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

Author(s): Kenneth W. Ford


Ken Ford's mission is to help us understand the "great ideas" of quantum physics--ideas such as wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, superposition, and conservation. These fundamental concepts provide the structure for 101 Quantum Questions, an authoritative yet engaging book for the general reader in which every question and answer brings out one or more basic features of the mysterious world of the quantum--the physics of the very small. Nuclear researcher and master teacher, Ford covers everything from quarks, quantum jumps, and what causes stars to shine, to practical applications ranging from lasers and superconductors to light-emitting diodes. Ford's lively answers are enriched by Paul Hewitt's drawings, numerous photos of physicists, and anecdotes, many from Ford's own experience. Organized for cover-to-cover reading, 101 Quantum Questions also is great for browsing. Some books focus on a single subject such as the standard model of particles, or string theory, or fusion energy. This book touches all those topics and more, showing us that disparate natural phenomena, as well as a host of manmade inventions, can be understood in terms of a few key ideas.
Yet Ford does not give us simplistic explanations. He assumes a serious reader wanting to gain real understanding of the essentials of quantum physics. Ken Ford's other books include The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone (Harvard 2004), which Esquire magazine recommended as the best way to gain an understanding of quantum physics. Ford's new book, a sequel to the earlier one, makes the quantum world even more accessible.


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In this entertaining and comprehensive overview, Ford, former director of the American Institute of Physics, manages to encapsulate modern physics while illuminating rather than befuddling the lay reader...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. Publishers Weekly (starred review) 20110207 Kenneth Ford's question-and-answer-style guide to the weirdness of the quantum realm is a clear and handy reference. Ford's easy-going prose will help you feel right at home at nature's tiniest and most counterintuitive scale. -- Amanda Gefter New Scientist 20110312 Among the slew of books published in the last several decades aiming to explain modern physics to the public, this work is surely one of the best. -- Jack W. Weigel Library Journal (starred review) 20110315 This work provides the means for a lay reader to gain a basic understanding of much of the technical language and jargon that filters into popular accounts of quantum physics. -- D. B. Moss Choice 20110901

Kenneth W. Ford, retired director of the American Institute of Physics, has taught at university and high-school levels. His books include The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone and a memoir, In Love with Flying.

General Fields

  • : 9780674066076
  • : Harvard University Press
  • : Harvard University Press
  • : September 2012
  • : 216mm X 155mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Kenneth W. Ford
  • : Paperback
  • : Paul Hewitt
  • : 530.12
  • : 304
  • : 39 halftones, 64 line illustrations, 9 tables