The Infamous Boundary: Seven Decades of Controversy in Quantum Physics

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9780817637859: The Infamous Boundary: Seven Decades of Controversy in Quantum Physics
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reprinted in the British trade journal Physics World in 1990, three separate and 5 lengthy replies from establishment physicists were printed in subsequent issues. For outsiders, especially scientists who rely on physicist's theories in their own fields, this situation is disquieting. Moreover, many recall their introduction to quantum mechanics as a startling, if not shocking, experience. A molecular biologist related how he had started in theoretical physics but, after hearing the ideology of quantum mechanics, marched straight to the Reg­ istrar's office and switched fields. A colleague recalled how her undergraduate chemistry professor religiously entertained queries from the class - until one day he began with the words: "No questions will be permitted on today's lecture." The topic, of course, was quantum mechanics. My father, an organic chemist at a Midwestern university, also had to give that dreaded annual lecture. Around age 16, I picked up a little book he used to prepare and was perplexed by the author's tone, which seemed apologetic to the point of pleading. It was my first brush with the quantum theory. 6 Eventually, I went to graduate school in physics. By then I had acquired an historical bent, which developed out of an episode in my freshman year in college. To relieve the tedium of the introductory physics course, I set out to understand Einstein's theory of relativity (the so-called Special Theory of 1905, not the later and more difficult General Theory of 1915). This went badly at first.

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About the Author:

David Wick has held academic positions at Princeton University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently works as a statistics consultant in biomedicine.

From Library Journal:

This work starts with the development of quantum theory, which the author refers to as the history of an intellectual struggle, and leads up to the controversies surrounding it. In order to provide the complete picture, Wick, a mathematician by training, presents a brief biography and a synopsis of the philosophy of various scientists as they feature in this history. Wick keeps the equations to a minimum, writing in lay readers' terms, but includes a 52-page mathematical appendix by William G. Faris entitled "Probability in Quantum Mechanics." Extensive notes and references are included as well. Though it is very readable, this book is still complicated because of its technical subject matter, which gears it toward scientists and interested lay readers. Recommended for all science libraries with physics and mathematics collections.?Jayashri Nagaraja, Engineering Lib., Princeton Univ., N.J.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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