When the Uncertainty Principle Goes to 11: Or How to Explain Quantum Physics with Heavy Metal


Product Details

$17.95  $16.51
Benbella Books
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.2 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Philip Moriarty is a professor of physics, a heavy metal fan, and a keen air-drummer. His research focuses on prodding, pushing, and poking single atoms and molecules; in this nanoscopic world, quantum physics is all. Moriarty has taught physics for almost twenty years and has always been struck by the number of students in his classes who profess a love of metal music, and by the deep connections between heavy metal and quantum mechanics. He's a father of three--Niamh, Saoirse, and Fiachra--who have patiently endured his off-key attempts to sing along with Rush classics for many years. Unlike his infamous namesake, Moriarty has never been particularly enamored of the binomial theorem.


A refreshing and accessible introduction to nanoscience for the curious metalhead.

--Science Magazine

You don't need to be a metalhead to like this book--but be warned that if you do like this book, you will probably find yourself more of a metalhead by the end than you were at the start, because the enthusiasm is infectious. You might even find you have a better grip of the notorious mind-warping concepts of quantum mechanics too.

--Philip Ball, author of Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different

A magical mosh pit of Slayer and spandex trousers, sound waves, and strings--this is quantum physics as you've never seen or heard it before.

--Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World magazine and coauthor of Furry Logic: the Physics of Animal Life

Both metal-heads and physicists have become caricatures in today's pop culture. In his wonderfully conversational writing, Moriarty smashes these stereotypes and subverts expectations by weaving the two worlds together. This book shows how unexpected ideas cut across the worlds of heavy metal and quantum physics. If you enjoy surprises, brutal band logos, or insane riffs, you'll love this book. Forgot pop-sci. This is metal-sci.

--Jesse Silverberg, PhD, physicist and Harvard research fellow

I thought I'd already seen every possible analogy for the weird world of quantum physics, but Philip Moriarty's music-inspired take on it is fresh and engaging . . . Moriarty's enthusiasm for both physics and metal shines through so much in his writing that I was tempted to break out the Megadeth myself while reading. If you've ever been intrigued by quantum mechanics but worried that you couldn't hack an entire book on the subject, try this one, and you won't be disappointed.

--Kelly Oakes, former science editor for BuzzFeed UK

Whether you're a physicist, science enthusiast, musician, or music fan, this book will entertain and enlighten in equal amounts. It will bring a new beauty to your favorite songs, and arm you with fresh concepts to explain some of the most counter-intuitive of scientific ideas. At the very least, you'll have an interesting conversational tangent to adopt next time someone wants to force their amateur rendition of 'Smoke on the Water' upon you.

--David Domminney Fowler, guitarist with the Australian Pink Floyd Show