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Beginners guide to Quantam Mechanics?

  1. Nov 17, 2009 #1
    Hi folks,

    I watched a program on TV tonight that brushed the surface of Quantum Mechanics (with a UK comedian asking "How long is a piece of string") and.. to be honest... it facinated me.

    I "need" to find a book that will tell me more about the subject but, in a manner that I would be able to understand (not being a scientist or anything like it)

    So to my question.. Are there any "Entry level" books that a non scientific person could read more on this subject?

    Sorry for such a "noob" question but... I've only just found out about the subject and it intrigues me.

    Thanks in advance.

    Darlington (North East England)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2009 #2
    Re: Beginners guide to Quantum Mechanics?

    And yes.. I spelt "Quantum" incorrectly (in the title of my post) on purpose. KIlled the chances of getting an answer to be honest.

    /me shuffles off to my usual home of car forum(s) / WOW / AION ..In disgrace. heh

  4. Nov 17, 2009 #3
    There are plenty of layman-level books on quantum theory. The one that comes to mind first is "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" by John Gribbin. It covers a lot of the history behind the development of quantum theory, gives a great description of the basic concepts, and shows some of the strange implications of quantum mechanics (i.e. Schrodinger's cat). There are thousands of books on it, but this is the best one I could think of off the top of my head.
  5. Nov 17, 2009 #4
    Thank you pzona,

    The Cat (dead or alive) was in the show I watched so... you get my angle. :cool:

    Thanks "A LOT" for your reply... I shall buy your suggested publication.

    Cheers pzona, Good fun this Physics lark. ;)
  6. Nov 17, 2009 #5
    Re: Beginners guide to Quantum Mechanics?


    In Search of Schrodinger's Cat (Book) on it's way from Amazon @ £6.46

    Thanks A LOT for your help.

    Lee. ;)
  7. Nov 17, 2009 #6
    Re: Beginners guide to Quantum Mechanics?

    Would you suggest...

    "Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality"

    As my next book? :smile:
  8. Nov 17, 2009 #7

    "Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries"

    Two books (now) on their way...

    I'm going to be a Quantum Mechanic! lol

    ; )
  9. Nov 18, 2009 #8
    If you can handle a little math you might try:

    Quantum Mechanics (Student Physics Series) by Paul Davies (Paperback - Sep 1988) ISBN-10: 0710099622
    11 Used & new from $1.31 (Amazon used books)

    Your prices may be higher.

    Editorial Reviews

    I do not know of anyone who has put the essence of quantum mechanics more clearly, more understandable, more soundly, and more compactly than Professor Davis.
    -Professor J.A. Wheeler, University of Texas at Austin

    …a very useful, readable, and relatively inexpensive technical introduction to the subject.
    -Roger Penrose, This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
  10. Nov 18, 2009 #9
    Just for fun, try Mike Towler's "http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~mdt26/PWT/towler_pilot_waves.pdf" [Broken]"

    Despite the wacko title this is, as far as I know, a perfectly legitimate essay, and it teaches you to take some statements you might read in the other references you've been given with a pinch of salt..
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Nov 18, 2009 #10
    I'm OK at maths so... another to add to my list..

    Thanks Spinnor. :D
  12. Nov 18, 2009 #11
    Re: Beginners guide to Quantum Mechanics?

    My WORD! What a catchy title! lol.

    This Quantum Mechanics lark seems to be a contested area amongst the scientific big boys.

    Thanks Zenith... I willl also catch this title.

    Nice one.

    Lee. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Nov 18, 2009 #12


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    There is a lot of good (and neutral) material in this, but it is only fair to disclose that it was primarily intended to advance the ideas of Bohmian interpretations. I cannot say I disagree with it per se, as it does acknowledge that this perspective is a minority view.

    EMC: I don't think a discussion of interpretations of quantum mechanics (Bohmian, MWI, Copenhagen, etc) is important for you yet. The question of interpretations is NOT a disagreement about quantum mechanics per se, but is rather more trying to ask the question: "What is really going on beneath the surface?" You will find that discussion moves into the realm of the philosophical quite rapidly, and there are some with very intense feelings about it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Nov 18, 2009 #13


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    Re: Beginners guide to Quantum Mechanics?

    By the way, wecome to PhysicsForums!
  15. Nov 19, 2009 #14
    Dr. Chinese, we love you, but the amount of grey hair in your photograph seems to indicate that you are an old person, and are therefore used to 'warning' people whenever someone mentions the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation. In the 21st century, the question of interpretation is completely up in the air. Let people use whatever viewpoint they see fit. As you say, Towler fully acknowledges what his slides are about and puts them in the appropriate context. It's getting really silly when interpretations that are meant to prevent the asking of conceptual questions (Copenhagen, or whatever) are automatically assumed to be the default whenever someone asks a conceptual question on these forums.. It's hardly worth pointing out that de Broglie-Bohm is actually capable of answering conceptual questions, and most of the others aren't. People who talk about it don't deserve pigeonholing as a bunch of desperate guys vainly trying to advance propaganda..

    Why don't you warn people that 'In Search of Schroedinger's Cat' is all about the Copenhagen interpretation, or that 'Schroedinger's Kittens' is all about the transactional interpretation..?

    Towler says in his slides that when he goes to conferences on quantum foundations, the talk is largely about de Broglie-Bohm and quantum Bayesianism.. The last time a poll was held on this forum, de Broglie-Bohm was voted the most popular. It is no longer a 'minority viewpoint'.

    21st Century, man..
  16. Nov 19, 2009 #15


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    Ha you are so right... my gray hair is not premature, it is a sign of age... :cry:

    I ONLY reference interpretation when it is provided to folks who have no understanding of interpreations and their significance. In other words, I would say the same thing if someone pushed to a newbie an article whose thrust was actually MWI.

    The fact is, standard/orthodox QM is essentially silent on most interpretational issues. And yes, silence is a position too. But there is no current evidence which selects one interpretation over another, and so I think that standard techniques should be followed until someone gets far enough to understand the reason to select one over another. I could care less what they decide.

    I do not push one interpretation over another and if you follow my posts you will see I am always fair to every interpretation. I read extensively on all of them, including a lot of material yesterday about dBB in the new 1927 Solvay book (separate thread). And I just saw Everitt's 1957 thesis last week. I have always been aware of the Bohmian interpretation (through Bell's original paper); although I have only recently been trying to learn more details and get my head around the full implications.

    But in all honesty, there are folks here who fail to disclose their bias when helping others. I generally steer folks to the middle ground, but that is not because my sympathies lie there. When I have a bias, I have no difficulty disclosing it. If others won't do that too, I reserve the right to comment. And I mean that nicely. :smile:
  17. Nov 19, 2009 #16


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    by King Crimson

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    At paranoia's poison door.
    Twenty first century schizoid man.

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    Nothing he's got he really needs
    Twenty first century schizoid man.
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