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The Quantum Moment

How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty

Robert P. Crease (Author, Stony Brook University), Alfred Scharff Goldhaber (Author, Stony Brook University)

Overview | Formats

"A very fun way to learn about where quantum physics comes from and the strange, even astonishing places it has gone." —Peter Galison, Harvard University, author of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps

From multiverses and quantum leaps to Schrödinger’s cat and time travel, quantum mechanics has irreversibly shaped the popular imagination. Entertainers and writers from Lady Gaga to David Foster Wallace take advantage of its associations and nuances. In The Quantum Moment, philosopher Robert P. Crease and physicist Alfred Scharff Goldhaber recount the fascinating story of how the quantum jumped from physics into popular culture, with brief explorations of the underlying math and physics concepts and descriptions of the fiery disputes among figures including Einstein, Schrödinger, and Niels Bohr. Understanding and appreciating quantum imagery, its uses and abuses, is part of what it means to be an educated person in the twenty-first century. The Quantum Moment serves as an indispensable guide.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35192-7
  • 5.6 × 8.2 in / 352 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverThe Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty


Endorsements & Reviews

“A thorough and clear guide to the philosophical problems posed by the nature of the subatomic world.” — James Trefil, Washington Post

“An entertaining read…[The Quantum Moment] asks why quantum theory carries such a metaphorical punch…and why it seems to be rediscovered in every generation.” — Jim Baggott, Nature

“Rich and entertaining…[The Quantum Moment] is an introduction to the brave new world we inhabit.” — Amir Alexander, New York Times

“Approachable…[and] entertaining…Crease and Goldhaber detail in mostly demotic terms and chipper tones the history of quantum physics, its main concepts, its discoverers, its prominent detractors (Einstein among them), and its subsequent jargonization—how and why phrases like quantum leap and uncertainty principle have escaped the highly technical shackles of the scientific lexicon to become metaphors within literature, philosophy, and self-help.” — Max Ross, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Pleasant and informal…The Quantum Moment is a good introduction to concepts in quantum theory and will help us better understand how science is bound up with human culture.” — Thiago Hartz, Physics Today

“A fascinating tour of the lives and afterlives of some of the most captivating concepts of quantum theory.” — David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics

“A delight! A tour de force that is both illuminating and extraordinarily readable.” — Gino Segrè, author of Ordinary Geniuses: How Two Mavericks Shaped Modern Science

“This is an amazing book for scientists and humanists alike! Every page yields surprises—not only about the complex history of quantum physics but about how it impacts our understanding of ourselves in daily life. Required reading for anyone concerned with casting the fate of humankind in a radically new light.” — Edward S. Casey, author of The World at a Glance

Also by Robert P. Crease All

  1. Book CoverThe Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg


  2. Book CoverThe Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority


  3. Book CoverWorld in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement


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