Supplemental Reading for Physics 153
You will find the following books to be interesting supplements to this
course if you are interested in reading more about quantum mechanics. Thanks
go to Prof. Daniel Styer of Oberlin College for most of the comments about
- N. D. Mermin, Is the moon there when nobody looks? Reality and the
quantum Theory, Physics Today, April, 1985, p. 38. This is the best
treatment of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.
- R. P. Feynman, Character of the Physical Law (MIT Press, Cambridge,
MA, 1965). This book contains a transcript of a famous lecture by the same
name that Feynman delivered at Cornell University in 1964. You will see
clips of this in the last day of class.
- J. M. Jauch, Are Quanta Real? (Indiana University Press, Bloomington,
IN, 1973) This book, and the following three, are popularizations of quantum
mechanics. The models used in these books are different from the ones we
use in class.
- John Gribbin, In Search of Schroedinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and
Reality (Bantum, New York, 1984). Describes both quantum mechanics
and its history.
- J. C. Polkinghorne, The Quantum World (Princeton University
Press, Princeton, NJ, 1984). Written by a physicist turned priest. He tends
to hide behind mathematics.
- Alastair Rae, Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality? (Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1986). As Styer describes this book, it
contains six errors on the first three pages, but then improves.
- George Gamow, Mr. Tompkins in Paperback(Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, UK, 1965). This is a compilation of articles by Gamow
who is a famous physicist that wrote many popularizations of science. It
covers some fields in addition to quantum mechanics. One of the Sci. Am.
articles that you will read also appears here.
- Robert Gilmore,
Alice in Quantumland: an allegory in quantum physics
(Springer-Verlag, New York, 1995). Lewis Carroll's character, Alice, has
much more in store for her when she travels into the quantum world, than she
saw when she ventured through the looking glass. This book has a nice
collection of simple descriptions of quantum phenomena.
The following books and articles are pieces of literature that have
quantum mechanics playing a large role in them (similar to Stoppard's Hapgood).
Be cautioned however that some of these authors get the physics wrong.
- Robert Anton Wilson, Schroedinger's Cat (Simon and Shuster,
New York, 1979). A strange science fiction novel.
- Arthur C. Clarke, Fountains of Paradise (1979). Clarke predicts
the discover of carbon nanotubes in this work (he calls it diamond wire) and
uses it to build a "skyhook" in this Hugo Award winning science fiction novel.
- Eric Kraft, Where
do you stop? (Crown, New York, 1992). In one of the continuing
stories of Peter Leroy, Kraft desribes quantum mechanics from the point
of view of a middle school student. The main theme is on racial equality
in small-town America, though.
- Jane Hamilton, When I began to understand quantum mechanics
Harpers, 279 (August, 1989) p. 41. A short story involving quantum
physics and a beauty pageant.
- June Jordan, Poem on quantum mechanics of breakfast with Haruko
The Nation, 257
(5 July, 1993) p. 40. A love poem.
- Susan Strehle, Fiction in the Quantum Universe (University of
North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1992).
Last modified July 19, 2002
Jim Freericks, Professor of Physics,
freericks at physics dot georgetown dot edu