Best Quantum Physics Books
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Bestselling Quantum Physics Books
- Updated on
- Apr 27, 2023
Quantum Physics or Quantum Mechanics is considered as one of the prominent branches of Physics which explains the functioning of everything in this universe. It defines how atoms work and articulate the reasons behind the functioning of Chemistry and Biology . Do you want to explore interesting applications of Quantum Physics? Are you willing to take a tour of a world full of theories by Max Planck and Niels Bohr? Let’s have a look at some of the bestselling quantum physics books that can answer all your questions.
This Blog Includes:
Best selling quantum physics books, beyond spacetime: the foundations of quantum gravity, scientific autobiography and selected lectures on theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, constructing quantum mechanics , the quantum mechanics conundrum, interpretation and foundations, how to teach physics to your dog (2009), the strangest man: the hidden life of paul dirac, mystic of the atom (2009), quantum reality: beyond the new physics (1985), the second creation: makers of the revolution in twentieth-century physics (1986), the ghost in the atom: a discussion of the mysteries of quantum physics (1986).
Reading a book is the best way to understand a concept in a simplified way. If you are looking for in-depth information on quantum physics, it is important for you to pick the right books. To make the entire process easier for you, here are some of the bestselling books on quantum physics:
One of the bestselling quantum physics books discusses in great deal a common challenge in physics that is, the reconciliation of quantum mechanics and relativity within the quantum gravity theory. This anthology of insightful essays penned by physicists and philosophers try to elaborate and investigate fundamental concepts of Quantum Physics. Divided into three different parts this book examines the classical type spacetime, nature of time. It also discusses some vital questions about metaphysics and also epistemology of quantum gravity. It is a repository of knowledge for students and physicists trying to figure out problems of foundational physics and quantum gravity.
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Max Planck’s, Scientific Autobiography , contains eight informative lectures related to theoretical physics, his Columbia University lecture in 1909 and his Nobel Prize lecture, The Origin and Development of Quantum Theory. Planck’s works and lectures were incorporated to cite his research and findings in this very volume. It also contains his lectures on theoretical physics that showcase his views, ideas and perception of The Present System of Theoretical Physics . The book will fascinate students as well as professionals of foundational physics. It will be a guide to students through which they will learn how to solve physics via Planck’s point of view.
Cohen Tannoudji’s cutting edge book on quantum mechanics includes groundbreaking and penetrating topics related to quantum mechanics like, Uncorrelated, Correlated Identical Particles, Quantum Theory of the Electro-Magnetic Field, Emission, Absorption as well as the description of the Scattering of Photons through Atoms. The Nobel Prize winning author also provides a great deal of information on Quantum Entanglement. It discusses the fundamental concepts in seven different chapters which have been supplemented with more data that proffer information, practical examples and methodology. Known as one of the bestselling Quantum Physics books, this book will be a great option that will resolve your confusion regarding the separation of underlying principles of QP from specific examples at an early stage. It comprehensively clears the fundamentals of physics and presents a guiding process of its application.
Also Read: Popular Books on Astronomy
This is the initial book on the two-volume tome on the origins of quantum mechanics. It includes major developments in physics during the years of 1900 to 1923 which was a precursor to the development of modern quantum mechanics. This book explores the contributions of Planck, Einstein, as well as Bohr. It also studies theories such as Black Body Radiation, Spectroscopy and Heats purposely to demonstrate the necessity for changes to the physics during such epochal times of physics. It investigates various steps of Sommerfeld and other physicists towards the development of a new theory, which is now known as the Old Quantum Theory.
This book renders a methodical way of dealing with the interpretation as well as conceptual level mathematical basis of quantum mechanics. It is written in a more academic manner, yet clears many complex problems of foundational physics. The first part deals with interpretation of the subject. Being one amongst the bestselling Quantum Physics books, it is concerned with many basic problems, such as, Formalism, Casuality, Measurement and Non locality. Perceptions and positions are stated and critically examined vis-a-vis quantum physics. The second part deals with foundations and concepts of this field.
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You can understand the uncertainty principle, Bell’s theorem, and even quantum teleportation if scientist Chad Orzel’s dog, Emmy, can. As a result, it is among the top bestselling quantum physics books of all time. Orzel, a specialist in the most recent attempt to harness the strange aspects of quantum theory in the laboratory, has a flair for useful comparisons. Best of all, his book covers many of the most recent concepts and advances, providing an accessible overview as bit as entertaining as classics like Gamow’s Mr Tompkins, now updated.
Despite not being as well-known as Schrödinger and Heisenberg, Dirac was a master of the topic who explained many of its early origins and pushed on to create a version that was consistent with Einstein’s relativity. Farmelo reconstructs Dirac’s tremendous scientific accomplishments and troubled emotional life in this poignant biography, which piqued our interest enough to include this outstanding and unusual book on our list of the top bestselling quantum physics books of all time.
Another one of the bestselling quantum physics books on our list is by Nick Herbert. This lucid and humorous analysis, one of the first popular books to discuss quantum entanglement, does not shy away from the philosophical stakes. Herbert investigates how various competing interpretations attempt to account for an underlying reality by using thought experiments as well as understandable explanations of genuine investigations.
Quantum theory underpins physicists’ knowledge of matter’s building blocks: not just atoms or portions of atoms like electrons and nuclei, but deep into the structure of the nucleus itself, into a teeming universe of quarks, gluons, and the Higgs boson. In this bestselling quantum physics book, Crease and Mann nailed the drama of physicists’ lengthy search to peel apart the ultimate components and forces of existence, despite being written long before the recent findings at the Large Hadron Collider.
Last but not least, we have another bestselling quantum physics books that will enlighten you with a plethora of quantum physics facts and ideas. The first chapter gives a brief introduction to quantum theory and discusses many conflicting viewpoints on how to best make sense of its consequences. The interviews document a period in time, in the mid-1980s when numerous renowned physicists began to re-examine the interpretation of the quantum theory, a subject that had previously been largely ignored.
The godfather of quantum physics are Max Planck and Niels Bohr. They have received Nobel prize s in physics for their work.
The toughest physics book to solve is Problems in General Physics written by IE Irodov.
Yes. Quantum physics is considered to be the hardest physics out there. It involves a range of physical principles that blend elements of relativity with elements of quantum mechanics to understand the behaviour of subatomic particles.
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David Kaiser's top 10 books about quantum theory
Quantum theory has been with us, in one form or another, for more than a century. Yet the subject still manages to fascinate - and occasionally befuddle - physicists and nonspecialists alike. Some of its central tenets seem outlandishly at odds with our common sense. Particles tunnel through walls ; cats seems to hang suspended, at least in Erwin Schrödinger's description , half-dead and half-alive; tiny chunks of matter separated by lightyears retain some "spooky" entanglement. For all that, quantum theory remains the most precise scientific theory in the history of the universe, with some theoretical calculations matching experimental measurements all the way out to 13 decimal places.
The history of quantum theory has its own richness as well, studded with eccentric thinkers who grappled with quantum theory as the world slid into chaos: scientists who strove to understand the quantum landscape amid the rise of Nazism, the conflagrations of the second world war, the stifling era of red-scare McCarthyism, or the efflorescence of the 1970s New Age movement. The subject's allure for me stems from the unfolding of this epic intellectual quest against the backdrop of all-too-human history. I caught the "quantum bug" as a kid from reading popular books on the subject, and I have long been interested in its surprisingly colorful history as well. One of my goals in writing How the Hippies Saved Physics was to piece together why certain questions at the heart of quantum theory have moved into or out of the mainstream over time.
The beautiful and beguiling concepts of quantum theory have attracted many expositors, several of whom have responded with grace and whimsy. Together, these books introduce some of the most interesting and consequential ideas of modern physics.
1. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, volume 3 , by Richard Feynman, Robert Leighton, and Matthew Sands (1964)
Feynman developed these lectures half a century ago; they remain among the most acclaimed introductions to the subject. With his famously clear exposition, Feynman lures readers into the quantum world: matter that behaves (in some sense) like waves; the role of probability; the implications of the uncertainty principle. Not exactly a popular book—later chapters delve more concertedly into quantitative calculation—this classic introduction rewards disciplined and curious readers.
2. Mr. Tompkins in Paperback , by George Gamow (1993)
Gamow was an accomplished theoretical physicist who helped invent the big-bang model of the universe. He was also an inveterate practical jokester. In 1940 he created the endearing Mr Tompkins, a bank clerk with a hankering for science. Gamow's main trick was to play with the constants of nature so that Tompkins could experience its exotic effects on a human scale. Slow the speed of light, for example, and bicyclists' wristwatches betray all the effects of Einstein's relativity. Increase Planck's constant, and suddenly billiard balls in a pub dissolve into interpenetrating puffs of probability. These lighthearted stories offer a taste of the curiosities of modern physics.
3. The Ghost in the Atom: A Discussion of the Mysteries of Quantum Physic s, by PCW Davies and JR Brown (1986)
This collection derives from a series of radio interviews with leading physicists. The opening chapter provides an accessible, brief introduction to quantum theory and broaches several competing perspectives on how best to make sense of its implications. The interviews capture a moment in time, during the mid-1980s, when several leading physicists began to grapple again with the interpretation of quantum theory, a subject that had largely been shunted aside.
4. Uncertainty: The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg , by David Cassidy (1992)
This life of quantum architect Werner Heisenberg captures the sweep and drama of his early years. A wunderkind who received his doctorate at 22, Heisenberg introduced his version of quantum mechanics just two years later and followed up soon after that with the famous uncertainty principle . On the heels of those triumphs, Heisenberg struggled to balance his abiding German patriotism with the realities of Nazism — a regime that tapped him to lead the still-controversial German nuclear effort .
5. Schrödinger: Life and Thought , by Walter Moore (1989)
The two principal creators of quantum mechanics, Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger, present studies in contrast. Heisenberg's physics were brash and bold, while Schrödinger endeavoured to graft quantum theory onto the familiar machinery of classical physics. Yet in their personal lives, their roles were reversed: Schrödinger was far more adventurous, even bohemian. Walter Moore's deeply researched biography reveals how entwined Schrödinger's scientific efforts were with his at-times shocking personal life.
6. The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom by Graham Farmelo (2009)
Although not as famous as Schrödinger and Heisenberg, Dirac was a master of the subject who clarified many of its early roots and pressed on to build a version that was compatible with Einstein's relativity. In this moving biography, Farmelo reconstructs Dirac's extraordinary scientific accomplishments and his tortured inner life.
7. The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics was Reborn , by Louisa Gilder (2008)
Some of the most provocative features of quantum theory emerged much more recently. The notion of quantum entanglement — which Einstein had dubbed, dismissively, as "spooky action at a distance" — came into its own over the past 50 years. Gilder provides a creative rendering of the newer material with a series of portraits based on physicists' published writings, unpublished correspondence and interviews. Her account blends popular science writing with historical detective work and narrative flair.
8. Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics , by Nick Herbert (1985)
One of the first popular books to tackle quantum entanglement, this clear and witty account doesn't shy away from the philosophical stakes. Using thought experiments as well as accessible descriptions of real experiments, Herbert explores how several contending interpretations try to account for an underlying reality.
9. The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics , by Robert Crease and Charles Mann (1986)
Quantum theory undergirds physicists' understanding of the building-blocks of matter: not just atoms or parts of atoms like electrons and nuclei, but deep into the structure the nucleus itself, into a teeming world of quarks, gluons, and — yes! — the Higgs boson. Though written long before the latest discoveries at the Large Hadron Collider, Crease and Mann captured the drama of physicists' long quest to tease apart the ultimate constituents and forces of nature.
10. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog , by Chad Orzel (2009)
If physicist Chad Orzel's dog, Emmy, can get the gist of the uncertainty principle, Bell's theorem, and even quantum teleportation, so can you. An expert in the latest efforts to harness the weird features of quantum theory in the laboratory, Orzel has a knack for helpful analogies. Best of all, his book broaches many of the latest ideas and developments, delivering an accessible account every bit as engaging as classics such as Gamow's Mr Tompkins, now brought up-to-date.
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Science » Math & Statistics
The best books on quantum theory, recommended by vlatko vedral.
Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information by Vlatko Vedral
The professor of quantum information theory at Oxford tells us about books that successfully popularise quantum physics and the science of complex systems. Look, no equations!
Quantum Physics by Alastair Rae
The Ghost in the Atom by Paul Davies
What is Life? by Erwin Shroedinger
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod
1 Quantum Physics by Alastair Rae
2 the ghost in the atom by paul davies, 3 what is life by erwin shroedinger, 4 the selfish gene by richard dawkins, 5 the evolution of cooperation by robert axelrod.
Your first book is Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality? by Alastair Rae.
This is a completely popular book about quantum physics: there is not a single equation in there, I think. What he does is to go through all the major ways in which we try to understand quantum physics, all the major interpretations. It’s extremely good in that he writes in a very objective way and it’s very difficult to tell which one he supports. It’s very passionately argued as well, and it’s a beautiful exposition, very philosophical. I think it’s the best, probably my favourite, popular account of all the things we argue about on the fundamental side of quantum physics.
There are all kinds of strange views on what quantum physics actually is.
Right. There are connections with religion, then there are extremes saying it’s all in the mind: basically that nothing becomes real until we measure it and look at it and consciously record it. On the other side there is a point of view that it’s as real as anything else, out there independently of us and so on. He talks about these two extreme views and what quantum physics tells us about this very old question: whether the world is ideal or real.
Does he resolve it?
He really leaves it open because, to be completely honest about these issues, I don’t think we have something that’s universally accepted as the view: each has lots of positive points but also something that makes it a not completely plausible view to hold. That’s a really nice book.
Your second book?
The Ghost in the Atom. This was actually a sequence of radio interviews recorded by Paul Davies, who’s probably the best populariser of physics we have.
He’s the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence guy?
Right. He’s written a book about that as well. I think in the 70s/80s he conducted a set of radio interviews with about 10 of the leading physicists of the time. And the spirit is similar to the previous book in that it’s all to do with how we understand the unusual phenomena in quantum physics. The book is written as a dialogue – Davies asks a question and then the interviewee answers – and I would say this format is a much more exciting read than typical prose where someone exposes something. It also goes into personal issues, which you usually don’t get in these books, in that he asks each person about how they got engaged, when did they first learn about quantum mechanics, how did they learn it? It’s really fantastic, an amazing read.
To whom does he speak?
People like John Bell, who came up with Bell’s Inequality, which was one way of quantifying the weirdness in quantum mechanics; then David Bond who has one of those interpretations that tries to retain, I would say, some kind of reality in quantum mechanics, arguing that the world is still as real as it was in a Newtonian kind of framework. Davies chose a person to represent each of these points of view, and it’s really interesting how the interview is conducted and then where it leads – how different people end up in completely different parts of quantum physics, and what they find exciting, and so on.
Does it lead you to believe that maybe people go into quantum physics to prove an idea that they’ve already had?
That’s an interesting point. It’s difficult to tell what comes prior to what, right? In a way we do have these inner feelings, all of us, as to what we think the world should be like. And we usually carry this prejudice with us into our research as well, so it’s not clear whether you come with a prejudice and then you’re trying to use this theory to confirm what you already thought the world was like prior to that. In this kind of interview it’s easy to expose these kinds of things: you can see that people started with some ideas and then maybe changed them or didn’t change them as they did research.
All these unifying theories that quantum mechanics proves, seem to have already been posited in literature or religion or whatever.
Yes, I don’t think there is anything really distinctly novel that was brought there philosophically by quantum mechanics. The key tenet I would say is this randomness that is at the core of our interaction with the world: there is an element that you can never make more deterministic. And, of course, randomness as a way of looking at the world existed for a long time. If you go back to the ancient Greeks I think you will see a spectrum of all of these world views already present there.
Your next book?
In physics we always study simple, inanimate objects, so physicists find it very difficult to understand, for example, weather patterns, or financial markets. Anything that’s more complicated, it seems that we don’t have the same grasp that we have with atoms or things like that, so I think that’s exactly where I would like to go to with the next three books. Firstly, What is Life? by Erwin Schroedinger. He was one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics in the 1920s and then in the 1940s he began to think about biology. At that time the big problem was how biological information is encoded. This is just before Watson and Crick found the structure of DNA and explained the whole thing. About ten years before though, Shroedinger asked this question: can I take this very simplistic way we have of thinking in physics, namely that we like to reduce everything to a very simple mathematical formula (which seems to work actually pretty well) and take that over to biology and start to understand some more complicated processes within a cell, or maybe even light propagation, in terms of physics? The interesting thing there is that he concludes somewhere that classical Newtonian mechanics is probably not sufficient to understand biological things, and we might have to use the full quantum mechanics to understand that. And he comes so close to getting the right mechanism for propagating biological information that he almost managed to scoop Watson and Crick.
He got as far as the idea of a building block?
Yes. He just didn’t know enough biology to identify the DNA: he thought it was another form, another crystal-like form, but he was very close to it. Just by using basic physical principles he figured out what kind of medium you need to do this in a stable way. The book is written at a completely popular level, and apparently it was highly influential in the subsequent decades. Lots of people who read it and were studying physics immediately switched to biology. It acted as a big stimulus for people to go into more complicated subjects. The subsequent research was crucial – all the x-ray crystallography applied to DNA – he didn’t have that information at the time.
This is really extremely famous and I think rightly so – The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins: I love that book. When you look at theories in physics, they are really phrased very precisely with mathematical formulae, and if you are trying to make a prediction of a physical system you can do this extremely well with very high precision. So, for example, if you want to know where Mars will be in 10,000 years’ time, then our laws of physics are so accurate that actually you can really do that to an extremely good precision. However, when you look at more complicated things like biology and you want to say: well, can I look at a species and say what’s going to happen in terms of evolution in 10,000 years, then of course it’s very difficult, and I don’t think anyone has a clue how to make this more mathematical. But the first time I saw how far you can go, and I was really surprised, was with The Selfish Gene. Because the theory of evolution seems to a physicist much less rigorous than any theory that we have in physics – it just doesn’t have the power to predict things in the same way. You’ve got these two basic principles – the random mutation of the genetic material, and then the subsequent deliberate selection by the environment of whether the resulting individual survives or doesn’t survive these genetic modifications. Dawkins’s book was the first time that someone tried to make the theory very mathematical, and explain it fully, and tried to make predictions based on it.
He’s saying, how far can I go down in terms of simplicity, and try to explain everything in the biological world just in terms of very simple units – in this case, of course, this would be genes. Dawkins’s approach, just the way he writes, is extremely nice and I think he’s the best popular science writer. No one else really compares. It made me think that you could ultimately apply physics to biology and really reduce it even more, because you know once you reduce biological behaviour to genetics, then of course you now are working with genetics and molecules, and that’s the subject of chemistry, which itself is based on quantum physics. So, in a way, you’ve got this beautiful pyramid of explanations: starting from quantum physics, then explaining basic chemical laws based on quantum physics and then from chemistry you try to explain genetics and then more complicated living organisms. Somehow the whole fits this nice scientific logic.
Your last book?
We can explain living systems scientifically very well, but what about human beings? What about the mind? I don’t think we have any ideas in science really how to attack this problem. Because, even defining what the mind or consciousness is, this is still completely open, and in science we have to have a good definition. So now we are not talking about biology any more; we are really talking about sociology. Can we explain interactions between human beings, between societies, with a similar logic to what we used to explain biology for example? The book that made a huge difference there and generated a whole field in sociology and economics is called The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod. It’s also a popular book with no equations, but basically the point he is making is that you can use exactly the same mathematics we use in physics and in biology to start to attack more complicated things like this cooperation issue. If you link it back to The Selfish Gene, which claims that underlying human behaviour is this selfishness of genes in some sense, then, of course, any cooperative behaviour becomes a mystery. Why do we ever actually cooperate with each other? Why do we have this built in? And why do societies or tribes cooperate with other tribes and other societies? Axelrod really tries to explain this in this book, which generated this whole field of taking the game theory of mathematics and trying to apply it to the social context to understand conflict and cooperation and so on.
What does he discover?
I think that even if you have an underlying selfish tendency, then cooperation can evolve simply because you’re forced to interact with someone else over and over again. If you interact with someone just once, then there is no incentive to cooperate. But if you know that you’ll be interacting with a person over and over again, where you can check and verify what the other person is doing, and, crucially, if you don’t know how long this interaction will last, then somehow mathematics would suggest that it’s better for you to switch to cooperation rather than to continue to be selfish. He goes through lots of computer simulations and also experiments with people and some animal species to show that cooperation can evolve. So in a way it’s a very optimistic book in that sense: even though we know the first instinct is to protect your own interest, somehow it seems that evolution would really favour cooperation.
Doesn’t that depend on the context? At Goldman Sachs you can interact every day and still act selfishly.
Right. The point is that we’re really at the very beginning of trying to apply the same logic to complex systems, and maybe ultimately it’s impossible to fully grasp and explain and predict them. But somehow books like this made me feel a bit more encouraged that this might be possible.
This interview was first published in 2010.
December 17, 2012
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Vlatko Vedral is Professor of Quantum Information Theory at the Universities of Oxford and Singapore. He has published over 100 research papers in quantum mechanics and quantum information and was awarded the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2007. He has held a Professorship at Leeds, visiting professorships in Vienna and Singapore (NUS) and at Perimeter Institute in Canada. He is the author of Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information .
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Theorizing the Basis of Our World: A Reading List on Quantum Reality
Heinrich päs recommends manjit kumar, jim baggott, and more.
Quantum Mechanics is the science behind nuclear energy, smart phones, and particle collisions. Yet, almost a century after its discovery, there is still controversy over what the theory actually means. The problem is that its key element, the quantum-mechanical wave function describing atoms and subatomic particles, isn’t observable. As physics is an experimental science, physicists continue to argue over whether the wave function can be taken as real, or whether it is just a tool to make predictions about what can be measured—typically large, “classical” everyday objects.
The view of the antirealists, advocated by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and an overwhelming majority of physicists, has become the orthodox mainstream interpretation. For Bohr especially, reality was like a movie shown without a film or projector creating it: “There is no quantum world,” Bohr reportedly affirmed, suggesting an imaginary border between the realms of microscopic, “unreal” quantum physics and “real,” macroscopic objects—a boundary that has received serious blows by experiments ever since. Albert Einstein was a fierce critic of this airy philosophy, although he didn’t come up with an alternative theory himself.
For many years only a small number of outcasts, including Erwin Schrödinger and Hugh Everett populated the camp of the realists. This renegade view, however, is getting increasingly popular—and of course triggers the question of what this quantum reality really is. This is a question that has occupied me for many years, until I arrived at the conclusion that quantum reality, deep down at the most fundamental level, is an all-encompassing, unified whole: “The One.”
The list below contains 12 books that I find particularly enlightening about why quantum reality makes sense, what the counter-arguments are, and what quantum reality is.
Manjit Kumar, Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality
To understand how the controversy about quantum reality started, it makes sense to look back at the early history of quantum mechanics, and the quantum pioneers’ struggle to make sense out of the new theory. Manjit Kumar’s book tells this story as a captivating narrative, starting from Max Planck’s discovery that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by matter required that it was emitted or absorbed in bits, discrete units, or “quanta,” to the famous debate between Einstein and Bohr, always focusing on what quantum mechanics meant for our notion about what is real.
Jim Baggott, The Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments
A wonderful alternative, companion or complement to Kumar’s book is Jim Baggott’s The Quantum Story . Whereas the former delivers a consistent story of the development of quantum mechanics in the first half of the twentieth century, the latter concentrates on the glorious moments of the most important discoveries and also includes topics such as modern particle physics, the Hawking radiation emitted by black holes, and the Wheeler-DeWitt equation for the quantum wave function of the universe.
Adam Becker, What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
In the years following the Einstein-Bohr debate, most physicists accepted that Einstein was wrong and Bohr was right. Moreover, after the outbreak of World War II and subsequent discoveries in nuclear, particle and solid state physics, research concentrated on applications of quantum mechanics rather than on the foundations of the theory. Adam Becker’s book zeroes in on the dissidents questioning Bohr’s orthodox view, and how they encountered a toxic blend of hostility and dogmatic pragmatism from their peers. It describes how these quantum dissidents, among them David Bohm, Hugh Everett, Heinz-Dieter Zeh and John Stewart Bell, saw their careers ruined or had to pursue their work on the meaning of quantum mechanics more or less secretly in their free time.
Olival Freire Junior, The Quantum Dissidents: Rebuilding the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (1950-1990)
Olival Freire Junior’s Quantum Dissidents tells this story from a slightly different angle. It is a little more scholarly but still a great read, and it points out how the dissidents’ questions inspired the new research field of quantum information that is currently entering the stage where quantum computers are starting to outperform classical computers.
David Kaiser, How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture and the Quantum Revival
Kaiser’s book focuses on a small group among the quantum dissidents, especially a gang of freewheeling physicists in Berkeley that called themselves “Fundamental Fysiks Group”. While the group explored some quite outlandish topics such as parapsychology, they also for some time included John Clauser who conducted the first experiment demonstrating what Einstein had called “Spooky Action at a Distance,” puzzling correlations between entangled particles that may be separated by large distances, and who received the 2022 Nobel prize.
Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics
Another member of this group was Nick Herbert, whose wrong claim that such “Spooky Action” allows for faster-than-light signaling inspired the “No-Cloning-Theorem” in quantum information science, that is prohibiting to copy arbitrary, unknown quantum states. Herbert also wrote a book that actually was titled Quantum Reality . It offered one of the first discussions of various conflicting interpretations of quantum mechanics. And while the book doesn’t do full justice to the Everett interpretation, it contains one of the rare discussions of what quantum entanglement implies when being applied to the universe: “The world is an undivided wholeness”.
Jim Baggott, Quantum Reality: The Quest for the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics- A Game of Theories
Quantum Reality is also the title of a more recent book by Jim Baggott. Similar to Herbert’s book, Baggott’s more modern counterpart discusses many interpretations of quantum mechanics, and the respective notions of reality they infer, and reviews the arguments both in favor and against these interpretations. At the end Baggott isn’t convinced and remains skeptical about a realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics.
George Musser, Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time – and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything
Coming back to “Spooky Action at a Distance,” George Musser is opening an entirely new can of worms: What does the strange correlation of faraway things imply for our notion of space? Musser’s journey leads him to the most cutting-edge research in string theory and quantum gravity, that aims to show how space and time may be stitched together from quantum entanglement. His conclusion: “spacetime is doomed.”
Peter Byrne, The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, And The Meltdown Of A Nuclear Family
The most obvious and straightforward but equally bizarre and controversial approach to adopt the quantum-mechanical wave function as reality is Hugh Everett’s “Many Worlds Interpretation”: If the quantum-mechanical wave function allows for two or more alternative events, all of them happen, albeit in parallel realities. Everett was an exceptional person, both unconventional and ingenious, and this is beautifully illustrated in Peter Byrne’s biography.
David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality
David Deutsch is one of the pioneers of quantum information science, and his book is an unadorned plea for a realistic wave function in the shape of Everett’s many worlds interpretation. According to Deutsch, “It is the explanation—the only one that is tenable—of a remarkable and counter-intuitive reality.” Deutsch goes on and relates this view to interesting and passionate discussions about philosophy of science, quantum computing, the unreality of the flow of time and the significance of life.
Sean Carroll, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
Carroll’s book starts with a credo: Quantum mechanics should be understandable, even if it suggests a distinction between what we see and what really is. He continues with an advocacy of Everett’s Many-Worlds-Interpretation, and finishes with a line of argument on why an understanding of quantum reality is important: it helps us to make sense of the exciting new approaches to quantum gravity and an emergent spacetime as a consequence of quantum entanglement.
David Wallace, The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory According to the Everett Interpretation
Explaining what reality is isn’t a job exclusively for physicists. Philosophers have at least as much to say about the topic, and David Wallace does so. “The Emergent Multiverse” surveys Everett’s interpretation from the perspective of philosophy, and does not shy away from rather abstract topics such as the lessons to be learnt from Everett about statistics and probability. Most importantly, it conveys an important message: The “many worlds” of the Everett interpretation aren’t fundamental, they emerge from a more fundamental, unique quantum world.
The One: How an Ancient Idea Holds the Future of Physics by Heinrich Päs is available from Basic Books, a division of Hachette Book Group.
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12 Best Quantum Mechanics Books of All Time
Our goal : Find the best Quantum Mechanics books according to the internet (not just one random person's opinion).
- Type "best quantum mechanics books" into our search engine and study the top 5+ pages.
- Add only the books mentioned 2+ times.
- Rank the results neatly for you here! 😊 (It was a lot of work. But hey! That's why we're here, right?)
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- Best Quantum Mechanics Books
The theoretical minimum.
Something Deeply Hidden
Quantum worlds and the emergence of spacetime.
The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
Richard P. Feynman
How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog
Beyond weird, why everything you thought you knew about quantum physics is different.
Concepts and Applications
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
David J. Griffiths
The Problem of Time
Quantum mechanics versus general relativity.
The quest for the real meaning of quantum mechanics.
A Modern and Concise Introductory Course
Quantum field theory and the standard model.
Matthew D. Schwartz
How quantum and particle physics explain absolutely everything.
- Quantum Mechanics Books - Sanfoundry www.sanfoundry.com
- 100 Best Quantum Mechanics Books of All Time (Updated for 2021) www.shortform.com
- 5 Best Books To Study Quantum Mechanics | by Sunny Labh | Medium piggsboson.medium.com
- The 10 Best Quantum Mechanics Books interestingengineering.com
- Best Quantum Mechanics Book for Self-study [Top 20 List] studynewsonline.com
How was this Quantum Mechanics books list created?
We searched for 'best Quantum Mechanics books', found the top 5 articles, took every book mentioned in 2+ articles, and averaged their rankings.
How many Quantum Mechanics books are in this list?
There are 12 books in this list.
Why did you create this Quantum Mechanics books list?
We wanted to gather the most accurate list of Quantum Mechanics books on the internet.
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