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GEB2001 Exploration of the Quantum World: Home

Course Description

Quantum theory has revolutionized our world through the inventions and applications of lasers, LED, microprocessors based on transistors, MRI, electron microscopy and so on. This course is designed to broaden students' perspectives on the frontier science and technology in physics. It introduces students to the fundamental concepts, principles, discoveries and methods of quantum theory without emphasizing on complicated mathematics. Students will learn concepts of quantization, wave-particle duality, entanglement, teleportation, and the applications of quantum theory in the real world.

Recommended Books

Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction

This volume on Quantum Theory starts with old quantum theory, the first hints of the wave/particle duality of light discovered by Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and other great physicists in the early twentieth century. It then moves to the discoveries in 1920s, including Hiesenberg’s uncertainty principle, the probabilistic nature of quantum theory and super position. Polkinghorne reveals the controversies and confusions these discoveries wrought and the ongoing conundrums still unresolved today. Polkinghorne intends to reach the general readers with this book, and thus he presents central ideas entirely without mathematics. Nevertheless, if you are interested in the technical details, you can find them I the appendices.


QC173.98 K86 2012


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

This book focuses 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. In 1900, Max Planck discovered that electromagnetic radiation and the energy of light are transmitted not in a continuous flow but in small packets called "quanta" (singular, quantum). Bohr applied the idea of quantum to electrons, leading to the development of quantum mechanics. Einstein rejected Bohr's theory overturning reality in dangerous but also thrilling ways. The clash culminated at the 1927 Solway conference and lasted for their whole life.

The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

This book on quantum physics and relativity is good for people who have no mathematical or scientific background. Zukav learned the term Wu Li from his Taiwanese friend, meaning patterns of organic energy, and he employed metaphors from Eastern spiritual movements, such as the Huayan school of Buddhism, which endows this book with a strong Eastern philosophical flavor. This book begins with a description of the circumstances in which Zukav was inspired to write this book as well as the debates of physics in the twentieth century. It continues with the various explanations of optical phenomena and quantum physics and heated discussions of relativity and particle physics.

Exploring Quantum Physics Through Hands-On Projects

This book intends to build an intuitive understanding of the principles behind quantum mechanics through hands-on projects and replication of the original experiments that have shaped our view of the quantum world. Basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry and calculus is required. There are eight chapters in this book, presenting experiments such as the classical understanding of light’s nature in the nineteenth century, those that produced data against the theoretical explanations of classical physics, atomic physics and radioactivity, quantization, light and material objects, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Dr. Schrödinger and his cat, the existence of entanglement. This book also provides insight into historical and conceptual background of each subject.

The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-free Exploration of the Science that Made Our World

This book is intended for non-experts interested in learning how quantum mechanics underlies many of the devices that characterize our modern lifestyle- it explains why the development of quantum physics enabled our amazing present day. While touring the history of science fiction, Kakalios describes the groundbreaking discoveries of real physicists, such as Max Planck, Miels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger, and elucidates the three deceptively simple rules of quantum mechanics. In this book, Kakalios explains the key concepts underlying quantum mechanics and shows how these ideas account for the properties of metals, insulators, and semiconductors, the study of which forms the field of solid-state physics.





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