of language at the interface of physics and culture, perfect for anyone drawn to the infinite variety of ideas.

61 illustrations, maps

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About the Author:

Robert P. Crease writes the "Critical Point" column in Physics World and is a professor of philosophy at Stony Brook University. His books include The Great Equations and World in the Balance.

Alfred Scharff Goldhaber is a professor of physics at Stony Brook University whose research ranges from elementary particles to cosmology. He also teaches an unorthodox course that introduces quantum mechanics by way of optics.

Review:

“A fascinating tour of the lives and afterlives of some of the most captivating concepts of quantum theory.”
- David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics

“A delight! A tour de force that is both illuminating and extraordinarily readable.”
- Gino Segre, author of Ordinary Geniuses: How Two Mavericks Shaped Modern Science

“This is an amazing book for scientists and humanists alike! Every page yields surprises―not only about the complex history of quantum physics but about how it impacts our understanding of ourselves in daily life. Required reading for anyone concerned with casting the fate of humankind in a radically new light.”
- Edward S. Casey, author of The World at a Glance

“Reading The Quantum Moment is a very fun way to learn about where quantum physics comes from and the strange, even astonishing places it has gone with or without the physicists for whom it is the language of their craft.”
- Peter Galison, author of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps, professor of science and physics, Harvard University

“Fascinating... Crease and Goldhaber have written an accessible and entertaining history that embraces both the science and the silliness of quantum mechanics.”
- Publishers Weekly

“An entertaining read.”
- Jim Baggott, Nature

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Descripción WW Norton Co, United States, 2016. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Time travel, parallel worlds, random behaviour: the language and the imagery of quantum mechanics are ubiquitous, yet the science-and its journey into everyday language-still confounds us. Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber tell how a controversial idea from an obscure branch of optics grew in complexity and authority, eventually dominating the scientific community and commanding the attention of the culture at large. Recounting fiery disputes between figures including Einstein, Schrodinger and Pauli, the authors trace popular images back to their scientific roots and uncover modern manifestations in everything from architecture and sculpture to the prose of John Updike. The Quantum Moment combines an exhilarating history of the quantum with shrewd insight into our experience of the everyday. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780393351927

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Descripción WW Norton Co, United States, 2016. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Time travel, parallel worlds, random behaviour: the language and the imagery of quantum mechanics are ubiquitous, yet the science-and its journey into everyday language-still confounds us. Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber tell how a controversial idea from an obscure branch of optics grew in complexity and authority, eventually dominating the scientific community and commanding the attention of the culture at large. Recounting fiery disputes between figures including Einstein, Schrodinger and Pauli, the authors trace popular images back to their scientific roots and uncover modern manifestations in everything from architecture and sculpture to the prose of John Updike. The Quantum Moment combines an exhilarating history of the quantum with shrewd insight into our experience of the everyday. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780393351927

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