101 Quantum Questions: What You Need to Know About the World You Can't See

Kenneth W. Ford, Harvard Univ., $24.95 (326p) ISBN 978-0-674-05099-0
In this entertaining and comprehensive overview, Ford (coauthor of The Quantum World), former director of the American Institute of Physics, manages to encapsulate modern physics while illuminating rather than befuddling the lay reader. Starting with the introductory "What is the quantum, anyway?" and ending with the amusingly unanswerable "How come the quantum?" (asked by his mentor, who attempted to answer the question by writing a poem that ends, How could we have been so stupid / for so long?) Ford explains the essential concepts of quantum reality, our small-fast world, full of uncertainty and probability, where all matter can exist in more than one state simultaneously. Ford brings interesting and entertaining anecdotal and historical material into his answers, organizing and shaping his book around 15 subjects. By using humor and straight talk to answer questions that often bedevil the non-scientist who attempts to grasp this knotty subject, Ford has created an entertaining read and an excellent companion piece to more detailed popular treatments of modern physics. 104 illustrations, nine tables, two appendices. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/07/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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