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

$80.99 (P)

  • Date Published: March 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107017092

$ 80.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Written for advanced undergraduates, physicists, and historians and philosophers of physics, this book tells the story of the development of our understanding of quantum phenomena through the extraordinary years of the first three decades of the twentieth century. Rather than following the standard axiomatic approach, this book adopts a historical perspective, explaining clearly and authoritatively how pioneers such as Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli and Dirac developed the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and merged them into a coherent theory, and why the mathematical infrastructure of quantum mechanics has to be as complex as it is. The author creates a compelling narrative, providing a remarkable example of how physics and mathematics work in practice. The book encourages an enhanced appreciation of the interaction between mathematics, theory and experiment, helping the reader gain a deeper understanding of the development and content of quantum mechanics than any other text at this level.

    • Explains how pioneers such as Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli and Dirac developed a coherent theory of quantum mechanics
    • First book on quantum mechanics to avoid an axiomatic approach – it explains where the axioms in quantum mechanics come from and why the mathematical infrastructure has to be as complicated as it is
    • Reveals much more about the roots of quantum mechanics than standard books, leading to a deepened understanding of the content of quantum mechanics and the parallel development of theory and experimental discovery
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… will be extremely useful to instructors in quantum physics courses who wish to include some of the material in their own lectures. It should be required reading for those working in the philosophy or history of physics. An accessible, comprehensive treatment of the development of quantum mechanics. Highly recommended."
    M. C. Ogilvie, Washington University, Choice

    "… a beautiful book … should be included in any respectable physics library."
    Daniela Dragoman, Optics and Photonics News

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107017092
    • length: 459 pages
    • dimensions: 249 x 191 x 23 mm
    • weight: 1.1kg
    • contains: 77 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Discovery of Quanta:
    1. Physics and theoretical physics in 1895
    2. Planck and black-body radiation
    3. Einstein and quanta, 1900–1911
    Part II. The Old Quantum Theory:
    4. The Bohr model of the hydrogen atom
    5. Sommerfield and Ehrenfest – generalising the Bohr model
    6. Einstein coefficients, Bohr's correspondence principle and the first selection rules
    7. Understanding atomic spectra – additional quantum numbers
    8. Bohr's model of the periodic table and the origin of spin
    9. The wave-particle duality
    Part III. The Discovery of Quantum Mechanics
    10. The collapse of the old quantum theory and the seeds of its regeneration
    11. The Heisenberg breakthrough
    12. Matrix mechanics
    13. Dirac's quantum mechanics
    14. Schrödinger and wave mechanics
    15. Reconciling matrix and wave mechanics
    16. Spin and quantum statistics
    17. The interpretation of quantum mechanics
    18. The aftermath
    19. Epilogue

  • Author

    Malcolm Longair, University of Cambridge
    Malcolm Longair is Emeritus Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy and Director of Development at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. He has held many highly distinguished positions within physics and astronomy and has served on and chaired many international committees, boards and panels, working with both NASA and the European Space Agency. He has received much recognition for his work, including the Pilkington Prize of the University of Cambridge for Excellence in Teaching and a CBE in the millennium honours list for his services to astronomy and cosmology. His previous well-received books for Cambridge University Press include Theoretical Concepts in Physics (2003), The Cosmic Century: A History of Astrophysics and Cosmology (2005) and High Energy Astrophysics (2011).

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