Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different


Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.6 X 1.3 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Philip Ball is a writer, author, and broadcaster, and was formerly an editor at Nature. His writing on scientific subjects has appeared in places ranging from New Scientist to the New York Times. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Invisible, Curiosity, and, most recently, The Water Kingdom: A Secret History of China, also published by the University of Chicago Press. He lives in London.


"Ball's gorgeously lucid text takes us to the edge of contemporary theorizing about the foundations of quantum mechanics. Beyond Weird is easily the best book I've read on the subject."--Washington Post

"The intention of Beyond Weird, though, is not simply to provide a dummy's guide to the theory, but to explore its underlying meaning. We know that the equations work, but what sort of world do they really represent? To tackle the question, he weighs up the competing interpretations, and the misconceptions, that have attached themselves to quantum theory in its 100-year history, finishing with more recent attempts to rebuild the theory 'from scratch', and new ideas that offer tantalising glimpses beyond. . . . [A] laudable achievement."

--Sunday Times
"[A] clear and deeply researched account of what's known about the quantum laws of nature, and how to think about what they might really mean."--Nature
"An excellent account of modern quantum theory and the efforts being made to harness its effects."--The Spectator
"It would be easy to think 'Surely we don't need another book on quantum physics.' There are loads of them. . . . Don't be fooled, though - because in Beyond Weird, Philip Ball has done something rare in my experience. . .it makes an attempt not to describe quantum physics, but to explain why it is the way it is."--PopScience Books
"Ball . . . asks lots of questions, including rhetorical ones, and uses words like 'we' and 'let's' to turn readers into collaborators. The tone is reassuring; he never talks down to nonscientists. Instead, he invites them to join in exploring this 'new and unfamiliar logic' in which what we understand and how we measure something has an effect on what we observe. Replacing 'obscure terminology' with accessible ideas and drawings, Ball makes would-be physicists of us all."--Foreword Reviews
"If so great a physicist as Richard Feynman once claimed that 'nobody understands quantum mechanics, ' what hope do we laypeople have? Luckily, Philip Ball, a freelance writer (formerly of Nature magazine) who has published widely on the history of science, tackles the subject in a user-friendly yet thorough introduction. . . . Replacing 'obscure terminology' with accessible ideas and drawings, Ball makes would-be physicists of us all."
--Foreword Review
"Philip Ball is one of the finest contemporary writers about science. . . . His prose is a pleasure to read."--Wall Street Journal