Tagged: quantum physics

The Universe in a Nutshell

universe in a nutshellThe Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, 4/5

This book’s strengths and weaknesses balance very well with those of Hawking’s older work, A Brief History of Time, making this an excellent companion to the latter.  Where A Brief History is old and short on illustrations, The Universe in a Nutshell is updated (2001) and illustrated in a style that can only be described as luxurious.  Additional topics covered include a chapter on the future of biological and technological innovation, as well as a chapter on p-branes.

Despite these improvements, the layout of the new book feels uncomfortably disjointed for the subject matter – the meaty parts of the text are interrupted by large pictures, captions and info boxes.  I actually prefer the drier, straightforward presentation of A Brief History.  Additionally, I feel that many parts of this book are not as clearly communicated and I missed the tone of charming humility and open-mindedness that was evident in such abundance in the older version.

The illustrator’s website is definitely worth a look.

[Why I read it: I was looking for a more modern Hawking book with which to follow the aged A Brief History of Time.]

101 Quantum Questions

101 Quantum Questions: What You Need to Know About the World You Can’t See by Kenneth W. Ford, 3/5

I’m not going to lie – this book lost me a few times (most notably, at “quantum numbers”).  However, there were still a few “AHA!” moments, where staggering truths about quantum physics created little explosions in my brain.  Overall, the book was moderately accessible, but not as entertaining or beginner friendly as other books about quantum physics, such as Marcus Chown’s “The Matchbox that Ate a Forty-Ton Truck.”