ISBN : 9780199384228
Everybody has heard that we live in a world made of atoms. But far more fundamentally, we live in a universe made of quanta. Many things are not made of atoms: light, radio waves, electric current, magnetic fields, Earth's gravitational field, not to mention exotica such a neutron stars, black holes, dark energy, and dark matter. But everything, including atoms, is made of highly unified or "coherent" bundles of energy called "quanta" that (like everything else) obey certain rules. In the case of the quantum, these rules are called "quantum physics." This is a book about quanta and their unexpected, some would say peculiar, behavior-tales, if you will, of the quantum. The quantum has developed the reputation of being capricious, bewildering, even impossible to understand. The peculiar habits of quanta are certainly not what we would have expected to find at the foundation of physical reality, but these habits are not necessarily bewildering and not at all impossible or paradoxical. This book explains those habits-the quantum rules-in everyday language, without mathematics or unnecessary technicalities. While most popular books about quantum physics follow the topic's scientific history from 1900 to today, this book follows the phenomena: wave-particle duality, fundamental randomness, quantum states, superpositions (being in two places at once), entanglement, non-locality, Schrodinger's cat, and quantum jumps, and presents the history and the scientists only to the extent that they illuminate the phenomena.
Introduction: The Tale of the Quantum in the Window
PART 1 THE UNIVERSE IS MADE OF QUANTA
2 What Is Quantum Physics About?
3 Particles and Classical Mechanics
4 Fields and Classical Electromagnetism
5 What Is a Quantum?
PART 2 HOW QUANTA BEHAVE
6 Perfect Randomness
7 Quantum States and How They Change
8 Superpositions and Macroscopic Quanta
9 An Entangled, Nonlocal Universe
PART 3 GETTING BACK TO THE NORMAL WORLD
10 Schrodinger's Cat and Measurement
11 The Environment as Monitor