The Quantum Moment

  • by Robert P. Crease, Alfred Scharff Goldhaber
  • Narrated by Sean Runnette
  • 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The fascinating story of how quantum mechanics went mainstream.
The discovery of the quantum - the idea, born in the early 1900s in a remote corner of physics, that energy comes in finite packets instead of infinitely divisible quantities - planted a rich set of metaphors in the popular imagination.
Quantum imagery and language now bombard us like an endless stream of photons. Phrases such as multiverse, quantum leap, alternate universe, the uncertainty principle, and Schrödinger's cat get reinvented continually in cartoons and movies, coffee mugs and T-shirts, and fiction and philosophy - phrases reinterpreted by each new generation of artists and writers.
Is a quantum leap big or small? How uncertain is the uncertainty principle? Is this barrage of quantum vocabulary pretentious and wacky or a fundamental shift in the way we think?
All of the above, say Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber in this groundbreaking book. The authors - one a philosopher, the other a physicist - draw on their training and six years of co-teaching to dramatize the quantum's rocky path from scientific theory to public understanding. Together, they and their students explored missteps, mistranslations, jokes, and gibberish in public discussions of the quantum. Their book explores the quantum's manifestations in everything from art and sculpture to the prose of John Updike and David Foster Wallace. The authors reveal the quantum's implications for knowledge, metaphor, intellectual exchange, and the contemporary world. Understanding and appreciating quantum language and imagery, and recognizing its misuse, is part of what it means to be an educated person today.
The result is acelebration of language at the interface of physics and culture, perfect for anyone drawn to the infinite variety of ideas.

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Customer Reviews

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Interesting

The authors, one a philosopher the other a physicist draw on their training and six years of co-teaching to dramatize the quantum’s rocky path from scientific theory to public understanding. The book explores the quantum’s manifestation in everything from art and sculpture to the prose of John Updike. Understanding and appreciation the quantum language and imagery, and recognizing its misuse, is part of what is means to be an educated person today according to the authors.

The authors recount a series of historical moments that occurred during the development of quantum mechanics in order to demonstrate how quickly scientific language worked its way into the artistic world. The author’s vivid storytelling of Einstein’s theories of relativity to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to modern conception of causality. Crease and Goldhaber keep the discussion of these complex topics clear and fun to read. Pop culture took to the quantum cause with far more gusto than most physicists. Experimentalist Robert Milliken tried to kill the idea, but his lab results kept confirming it. It is fascinating that concepts imagined 100 years ago will influence the physical and intellectual spaces we inhabit in the future. Sean Runnette narrated the book.

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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Mixed approach not helpful

What would have made The Quantum Moment better?

I wanted a straightforward book presenting quantum theory. I lost patience with this book that seemed intent on wordiness rather than presenting its topic.


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- Unsatisfied user

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-13-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.