The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics

  • by James Kakalios
  • Narrated by Peter Berkrot
  • 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the pulp magazines and comics of the 1950s, it was predicted that the future would be one of gleaming utopias, with flying cars, jetpacks, and robotic personal assistants. Obviously, things didn't turn out that way. But the world we do have is actually more fantastic than the most outlandish predictions of the science fiction of the mid-20th century. The World Wide Web, pocket-sized computers, mobile phones, and MRI machines have changed the world in unimagined ways.
In The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics, James Kakalios uses examples from comics and magazines to explain how breakthroughs in quantum mechanics led to such technologies.
The book begins with an overview of speculative science fiction, beginning with Jules Verne and progressing through the space adventure comic books of the 1950s. Using the example of Dr. Manhattan from the graphic novel and film Watchmen, Kakalios explains the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and describes nuclear energy via the hilarious portrayals of radioactivity and its effects in the movies and comic books of the 1950s. Finally, he shows how future breakthroughs will make possible ever more advanced medical diagnostic devices - and perhaps even power stations on the moon that can beam their power to Earth.

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What the Critics Say

"A quirky but sensible explanation of quantum mechanics." (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pefect for a Physics Nut

I have listened to nearly all of the physics books listed in the Audible library and this one is my favorite. It could be that as I learn, these books get easier, but I really think this book is the easiest to grasp.

The book makes some of the most difficult concepts easier to understand. Things like particle spin have had me spinning but now I get that electrons don't really spin, they have spin. They have angular momentum even though an electron is a wave---

The book is very interesting if you like quantum mechanics. The comic tie-in gives amusing and interesting side bars to the topic.

If you are really into physics, you'll love this book. If you don't, you probably will have a hard time with this book.

Chris Reich, BizPhyZ
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- Chris Reich

The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics

This is a very good book that explains how modern technology works in terms of quantum mechanics. The book is written at a level where a knowledgeable layman can understand it; and there is a link to referenced figures. The one thing that bothers me about the book is the narration. The narrator does not know how to pronounce the specialized science words. Every time he mispronounces Shrodinger (which is often, given the nature of the book), I cringe. He apparently has never heard of an excimer laser either. It's very frustrating, and is taking away from my enjoyment of the book.
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- Betty

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-14-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio