Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: 'Essential Quantum Mechanics'

My review of Gary Bowman's fine conceptual overview of quantum mechanics has just been published at sciencefiction.com.

"Quantum mechanics is everywhere in science fiction but in some ways a passing familiarity with the weird phenomena can even detract from real understanding. You have to buckle down, do the hard work and study the subject thoroughly – but even this may not be enough.

You could take an undergraduate-level course in quantum mechanics (QM), be able to do the questions and even pass the exam but still have very little idea of what quantum mechanics actually means as a coherent mathematical theory. Everyone agrees that QM is hard but the hardness is not really in the difficulty of the mathematics involved; it’s rather in trying to understand how all the unfamiliar QM concepts fit together and how they connect to what we experience in the familiar classical world.

You can’t learn QM from scratch with Gary Bowman’s book. But if you are midway through such a course, or are revising for the exam, or just trying to make sense out of it afterwards, Bowman has written this book for you

Continue reading at sciencefiction.com.