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am 26. Juli 2000
"Understanding Quantum Theory" was the first text that we turned to in a course I took last semester, which studied the philosophical implications of quantum theories... the logic, I imagine, was that complex and counter-intuitive concepts would be more palatable in faux-comic-book form...
I'm afraid this didn't turn out to be the case, While the illustrations are fantastic -- reminiscent of ink-heavy works such as Art Spiegelman's incredible "Maus" -- the concepts are no easier to grasp. The illustrations could have been used to better ends if the authors had a better idea of what makes these concepts so hard for beginners -- diagrams, when included, might have been more artistic than flat scientific sketches, but they were just as hard to interpret. The illustrations here are used, it seems, to trick the reader into thinking the concepts are simple and straightforward. The result, however, is that you (or I, at least) end up scratching your head and reading dialogue-bubbles which don't make sense in the least until the fifth or sixth reading... and even then, are often impossible to understand without a live discussion and Q & A.
Which is not to say that this text is a failure -- put aside what it was TRYING to do, and it is still a solid outline of basic quantum theory, and a good introduction to the major figures and developments in the field. The art might not make the material more accessible, but it doesn't hurt it either -- helpful or no, the illustrations make the lessons a more entertaining challenge than straight text would ever be.
BOTTOM LINE -- it's a good outline of basic quantum theories, developments, and figures. The art makes it pleasant to look at, but no less confusing to the beginner. If you're curious about the ideas involved in a radical reinterpretation of time, space, and matter as we interact with them, this is not a bad place to start.
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am 17. Juni 2000
This was certainly a fun book to read. The illustation and simple language made the book interesting, if not completely understandable. HOWEVER, if you're looking for a comprehensive explaination of one of the most perplexing scientific schools of thought, this is not your book. It only whet my whistle before I read "Alice in Quantumland" and "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat."
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am 27. März 2000
I went through the ordeal of getting a PhD in Physics many years ago; like most students of physics, I spent a lot of time diagonalizing Hamiltonians and finding eigenvalues, and not as much time as I would have liked studying the big picture. Thus, I got a lot out of this book. It helped me "connect the dots" of the islands of knowledge I have of the more general theory. I very much like the historical approach this book takes; the history of quantum mechanics really is a great story. It is always nice to hear that the guys that invented this stuff had trouble understanding it too.
I don't know how much of what I got out of this book is due to the ten years (!) I spent in college and grad school struggling with these concepts. I think a book like this should be required reading for all physics majors and graduate students. It is my hope that all interested readers would get as much enjoyment out of this book as I did, but it may be that there is just too much pre-supposed knowledge for this to be the case. All I can say is, this is about as clear as quantum mechanics gets.
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am 11. Dezember 1999
I can say off the bat that I had trouble with this book. Although I learned about Schrodinger, Bohr, Heisenberg, Einstein, Newton, Plank, Dirac, Born as well as their theories, I found it to be a demanding subject for anyone. Although the book is an introduction, I would gather the book presumes you have some previous knowledge of (probably findamental) algebra, chemistry, thermodynamics and a solid foundation of QED. Seriously, its a good book and well written, and made hard conecpts a little bit easier to understand. Math has never been my subject so you may have better luck with it.
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am 27. Juni 2000
I'm afraid I disagree with the other reviewers. The book was not well written. The illustrations were of marginal value -- I guess it's always nice to know what these guys look like. Most troublesome to me, however, was the manner in which the explanations were utterly substandard. If you are looking to understand the material -- as opposed to merely becoming familiar with the names and faces of those whose work you want to understand -- you're much, much better off the the Gribbon or the David Albert book.
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am 8. September 2014
generally good to read with a good mixture between depth and explanation.
Sometimes however the books concept to be too short, thus some gaps in understanding hard to cross...
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am 8. April 1999
This is a fun way to learn the historical development of quantum mechanic
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