Quantum Mechanics Made Easy?

By Sean Carroll | September 28, 2006 2:48 am

I was recently asked to recommend a good popular-level book on quantum mechanics. I don’t think I know of any, at least not first hand. We had a whole thread on the Greatest Popular Science Book, filled with good suggestions, but none specifically about quantum mechanics. A quick glance through amazon.com reveals plenty of books on particle physics, or even specific notions like quantum computing, but not one book that I could recommend in good conscience to someone who just wants to know what quantum mechanics is all about. It is the greatest intellectual achievement of the twentieth century, after all.

There are some books that either come close, or might very well be perfect but I’m not familiar with them. In the latter category we have The Quantum World by Ken Ford, and David Lindley’s Where Does the Weirdness Go? These might be great, I just haven’t read them. I’m sure that the Mr. Tompkins books by George Gamow are good, since I love One, Two, Three… Infinity (and Gamow was a genius), but I haven’t actually read them. Feynman’s QED is another classic, but focuses more on quantum electrodynamics (duh) than on QM more generally. David Deutsch’s The Fabric of Reality is a fantastic book, especially if you are curious about the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics; but I’m not sure if it’s the best first introduction (I haven’t looked at it closely in years). And David Albert’s Quantum Mechanics and Experience is great for a careful philosophical account of what QM is all about, but again maybe not the best first exposure.

Any suggestions? Not for a good book that is related to quantum mechanics or perhaps mentions it in a chapter or two, but for something whose major goal is to provide a clear account of QM. Surely there is something?


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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


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