'Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality' is a science history book written by Manjit Kumar. Quantum was at one point shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2009.
Over decades, this famous debate was ongoing between Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr. One occasion in particular was in 1927 at the Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons. Here, the most prominent physicists gathered to dissect the new theory of quantum physics. The readers of this book are in for a treat, as the lives of the pioneers of quantum physics and their work are related and presented to us with a thrilling overview of the landscape that science was in during physics' golden age. We hear narration of the lives of Neils Bohr, Albert Einstein, Planck, Rutherford, and Schrodinger, among others.
Quantum theory is readily acknowledged as bizarre and it sparked what some say is the greatest intellectual debate of the 20th century.
If a reader is curious about quantum theory but wants to bypass the complex math, this is the book for them. This is a hearty and thorough telling full of colorful characters and insightful commentary. We are reminded of the time when science made us think the universe was inside out.
Manjit Kumar founded Prometheus, an arts-and-sciences journal. He has written and reviewed for various publications, including the Guardian, and is a consulting science editor at Wired UK. He lives in London.
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Quantum theory is weird. As Niels Bohr said, if you aren’t shocked by quantum theory, you don’t really understand it. For most people, quantum theory is synonymous with mysterious, impenetrable science. And in fact for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly written account of this fundamental scientific revolution, focusing on the central conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. This revelatory book takes a close look at the golden age of physics, the brilliant young minds at its core, and how an idea ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century.