Book review: Quantum Physics For Dummies

QuantumI particularly dislike the whole idea of the “For Dummies” series of books, so it was with some reluctance that I checked out Quantum Physics For Dummies from my local library. However, there appears to be quite a wide spectrum of “dummies”, because I only got to page 36 in this volume before my head threatened to explode with the matrix math presented therein. If I had read all of the squib for this book (and not just the first paragraph) I might have been a bit less eager to tackle it.

The author does present things very well, and you get a quick review of the major theories that led to quantum physics around 1900. I was actually able to (finally) understand what the photoelectric effect was, and why Einstein made such a splash when he explained it. In the first 20 pages of the book the author mentions the theories proposed by Wien, Raleigh-Jeans , Planck, Einstein, Compton, Dirac,de Broglie, and Heisenberg. (I should have stopped at that point.)

If you are taking a college-level physics course and like doing calculus in your spare time, this is the book for you. I am returning this book and am going to try my luck with The Quantum World. One of the online reviews for it states:

Ford’s subtitle states that his book is for “everyone,” and this is a case where the author delivers on his promise. This reviewer has read many books that claim to be introductions to quantum mechanics for the general reader but that are too complicated and lack the kinds of explanations that help the uninitiated appreciate the subject.

Sounds right for me!

2 thoughts on “Book review: Quantum Physics For Dummies

  • 2010-04-17 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting review…are you sure you are not still reading the first book in a parallel universe?

  • 2010-04-17 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Mike! I think I both read and did not read the book in this universe but the two states are quantum entangled. Still only 1/2 way through the “easier” one.

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