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The New Quantum Universe, Second Edition

Book Description

Following the success of The Quantum Universe, first published in 1987, a host of exciting new discoveries have been made in the field of quantum mechanics. The New Quantum Universe provides an up-to-date and accessible introduction to the essential ideas of quantum physics, and demonstrates how it affects our everyday life. Quantum mechanics gives an understanding of not only atoms and nuclei, but also all the elements and even the stars. The book explains quantum paradoxes and the eventful life of Schroedinger's Cat, along with the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox and Bell's Inequality. It then looks ahead to the nanotechnology revolution, describing quantum cryptography, quantum computing and quantum teleportation, and ends with an account of quantum mechanics and science fiction. Using simple non-mathematical language, this book is suitable for final-year school students, science undergraduates, and anyone wishing to appreciate how physics allows the new technologies that are changing our lives.

Table of Contents

  1. Coverpage
  2. The New Quantum Universe
  3. Title page
  4. Copyright page
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Prologue
  8. Route map
  9. 1 Waves versus particles
    1. Science and experiment
    2. Light and quantum mechanics
    3. The double-slit experiment
  10. 2 Heisenberg and uncertainty
    1. Watching electrons
    2. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle
    3. Uncertainty and photography
    4. Feynman’s quantum paths
    5. Fractals: a mathematical curiosity
  11. 3 Schrödinger and matter waves
    1. De Broglie’s matter waves
    2. Schrödinger’s equation
    3. Electron and neutron optics
  12. 4 Atoms and nuclei
    1. Rutherford’s nuclear atom
    2. Quantized energy levels
    3. The hydrogen atom
    4. Wavefunctions and quantum numbers
    5. Atom traps and light
  13. 5 Quantum tunnelling
    1. Barrier penetration
    2. Wave tunnelling
    3. Applications of quantum tunnelling
    4. Nuclear physics and alpha decay
    5. Nuclear reactions and Einstein’s mass–energy relation
    6. Radioactivity, nuclear fission and the atom bomb
  14. 6 Pauli and the elements
    1. Electron spin and Pauli’s exclusion principle
    2. The elements
    3. Metals, insulators and semiconductors
    4. Transistors and microelectronics
  15. 7 Quantum co-operation and superfluids
    1. Laser light
    2. Bose condensation and superfluid helium
    3. Cold atoms
    4. Superconductivity
    5. The quantum Hall effect
  16. 8 Quantum jumps
    1. Max Born and quantum probabilities
    2. Photons and polarized light
    3. John Bell and the EPR Paradox
    4. Schrödinger’s cat
    5. The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
    6. Decoherence
  17. 9 Quantum engineering
    1. Richard Feynman and nanotechnology
    2. From Moore’s Law to quantum dots
    3. Quantum information
    4. Quantum computers
    5. Quantum teleportation and all that
  18. 10 Death of a star
    1. A failed star
    2. Hydrogen burning
    3. Red giants and white dwarfs
    4. Neutron stars and black holes
  19. 11 Feynman rules
    1. Dirac and antiparticles
    2. Feynman diagrams and virtual particles
    3. Zero-point motion and vacuum fluctuations
    4. Hawking radiation and black holes
  20. 12 Weak photons and strong glue
    1. The double-slit experiment revisited
    2. The birth of particle physics
    3. Weak photons and the Higgs vacuum
    4. Quarks and gluons
    5. Superconductors, magnetic monopoles and quark confinement
    6. Beyond the Standard Model
  21. 13 Afterword – quantum physics and science fiction
    1. Prelude: the atom and the nucleus
    2. Nuclear energy and the ‘Golden Age’ of science fiction
    3. Jonbar Points, multiple universes and Schrödinger’s Cat
    4. Nanotechnology and quantum computers
    5. A final word
  22. Epilogue
  23. Appendix 1 The size of things
  24. Appendix 2 Solving the Schrödinger equation
  25. Glossary
  26. Quotations and sources
  27. Suggestions for further reading
  28. Photo-credits
  29. Name index
  30. Subject index