Book Reviews

Quantum Concepts in Physics: An Alternative Approach to the Understanding of Quantum Mechanics

Malcom Longair

Cambridge University Press, 2013; $70.00 (hardcover).

This is a beautiful book about quantum mechanics. It is divided in three parts. The first part deals with the discovery of quanta, particularly Planck black body radiation and Einstein’s quanta (known today as photons). The second section is dedicated to the old quantum theory. It presents in detail Bohr’s model of the hydrogen atom and its extensions worked out by Ehrenfest and Sommerfeld, as well as the interpretation of atomic spectra and its effects. The author closes with a discussion of the discovery of quantum mechanics, including the Schr√∂dinger and Heisenberg quantum mechanical theories, the uncertainty principle and the main interpretations of quantum mechanics.
 
The remarkable thing about this volume is that the ideas that lead to quantum mechanics are illustrated via hundreds of fragments selected from letters or scientific papers. Dozens of schematics and photos of basic experimental setups are also included. The book is written for readers at an intermediate level and should be included in any respectable physics library.
 
Review by Daniela Dragoman, University of Bucharest, Romania.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.


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