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Feeling lost in the world of quantum physics? It has been said that only a few human brains on the planet truly understand the bizarre world on the quantum scale. It is true that it involves a fair amount of “mathiness” to even grasp much more than the basic predictions of quantum physics.
Are physicists making this all up? Nope, and nothing short of our modern technological world relies on the predictions of quantum physics being true. Now, you can arm yourself with knowledge of all things quantum by reading Quantum Fuzz: The Strange Makeup of Everything Around Us by Michael S. Walker, out now from Prometheus Books. Quantum Fuzz takes you through the world of classical physics, through the birth of quantum mechanics and explores its ramifications in the modern technological world and our understanding of the very fabric of the Universe itself, and where the forefront of modern physics may be headed.
Designed as a course textbook, we found Quantum Fuzz to a very readable study on modern physics.
History of the Quantum
The arcane world of quantum physics sprang from the end of the classical Newtonian physics era of the early 20th century. Famous slit experiments showed that something truly strange was going on with the nature of light, something that could only be explained by both the wave and particle theory of light transmission. Stranger still, the very act of observation seemed to be determining the outcome of the experiment (!).
Implications: The book also makes a deep dive in to the predictions and implications of quantum physics, and the limitations it puts on what we can know about things on the subatomic level. I’d advise the reader to take the book in slowly (like say, a chapter a day) to really grasp what’s going on. To me, one of the most interesting facets of quantum physics it what it says about the nature of each element and their place on the periodic table. It’s amazing to me still that humans figured this stuff out at all, a periodic table we can now photocopy and hand out students.
Applications: The book also explores the current and future applications for quantum physics. The advent of the diode is one of the most famous, an electronic valve of sorts that makes modern technology possible. Next up, look for quantum computing and quantum encryption on the technological horizon.
The book also tackles one of the very weirdest facets of the world of the quantum: quantum entanglement. This is a real and experimentally proven phenomenon. Just how can two particles behave in unison, even if they’re light years apart? Clearly, there’s some key underpinning in the quantum world we’ve yet to discover… now, if we could ever manage to exploit quantum entanglement to instantaneously send information (or even people, like teleporters in Star Trek), now that’d make for a cool phone App!
Be sure to check out Quantum Fuzz for a fascinating exploration into modern physics.