The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That Made Our World

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9781400146284: The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That Made Our World
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In the pulp magazines and comics of the 1950s, it was predicted that the future would be one of gleaming utopias, with flying cars, jetpacks, and robotic personal assistants. Obviously, things didn't turn out that way. But the world we do have is actually more fantastic than the most outlandish predictions of the science fiction of the mid-twentieth century. The World Wide Web, pocket-sized computers, mobile phones, and MRI machines have changed the world in unimagined ways. In The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics, James Kakalios uses examples from comics and magazines to explain how breakthroughs in quantum mechanics led to such technologies. The book begins with an overview of speculative science fiction, beginning with Jules Verne and progressing through the space adventure comic books of the 1950s. Using the example of Dr. Manhattan from the graphic novel and film Watchmen, Kakalios explains the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and describes nuclear energy via the hilarious portrayals of radioactivity and its effects in the movies and comic books of the 1950s. Finally, he shows how future breakthroughs will make possible ever more advanced medical diagnostic devices-and perhaps even power stations on the moon that can beam their power to Earth.

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About the Author:

James Kakalios is a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota and the author of The Physics of Superheroes, which was named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover magazine.

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*Starred Review* In revolutionizing modern science, Erwin Schrödinger and Werner Heisenberg somehow neglected the exciting plots and images of science fiction and comic books. Not to worry. Kakalios has now remedied that curious lapse. Indeed, Kakalios sees kindred kinds of imaginative daring in the appearance of the first science-fiction pulp magazine in the same year (1926) that Schrödinger and Heisenberg published their paradigm-shaping discoveries. This improbable connection between abstruse science and popular culture brings Buck Rogers, Dr. Manhattan (of the Watchmen), Dick Tracy, and—yes—even Dagwood into a no-tears foray into the theoretical physics that opened the world of lasers, laptop computers, DVDs, and cell phones. Though the book does not quite live up to the subtitle’s promise of a “math-free” text, readers need no more than basic algebra to accompany comic-book heroes into well-illustrated explanations of quantum packets of light energy, of the wave functions of particles, and even of the angular spin inherent in both energy and matter. These basic principles illuminate the solid-state physics of semiconductors, the atomic magnetism of MRIs, and the nanotechnology of high-capacity storage batteries. And all of this conceptual heavy lifting comes with entertaining episodes from DC Comics and H. G. Wells’ fiction. Physics has never been more fun! --Bryce Christensen

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Kakalios, James
Published by Tantor Media Inc (2010)
ISBN 10: 1400146283 ISBN 13: 9781400146284
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Revaluation Books
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Book Description Tantor Media Inc, 2010. Compact Disc. Condition: Brand New. unabridged edition. 6.75x7.00x1.00 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # zk1400146283

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