This book recalls, for nonscientific readers, the history of quantum mechanics, the main points of its interpretation, and Einstein's objections to it, together with the responses engendered by his arguments. Most popular discussions on the strange aspects of quantum mechanics ignore the fundamental fact that Einstein was correct in his insistence that the theory does not directly describe reality. While that fact does not remove the theory's counterintuitive features, it casts them in a different light.
Context is provided by following the history of two central aspects of physics: the elucidation of the basic structure of the world made up of particles, and the explanation, as well as the prediction, of how objects move. This history, prior to quantum mechanics, reveals that whereas theories and discoveries concerning the structure of nature became increasingly realistic, the laws of motion, even as they became more powerful, became more and more abstract and remote from intuitive notions of reality. Newton's laws of motion gained their abstract power by sacrificing direct and intuitive contact with real experience. Arriving 250 years after Newton, the break with a direct description of reality embodied in quantum mechanics was nevertheless profound.
Some Quantum History
Rules and Interpretations
From Atomism to Real Particles
Laws of Motion
New Particles and Their Quantum Origins
Atoms, Inside and Out
Methods and Underpinnings
Readership: Academics and students in physics and the general public.
The book corrects the mostly erroneous discussions on strange aspects of quantum mechanics such as entanglement
Because quantum mechanics does not deal directly with reality, Schrödinger's famous cat is shown not to be in the predicament usually presented
The important contribution of John Bell, who established experimental tests of classical versus quantum mechanical explanations, is discussed