The Quantum Revolution: A Historical Perspective (Greenwood by Kent A. Peacock

By Kent A. Peacock

Quantum mechanics is among the nice luck tales of contemporary physics, making experience of the very small simply as Einstein's conception of relativity made feel of the very huge. yet, for many scholars, the information that make quantum mechanics strong should be complicated and counterintuitive. This quantity within the Greenwood publications to nice principles in technological know-how sequence presents a background of quantum mechanics from the early breakthroughs of Planck and Einstein, initially of the twentieth century, to the current frontiers of quantum computing and quantum gravity. The process is totally non-technical, and is geared toward the final reader who won't have a lot mathematical heritage yet who has a powerful interest approximately the most very important advancements in smooth science.

Quantum Mechanics: A old Perspective strains the background of this strong idea, including:

; The early discoveries via Max Planck and Albert Einstein concerning the quantization of radiation

; The early quantum thought, together with Neils Bohr's conception of the atom

; The delivery of recent quantum mechanics in the course of the paintings of Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Born, Dirac and others

; purposes of quantum mechanics in chemistry, nuclear physics, electronics, and plenty of different areas

; fresh paintings in quantum computation and quantum info theory

The e-book emphasizes the truth that regardless of the nice good fortune of quantum mechanics, many fascinating highbrow frontiers stay open for additional researchers to discover. It incorporates a thesaurus, a timeline, and a bibliography of available assets for extra research.

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Extra info for The Quantum Revolution: A Historical Perspective (Greenwood Guides to Great Ideas in Science)

Sample text

As Einstein himself once noted, his theory could more accurately be termed the theory of invariants, because its main aim is to distinguish those quantities that are relative (such as lengths and times) from those that are not (such as proper times and rest masses). An important example of an invariant is elapsed proper time, which is the accumulated local time recorded by an observer on the watch he carries with him. The elapsed proper time of a moving person or particle determines the rate at which the person or particle ages, but it is path dependent, meaning that its value depends upon the particular trajectory that the person or particle has taken through spacetime.

Just as Planck and Einstein were about to learn that electromagnetic energy comes in discrete quanta, Thomson had shown that electricity—at least, negatively charged electricity—also occurs only in chunks of a definite size. The charge of the electron is now taken as the basic unit of electrical charge, and the electron became the first of the hundreds of so-called “elementary” particles that were to be identified. But we have to be careful when we say that Thomson discovered the electron. Physicists do not discover particles the way that archeologists discover the long-lost tombs of Egyptian pharaohs.

The wave theory became the dominant theory of light in the nineteenth century, and the corpuscular theory was judged a historical curiosity, a rare case where the great Newton had gotten something wrong. Einstein’s brash “heuristic hypothesis” of 1905 was that Newton was correct and light is made of particles after all. To say that a hypothesis is heuristic is to say that it gets useful results but that it cannot be justified by, or may even contradict, other accepted principles. Thus it is something that we would not accept unconditionally, but rather with a grain of salt, hoping that in time we will understand the situation more completely.

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