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Most of us are unaware of how much we depend on quantum mechanics on a day-to-day basis. Using illustrations and examples from science fiction pulp magazines and comic books, The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics explains the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics that underlie the world we live in.
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James Kakalios is a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1988, and where his class "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books" is a popular freshman seminar. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago, and has been reading comic books for much longer.From Booklist:
*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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