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Quantum Physics For Dummies, Revised Edition by Steven Holzner

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Introduction

Physics as a general discipline has no limits, from the very huge (galaxy-wide) to the very small (atoms and smaller). This book is about the very small side of things — that's the specialty of quantum physics. When you quantize something, you can't go any smaller; you're dealing with discrete units.

Classical physics is terrific at explaining things like heating cups of coffee or accelerating down ramps or cars colliding, as well as a million other things, but it has problems when things get very small. Quantum physics usually deals with the micro world, such as what happens when you look at individual electrons zipping around. For example, electrons can exhibit both particle and wave-like properties, much to the consternation of experimenters — and it took quantum physics to figure out the full picture.

Quantum physics also introduced the uncertainty principle, which says you can't know a particle's exact position and momentum at the same time. And the field explains the way that the energy levels of the electrons bound in atoms work. Figuring out those ideas all took quantum physics, as physicists probed ever deeper for a way to model reality. Those topics are all coming up in this book.

About This Book

Because uncertainty and probability are so important in quantum physics, you can't fully appreciate the subject without getting into calculus. This book presents the need-to-know concepts, but you don't see much in the way of thought experiments that deal with cats ...

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