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QM books for the layperson?

  1. Aug 12, 2008 #1


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    What are some books on QM for someone who has a High School understanding of physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2008 #2


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  4. Aug 21, 2008 #3
    On Gribbin's cat book: I read it a few weeks ago. I though it was good in parts, especially on the early history of QM, the double slit experiment, and the "many world interpretation" -- which Gribbin favoured at the time of writing. But I don't think he explains the Copenhagen interpretation very well -- I guess because he never liked it! Also he goes off the deep end close to the end, by trying explain QED in a few pages. He should have left that for another book, as his intended readership can only get confused, I feel. He has a great annotated bibliography that might give you pointers to other books. I'm now reading his "kittens" book, in which he favours the "transactional" interpretation. Again he's good on the history, this time going back to Ancient Greek and medieval Arab theories of light!

    But having not been overly impressed with Gribbin's books I thought I go on a quest for the perfect 'easy' introduction to QM and its various interpretations. The two books that kept being recommended in reviews were 'The Ghost in the Atom' by Davies and 'Quantum Reality' by Nick Herbert. Nick Herbert actually recommends the former!:

    "When Australian consciousness philosopher David Chalmers was teaching a course on the physical basis of consciousness a few years ago he sent out a call to his friends to vote on the most user-friendly first book on quantum theory. My own book “Quantum Reality” was considered too technical for a naive reader. The vote went to “Ghost in the Atom” edited by Paul Davies which is a collection of BBC interviews with quantum-mechanical greats about the foundational questions prefaced by a wonderfully clear summary of QM by Paul Davies himself. I voted for GITA too. Short and snappy–a good book to whet your appetite for stronger stuff. Heinz Pagels’s “Cosmic Code” is also a fine popularization."


    Davies has just arrived through my letter box, and I'll probably get Herbert after I read it. Watch this space and I'll give my impression of Davies.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
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