From Schrodinger's cat to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, this book untangles the weirdness of the quantum world.
Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself. And yet it has been said that if you're not shocked by it, you don't understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality really so strange? And just how can cats be half-alive and half-dead at the same time?
Our journey into the quantum begins with nature's own conjuring trick, in which we discover that atoms -- contrary to the rules of everyday experience -- can exist in two locations at once. To understand this we travel back to the dawn of the twentieth century and witness the birth of quantum theory, which over the next one hundred years was to overthrow so many of our deeply held notions about the nature of our universe. Scientists and philosophers have been left grappling with its implications every since.
'Quantum mechanics is remarkable for two seemingly contradictory reasons. On the one hand, it is so fundamental to our understanding of the workings of the world that it lies at the very heart of most of the technological advances made in the past half a century. On the other hand, no one seems to know exactly what it means!'
Quantum mechanics is the most fundamental theory known to man, underpinning modern science and technology and even providing us with a blueprint for reality itself. Yet it has been said that if you are not shocked by it, you clearly don't understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality actually quite so strange? And just how can cats be half-alive and half-dead at the same time?
From Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to quantum genes and computers, Jim Al-Khalili untangles the weirdness of the quantum world. With short essays from pioneers in the field, this guide for the perplexed explains the theories and explores their consequences in an accessible and enlightening way.