The Quantum Universe
Just what is quantum physics? How does it help us understand the world? Where does it leave Newton and Einstein? And why, above all, can we be sure that the theory is good?
The bizarre behaviour of the atoms and energy that make up the universe has led to some very woolly pronouncements on the nature of all interconnectedness. Here, Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw give us the real science, and reveal the profound theories that allow for concrete, yet astonishing, predictions about the world.
This is our most up-to-date picture of reality.
Reviewed on 25th February 2012
Having read this book I feel that I now have at least a basic understanding of Quantum Physics and what it's meant to prove, even if I still can't quite get my head around the details. Cox and Forshaw present a very readable text which effectively takes the reader on a journey through the history of the theory, discovering each part in step with the scientists who did so first.
The opening chapters perform excellently at laying the foundations of the theory and the background knowledge needed - use of the 'clocks' metaphor makes it easy to follow what is happening - though I do wonder if someone with less of a mathematical/scientific background than myself would find it as straightforward to follow.
The later stages too are fascinating and show the myriad ways that quantum physics is vital to our existence and can be used to discover things about the macroscopic world that people generally exist in.
Like many things in science, it is the step in between that's hardest to grasp - the middle chapters took a couple of reads to quite follow the chain of logic and how the diagrams connect to the theory, but just accepting that they are right is sufficient to follow what happens later in the book - so there's no need to give up if it's too bizarre.
Overall, a good, down-to-earth introduction to a rather unintuitive branch of reality that's certainly helped me to understand a bit more about how the universe works.