The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does), by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw - Book Review
The book, The Quantum Universe, by Cox and Forshaw, is about quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics (QED). It covers physics theory as well as historical background. It’s not really written for the layperson, but more for someone with a serious interest in physics. It also helps if the reader enjoys math, since this book also contains some pretty complicated formulas.
In very clear language, Cox and Forshaw give us a complete introduction to quantum theory. They deliver all important facts about this topic. The authors do a great job in explaining the counterintuitive concept of quantum physics. They come up with some amusing quotes from famous physicists regarding the fact that it’s actually really hard to understand. The book starts with the basics of quantum mechanics. Coming from there, they explain how quantum mechanics leads to the basics of atomic and particle physics and also to solid state physics. Cox and Forshaw manage to fill the quantum theory with life and excite the reader about this topic. They give many examples of applications which even play a role in everyday life. This way, the reader can see that the theory has an actual use. One really nice part of the book is the section about the transistor. They explain its inner working using quantum mechanics very well. Cox and Forshaw also write about current research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, where the scientists are chasing a new particle (the Higgs Boson), and what it has to do with the quantum theory
Later, they also apply the theory of quantum mechanics to explain what’s going on in stars. They also explain how and under which circumstances stars become black holes.
I highly recommend this book to any physicist or any physics student. Every university library should have a copy for two reasons: 1) The physicist can see a good example of how physics can be explained in a very clear way (as much as the topic allows it). 2) The physics student gets the best explanation of quantum mechanics and solid state physics that I have ever seen. However, if you are an absolute layperson regarding physics, then this book is not for you.
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