Cover: 101 Quantum Questions: What You Need to Know About the World You Can't See, from Harvard University PressCover: 101 Quantum Questions in PAPERBACK

101 Quantum Questions

What You Need to Know About the World You Can't See

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Product Details


$20.50 • £16.95 • €18.50

ISBN 9780674066076

Publication Date: 10/22/2012


304 pages

6-1/8 x 8-1/2 inches

39 halftones, 64 line illustrations, 9 tables


  • Introduction
  • I. The Subatomic World
    • 1. What is a quantum, anyway?
    • 2. Where do the laws of quantum physics hold sway?
    • 3. What is the correspondence principle?
    • 4. How big is an atom?
    • 5. What is inside an atom?
    • 6. Why is solid matter solid if it is mostly empty space?
    • 7. How big is an electron? Is there anything inside it?
  • II. Digging Deeper
    • 8. How big is a nucleus? What is inside it?
    • 9. How big are protons and neutrons? What is inside them?
    • 10. What is Planck’s constant and what is its significance?
    • 11. What is a photon?
    • 12. What is the photoelectric effect?
    • 13. What particles are believed to be fundamental? What particles are composite?
    • 14. What is the standard model?
  • III. The Small and the Swift
    • 15. What are some quantum scales of distance?
    • 16. How far can one particle “reach out” to influence another one?
    • 17. How fast do particles move?
    • 18. What are some quantum scales of time?
    • 19. What is the meaning of E = mc2?
    • 20. What is electric charge?
    • 21. What is spin?
  • IV. Quantum Lumps and Quantum Jumps
    • 22. What are some things that are lumpy (and some that are not)?
    • 23. What is a “state of motion”?
    • 24. Is a hydrogen atom in an excited state of motion the same atom in a different state or is it a different atom?
    • 25. What are quantum numbers? What are the rules for combining them?
    • 26. What is a quantum jump?
    • 27. What is the role of probability in quantum physics?
    • 28. Is there any certainty in the quantum world?
  • V. Atoms and Nuclei
    • 29. What is a line spectrum? What does it reveal about atoms?
    • 30. Why is the chart of the elements periodic?
    • 31. Why are heavy atoms nearly the same size as lightweight atoms?
    • 32. How do protons and neutrons move within a nucleus?
    • 33. What are atomic number and atomic mass?
  • VI. And More about Nuclei
    • 34. Why does the periodic table end?
    • 35. What is radioactivity? What are its forms?
    • 36. Why is the neutron stable within a nucleus but unstable when alone?
    • 37. What is nuclear fission? Why does it release energy?
    • 38. What about nuclear fusion?
  • VII. Particles
    • 39. What is a lepton? What are its flavors?
    • 40. How many distinct neutrinos are there? How do we know?
    • 41. Do neutrinos have mass? Why do they “oscillate”?
    • 42. Are there really only three generations of particles?
    • 43. How do we know that all electrons are identical?
  • VIII. And More Particles
    • 44. Names, names, names. What do they all mean?
    • 45. What are the properties of quarks? How do they combine?
    • 46. What are the composite particles? How many are there?
    • 47. Does every particle have to be a fermion or a boson? What sets these two classes apart?
    • 48. What is a Bose–Einstein condensate?
    • 49. How did bosons and fermions get their names?
  • IX. Interactions
    • 50. What is a Feynman diagram?
    • 51. What are the essential features of Feynman diagrams?
    • 52. How do Feynman diagrams illustrate the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions?
    • 53. Which particles are stable? Which are unstable? What does it mean to say that a particle decays?
    • 54. What is scattering?
    • 55. What is the same before and after a scattering or a decay?
    • 56. What changes during a scattering or decay?
  • X. Constancy during Change
    • 57. What are the “big four” absolute conservation laws?
    • 58. What additional absolute conservation laws operate in the quantum world?
    • 59. What is the TCP theorem?
    • 60. What conservation laws are only “partial”?
    • 61. What symmetry principles are only “partial”?
    • 62. What are laws of compulsion and of prohibition?
    • 63. How are the concepts of symmetry, invariance, and conservation related?
  • XI. Waves and Particles
    • 64. What do waves and particles have in common? How do they differ?
    • 65. What is the de Broglie equation? What is its significance?
    • 66. How are waves related to quantum lumps?
    • 67. How do waves relate to the size of atoms?
    • 68. What is diffraction? What is interference?
    • 69. What is the two-slit experiment? Why is it important?
    • 70. What is tunneling?
  • XII. Waves and Probability
    • 71. What is a wave function? What is Schrödinger’s equation?
    • 72. How do waves determine probabilities?
    • 73. How do waves prevent particles from having fixed positions?
    • 74. What is the uncertainty principle?
    • 75. How does the uncertainty principle relate to the wave nature of matter?
    • 76. What is superposition?
    • 77. Are waves necessary?
  • XIII. Quantum Physics and Technology
    • 78. How are particles pushed close to the speed of light?
    • 79. How are high–energy particles detected?
    • 80. How does a laser work?
    • 81. How do electrons behave in a metal?
    • 82. What is a semiconductor?
    • 83. What is a p–n junction? Why is it a diode?
    • 84. What are some uses of diodes?
    • 85. What is a transistor?
  • XIV. Quantum Physics at Every Scale
    • 86. Why do black holes evaporate?
    • 87. How does quantum physics operate in the center of the Sun?
    • 88. What is superconductivity?
    • 89. What is superfluidity?
    • 90. What is a Josephson junction?
    • 91. What is a quantum dot?
    • 92. What is a quark–gluon plasma?
    • 93. What is the Planck length? What is quantum foam?
  • XV. Frontiers and Puzzles
    • 94. Why are physicists in love with the number 137?
    • 95. What is entanglement?
    • 96. What is Bell’s in equality?
    • 97. What is a qubit? What is quantum computing?
    • 98. What is the Higgs particle? Why is it important?
    • 99. What is string theory?
    • 100. What is the “measurement problem”?
    • 101. How come the quantum?
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

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