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Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality (2008)

by Manjit Kumar

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8872224,306 (4.02)1 / 39
Describes the conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science as the author discusses quantum theory -- "an idea that ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century."

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English (20)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Good title anyway. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Excellent history of the development of Quantum Mechanics. Suitable for the general reader with an interest in the subject; not technical. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
Riveting account of the development of quantum theory and quantum mechanics from Planck to the question of uncertainty vs. absolute reality raised by the Copenhagen Interpretation and the fundamental opposition to it's view of the probabilistic nature of the subatomic world raised by Einstein and Schrödinger. ( )
  mulderg | Sep 29, 2020 |
Great history of science. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
I really liked this book, but it's probably not a good book for most people. While it starts out with roughly high-school level physics being discussed, the later portions aren't quite as simple so that likely limits the potential audience. All that said, it takes its time building up to the fundamental debate between Bohr and Einstein on Quantum Mechanics and I think it does a pretty good job in presenting both sides.

It's a very well written book on the history of an important field in science. Aside from the fact that it can get somewhat technical at times based upon the nature of the topic, I wish the author had covered the biographies of some of the people a bit better. In the early portions, he covers the biographies of the most important people very well, but the quality and depth of the bios drops considerably as he progresses through the book. Even some people who are presented as important people have somewhat sparse bios. That said, it's a minor point and I'd recommend this to people interested in science history.

I listened to the audio version and while the narrator did an excellent job, I think portions of the book (not large ones, but certainly parts of it) aren't well suited to audio form. I'm very interested to re-read it in print, though to understand these parts better. ( )
  tjl | Jan 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Kumar writes a conventional narrative history, focusing on the long-running debate between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, which took place from the mid-1920s through to the mid-1950s, over the adequacy of the quantum theory as a framework for fundamental physics.
added by jlelliott | editNature, Don Howard (pay site) (Dec 11, 2008)
Manjit Kumar's book is an exhaustive and brilliant account of decades of emotionally charged discovery and argument, friendship and rivalry spanning two world wars. In what also has to operate as a kind of group biography of Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Dirac et al, the quasi-novelistic character sketches occasionally have a comic quality ("The son of a tax collector, Ludwig Boltzmann was short and stout with an impressive late 19th-century beard"); but the real meat of the book is the explanations of science and philosophical interpretation, which are pitched with an ideal clarity for the general reader. Perhaps most interestingly, although the author is admirably even-handed, it is difficult not to think of Quantum, by the end, as a resounding rehabilitation of Albert Einstein.
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Describes the conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science as the author discusses quantum theory -- "an idea that ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century."

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