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Read more about The Adventure of Physics - Vol. IV: The Quantum of Change

The Adventure of Physics - Vol. IV: The Quantum of Change

(1 review)

Christoph Schiller

Copyright Year: 1990

ISBN 13: 9781447560371

Publisher: Motion Mountain

Language: English

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Reviewed by R. J. Wilkes, Professor, University of Washington on 8/21/16

full disclosure: i only read the first 2 chapters, at which point i determined the book would not be useful for undergraduate classes. However, the table of contents for the multivolume series certainly covers all topics in commonly used... read more

Table of Contents

  • 1 Minimum Action – Quantum Theory For Poets
  • 2 Light – The Strange Consequences Of The Quantum Of Action
  • 3 Motion Of Matter – Beyond Classical Physics
  • 4 The Quantum Description Of Matter And Its Motion
  • 5 Permutation Of Particles – Are Particles Like Gloves?
  • 6 Rotations And Statistics – Visualizing Spin
  • 7 Superpositions And Probabilities – Quantum Theory Without Ideology
  • 8 Colours And Other Interactions Between Light And Matter
  • 9 Quantum Physics In A Nutshell

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About the Book

This book is written for anybody who is curious about nature and motion. Have you ever asked: Why do people, animals, things, images and space move? The answer leads to many adventures; this volume presents those due to the discovery that there is a smallest change value in nature. This smallest change value, the quantum of action, leads to what is called quantum physics. In the structure of modern physics, quantum physics covers three points; this volume covers the introduction to the point in the lower right: the foundations of quantum theory.

The present introduction to quantum physics arose from a threefold aim I have pursued since 1990: to present the basics of motion in a way that is simple, up to date and captivating.

In order to be simple, the text focuses on concepts, while keeping mathematics to the necessary minimum. Understanding the concepts of physics is given precedence over using formulae in calculations. The whole text is within the reach of an undergraduate.

In order to be up to date, the text is enriched by the many gems – both theoretical and empirical – that are scattered throughout the scientific literature.

In order to be captivating, the text tries to startle the reader as much as possible. Read- ing a book on general physics should be like going to a magic show. We watch, we are astonished, we do not believe our eyes, we think, and finally we understand the trick. When we look at nature, we often have the same experience. Indeed, every page presents at least one surprise or provocation for the reader to think about. Numerous interesting challenges are proposed.

The motto of the text, die Menschen stärken, die Sachen klären, a famous statement by Hartmut von Hentig on pedagogy, translates as: ‘To fortify people, to clarify things.' Clarifying things – and adhering only to the truth – requires courage, as changing the habits of thought produces fear, often hidden by anger. But by overcoming our fears we grow in strength. And we experience intense and beautiful emotions. All great adventures in life allow this, and exploring motion is one of them. Enjoy it!

About the Contributors


Christoph Schiller, born in 1960, is European. Raised in Varese, he studied physics at the Universität Stuttgart and received his Ph.D. in physics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in the department of Ilya Prigogine. Christoph Schiller is an innovation manager. He is convinced that exploring and applying physics can provide as much pleasure as anything else in life - and he explains why in the present text. He started the Motion Mountain Textbook project in Yokohama in 1990, wrote most of the text in Eindhoven and is finishing it during his business trips. 

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