Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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

It is like High School Physics revisited with all the cool stuff that was missing in those textbooks. Manjit Kumar has done a great job tackling this otherwise overwhelming topic. It sure was the recounting of the golden era of physics with such stalwarts, some of them, less recognised, just in contrast with the Einsteins, Bohrs, Heisenbergs and Schrodingers of the world. I personally didn't even know of the existence of Pauli, whom the author has equated with Einstein in sheer intellect. The personal chemistry between those scientists, animated through the correspondences between them, the gradual timeline with non-gradual developments in physics were all very well manifested. The book weakened in the last few chapters, probably because of the complexity of the phenomenon the author was tackling with. The author, perhaps, would have been better off, if he had given a conceptual summary of the developments in the last 25 years, rather than doing such an unsatisfactory job of forcing a closure. There was nothing I gained from the author's explanation of the future efforts made on the leggett inequality or the inequality itself, other than the name itself. The book lost some of its hold on me in the aforementioned last few chapters, but the overall experience was fantastic.

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