Physics is a complex, even daunting topic, but it is also deeply satisfying—even thrilling. And liberated from its mathematical underpinnings, physics suddenly becomes accessible to anyone with the curiosity and imagination to explore its beauty. Science without math? It’s not that unusual. For example, we can understand the concept of gravity without solving a single equation. So for all those who may have pondered what makes blueberries blue and strawberries red; for those who have wondered if sound really travels in waves; and why light behaves so differently from any other phenomenon in the universe, it’s all a matter of quantum physics.
Absolutely Small presents (and demystifies) the world of quantum science like no book before. It explores scientific concepts—from particles of light, to probability, to states of matter, to what makes greenhouse gases bad—in considerable depth, but using examples from the everyday world.
Challenging without being intimidating, accessible but not condescending, Absolutely Small develops the reader’s intuition for the very nature of things at their most basic and intriguing levels.
IF YOU ARE READING THIS, you probably fall into one of two broad categories of people. You may be one of my colleagues who is steeped in the mysteries of quantum theory and wants to see how someone writes a serious book on quantum theory with no math. Or, you may be one of the vast majority of people who look at the world around them without a clear view of why many things in everyday life are the way they are. These many things are not insignificant aspects of our environment that might be overlooked. Rather, they are important features of the world that are never explicated because they are seemingly beyond comprehension. What gives materials color, why does copper wire conduct electricity but glass doesn’t, what is a trans fat anyway, and why is carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas while oxygen and nitrogen aren’t? This lack of a picture of how things work arises from a seemingly insurmountable barrier to understanding. Usually that barrier is mathematics. To answer the questions posed above—and many more—requires an understanding of quantum theory, but it actually doesn’t require mathematics.
Michael D. Fayer, Ph.D.
Michael D. Fayer, Ph.D., is the David Mulvane Ehrsam and Edward Curtis Franklin Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has won major prizes and honors in the fields of physics, chemistry, and molecular spectroscopy, and is the author of Elements of Quantum Mechanics.
Личен сайт: http://www.stanford.edu/group/fayer/