Quantum Theory

  • by John Polkinghorne
  • Narrated by Dennis Holland
  • 3 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Quantum theory is the most revolutionary discovery in physics since Newton. This book gives a lucid, exciting, and accessible account of the surprising and counterintuitive ideas that shape our understanding of the sub-atomic world. It does not disguise the problems of interpretation that still remain unsettled 75 years after the initial discoveries. The main text makes no use of equations, but there is a Mathematical Appendix for those desiring stronger fare.Uncertainty, probabilistic physics, complementarity, the problematic character of measurement, and decoherence are among the many topics discussed. This volume offers the reader access to one of the greatest discoveries in the history of physics and one of the outstanding intellectual achievements of the 20th century.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

OK but there are better

The reader is clear, but the vocal pacing somewhat stilted. This is a reasonable Very Short Introduction to Quantum Theory. There are much better technical descriptions, much better histories, and much better popular introductions.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

Makes it easier to understand other QM books

Any additional comments?

As a non-scientist, and after reading many books on quantum mechanics over a period of years, I appreciated this book for its concise explanation of the different elements of Quantum theory and how they arose.
Because the author did not go into much detail about the Physicists themselves or their lives, but instead stuck to explaining the discoveries and how they fit together in simple ways, I found myself able to grasp and retain much of the larger picture, and understand some of the ideas that had puzzled me, such as quantum decoherence.
Likewise, the presentation of quantum superposition was presented in such a way that gave me more insight into its possibilities.
Also, I never realized the role that Paul Dirac played in the birth of quantum field theory, and I have decided to read some of Dirac's writings.

I listened to this book on audio format at 1.5 times normal speed, which did not seem too fast to grasp the contents. At 1.5x, it took about 2 hours to get through the book. I plan to listen to it again immediately, before going back to other books for review and deeper understanding. Then I will look for more books on this topic to continue to increase my understanding.

This book is not the most comprehensive book on the topic by any means, but after having read it I feel better prepared to continue on with my understanding of quantum theories.

While quantum theory fascinates me, I also like to write Science Fiction, and I look for ways to employ quantum concepts in my writing in a way that is sub-textual rather than expository. (i.e.: Follow the show-don't-tell rule.) I feel that it is worth understanding how the fabric of reality works and integrating it in hopefully subtle ways with human story lines, and not burden readers with concepts and facts.
That is another reason I appreciate the simplicity and straightforwardness of this book.

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- Kindle Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-04-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios