The Quantum Dice  book cover
1st Edition

The Quantum Dice

ISBN 9780750302517
Published January 1, 1993 by CRC Press
256 Pages

SAVE ~ $54.00
was $270.00
USD $216.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

"Real black magic calculus" is how Albert Einstein described quantum mechanics in a letter in 1925. Quantum mechanics is now rather more widely understood by physicists, but still many "outsiders" are unaware of what quantum mechanics is, how it has changed the course of development of physics and how it affects their everyday lives. This book gives a fascinating account of the evolution of the ideas and concepts of quantum theory and modern physics, written by an "insider" but aimed specifically at the general science reader. Many anecdotes from famous past physicists give an insight into their work and personalities. The many illustrations are an important and attractive feature of the book.
Leonid Ponomarev is a leading theoretical physicist. His deep understanding of the subject is allied with his wide knowledge of history, literature and philosophy to produce this history of the development of modern physics and its impact on our lives.

Table of Contents

1. Origins - Chapter One: Atoms; Waves; Quanta; Before and after Democritus; Titus Lucretius Carus; Isaac Newton on atoms. Chapter Two: Spectra; Ions; Radiant matter; Atoms, electrons, waves; Discovery of spectral analysis; The beginnings of television; William Crookes; Kinetic theory of gases; Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov. Chapter Three: The planetary atom; Spectral series; Photons; Victory of atomistics; The indivisible atom; The diffraction grating; Just what hath Rutherford wrought? Light pressure; Chapter Four: Pre-Bohr times; The Bohr atom; Post-Bohr times; Formal model of the atom; Niels Henrik David Bohr; Experimental proof of Bohr's postulates. Chapter Five: Teachings of the Ancients; First attempts; Elements and atoms; Table of elements; The Periodic law; Atoms and people. 2. Ideas - Chapter Six: Contemporaries comment on Bohr's theory; Phenomenon, image, concept, formula; Heisenberg's matrix mechanics; The foundation of physics. Chapter Seven: Louis de Broglie; Matter waves; Optical-mechanical analogy; Schrodinger's wave mechanics; The life of Boscovich ... ... and his atom; Paul Ehrenfest (1880-1933). Chapter Eight: Schrodinger's equation; The meaning of the psi function; The image of the atom; Quantum truth; Compton's experiment; Electron diffraction. Chapter Nine: Wave-particle duality; Uncertainty relation; Complementarity principle; Duality and uncertainty; Poets and the complementarity principle. Chapter Ten: Heads or tails and target shooting; Electron diffraction; Probability waves; Electron waves; The atom and probability; Probability and atomic spectra; Causality and chance, probability and certainty; People, events, quanta. Chapter Eleven - What is an atom? What is quantum mechanics?; Physical reality; In search of the last concepts. 3. Results - Chapter Twelve: Wilhelm Konrad Rontgen; Antoine Henri Becquerel; Pierre and Marie Curie; Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy; The energy of radium; X-ray waves. Chapter Thirteen: The chemisty of radioelements; Isotopes; uranium family; Stable isotopes; Radioactive decay energy; Nuclear binding energy; Uranium; Earth and radium; Knights of the fifth decimal place. Chapter Fourteen: Probing into the nucleus; The neutron; Artificial radioactivity; Slow neutrons; Nuclear fission; Letters about fission. Chapter Fifteen: Tunnel effect; Effective cross-sections of reactions; Neutron cross-sections; Nuclear fission; Labelled atoms; Radiocarbon dating. Chapter Sixteen: Chain reaction; Nuclear reactor; Spontaneous fission of uranium; The natural nuclear reactor at Oklo. Chapter Seventeen: Atomic Energy; Plutonium; The atomic bomb; The atomic problem; A chronology of the atomic era; Soddy on atomic energy. Chapter Eighteen: Solar light; Crucibles of elements; The fate of the Sun; The Sun, life and chlorophyll; Life under the Sun; A sun on earth; Quanta around us. 4. Reflections - Chapter Nineteen: Inception of the scientific method; Essence of the scientific method and its development. Truth and completeness of the scientific picture of the world. Science and humanity; Boundaries of the scientific method; Science and art; Future of science; Epilogue.

View More