Beyond Weird; Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different.

Author:Foster, Rebecca
Position:Brief article - Book review
 
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Philip Ball; BEYOND WEIRD; University of Chicago Press (Nonfiction: Science) 26.00 ISBN: 9780226558387

Byline: Rebecca Foster

If so great a physicist as Richard Feynman once claimed that "nobody understands quantum mechanics," what hope do we laypeople have? Luckily, Philip Ball, a freelance writer (formerly of Nature magazine) who has published widely on the history of science, tackles the subject in a user-friendly yet thorough introduction, Beyond Weird.

Ball starts by acknowledging that it can be awfully hard to get our heads around the notions at the heart of quantum physics. It's "one of the most obscure and difficult subjects in all of science," yes, and can be "beguiling [and] maddening," but it also sparks creativity by encouraging us to rethink our usual assumptions. After all, the common interpretations of aspects of quantum theory -- things like wavea"particle duality, superposition, the uncertainty principle, and the many-worlds interpretation -- are often misleading, Ball reveals. To discover what such concepts really mean requires an open mind and a fertile imagination.

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