The Odd Quantum (Princeton Science Library #140) (Paperback)

The Odd Quantum (Princeton Science Library #140) By Sam Treiman, Helen Quinn (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Sam Treiman, Helen Quinn (Foreword by)
$21.95
Add to Wish List
Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days

Description


An acclaimed physicist's accessible yet rigorous introduction to quantum mechanics for nonspecialists

This is a rare and much-needed book: a concise but comprehensive account of quantum mechanics for popular science readers written by a respected physicist. Sam Treiman--who was internationally renowned for his work in particle physics--makes quantum mechanics accessible to nonspecialists. Combining mastery of the material with clear, elegant prose and infectious enthusiasm, he conveys the substance, methods, and profound oddities of the field.

Treiman begins with an overview of quantum mechanics. He sketches the early development of the field by Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schr dinger, and others, and he makes clear how the quantum outlook flies in the face of common sense. As he explains, the quantum world is intrinsically probabilistic. For example, a particle is not in general in some particular place at a given instant, nor does it have a definite momentum. According to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, there is a limit to how well both location and momentum can be specified simultaneously. In addition, particles can move through barriers and otherwise move in regions of space that are forbidden by classical mechanics. If a particle has a choice of different paths, it pursues all of them at once. Particles display wave-like characteristics and waves show particle-like characteristics. Treiman pays special attention to the more fundamental wave outlook and its expression in quantum field theory. He deals here with the remarkable fact that all the particles of a given species are strictly identical, and with the unnerving fact that particles can be created and destroyed. As Treiman introduces us to these and other wonders, he also touches--without resolution--on some of the deep philosophical problems of quantum mechanics, notably how probabilities become facts.

Weaving together impeccable science, engaging writing, and a talent for clear explanation honed over Treiman's distinguished career as a physicist and teacher, The Odd Quantum is a remarkable survey of a field that changed the course of modern scientific and philosophical thought.

About the Author


Sam Treiman (1925-1999) was the Higgins Professor of Physics Emeritus at Princeton University. Helen Quinn is professor emerita of particle physics and astrophysics at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780691254364
ISBN-10: 0691254362
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: January 9th, 2024
Pages: 280
Language: English
Series: Princeton Science Library