# Quantum Reality : Theory and Philosophy

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Probably the most successful scientific theory ever created, quantum theory has profoundly changed our view of the world and extended the limits of our knowledge, impacting both the theoretical interpretation of a tremendous range of phenomena and the practical development of a host of technological breakthroughs. Yet for all its success, quantum theory remains utterly baffling.
Quantum Reality: Theory and Philosophy cuts through much of the confusion to provide readers with an exploration of quantum theory that is as authoritatively comprehensive as it is intriguingly comprehensible. Requiring no more than school level physics and mathematics background, this volume requires only an interest in understanding how quantum theory came to be and the myriad ways it both explains how our universe functions and extends the reach of human knowledge.
Written by well-known physics author and teacher Dr. Jonathan Allday, this highly engaging work:
Presents a thorough grounding in the theoretical machinery of quantum physics
Offers a whistle-stop tour through the early part of the 20th century when the founding fathers of quantum theory forever altered the frontiers of human thought
Provides an example-filled interpretation of the theory, its applications, and its pinnacle in quantum field theory (QFT), so crucial in shaping ideas about the nature of reality
Separates fact from speculation regarding quantum physics' ability to provide a starting point for philosophical queries into ultimate understanding and the limits of science
The world beneath the one that we experience with our senses is profoundly mysterious, and while we may never completely unravel that mystery, quantum theory allows us to come closer than ever to understanding where the science leaves off and the mystery begins. Quantum Reality: Theory and Philosophy makes that understanding accessible to anyone possessing a quest for knowledge and a sense of awe.show more

## Product details

- Electronic book text | 590 pages
- 15 Feb 2009
- Taylor & Francis Inc
- CRC Press Inc
- Florida, United States
- 1 Tables, black and white; 125 Illustrations, black and white
- 1584887044
- 9781584887041

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## Table of contents

Preface
Introduction
Author
Part I
Our First Quantum Object: Light
Some Opening Thoughts
A Little Light Reading
Lasers and Video Cameras
Photons
An Interference Experiment with Photons
Interference as a Wave Effect
Mach-Zehnder with Photons
Delayed Choice
Summary
Endnotes
Interlude 1: Another Interference Experiment
Particles
Electrons
The Electron Gun
The Stern-Gerlach Experiment
Turning Things Round
Things Get More Puzzling
So, Where Did It Go?
What Does It All Mean?
Some Indications with Other Particles
The Long and the Short of It
Summary
Endnotes
Quantum States
Where Are We Now?
Describing Classical Systems
Chaos
Describing Quantum Systems
Specific Example: Mach-Zehnder Again
What's in a Number?
Probability Amplitudes
States in Stern-Gerlach Experiment
General Stern-Gerlach States
Some Further Thoughts
What Are Quantum States?
Endnotes
Amplitudes
More on Amplitudes
Change of Basis
Dirac Notation
Orthogonal Bases
New Light Through...
Going the Other Way
Endnotes
Measurement
Embracing Change
Types of States
Eigenstates
Mixed States
Expectation Values
Operators
How States Evolve
Why Is State Reduction Necessary?
Behind the Veil
Determinism and Free Will
Endnotes
Interlude 2: The Complex Plane
Magnitude and Phase
Multiplying Complex Numbers
Next Phase
And Lastly...
Apologies
Endnotes
Interference
How Science Works
The Double-Slit Experiment
The Double Slit with Electrons
Wave/Particle Duality
Wave Nature of Electrons
Double-Slit Amplitudes
Phase and Physics
An Experiment with Phase
The Interference Term
Last Thoughts
Endnotes
The Free Particle
The Position Basis (And a Useful Abbreviation)
Continuous Bases
The Amplitude for a Free Particle
Wavelength
Frequency
What Does the Amplitude Tell Us about the Motion of a Free Particle?
Amplitudes, Energy, and Momentum
Energy and Momentum Eigenstates
Where Next?
Endnotes
Identical Particles
Some Opening Thoughts
Particle Dodgems
Emphasizing the Weird
The Moral of the Story
States of More than One Particle
Identical Particles
States in Real World
Final Thoughts
Endnote
Scattering Identical Bosons
Scattering
The Same, but Different: Identical Particles
Using the Whole Detector
And Another Way...
Transitions Away from States
What Does It All Mean?
Lasers
Bose-Einstein Condensates
Einstein's Argument
Endnotes
Interlude 3: Matrix Operators
Endnote
Spin
Fermions, Bosons, and Stern-Gerlach Magnets
Angular Momentum
Angular Momentum in Quantum Theory
Magnetic Moments
The Magnetic Moment of an Electron
Intrinsic Angular Momentum
Spin Operators
Fermions and Bosons
In Closing
Endnotes
Fermion States
Exchange and Rotation
Rotational Symmetry of States
Reversing the Polarity of the Neutron Flow
Coffee Mugs and Quantum States
Spin, Symmetry, and Exchanges
Time
Spinning Things Round
Time for Some Bullet Points
Boson Spin States
More on Time Reversal
Time-Reversed Boson States
What Just Happened?
Endnotes
Wave Functions
Representations
Infinite Expansions
Wave Functions and State Functions
Observables
The Problem of Momentum
Obtaining Momentum
Operators and Representations
So What Can We Do with p x?
Position Operator
Energy Operator
The Equations of Quantum Theory
E and H
Stationary States
Conclusions
Endnotes
Uncertainty
Expectation Is Not Enough
Heisenberg's Principle
So What?
I'm Not Sure What Uncertainty Means...
Yet More Uncertainty
Conjugation
Time, Again...
Energy/Time Uncertainty
Final Musings
Endnotes
Interlude 4: Heisenberg's Equation
Stationary States
Energy-Time Uncertainty
Endnote
Part II
Genealogy
The Scientific Community
"It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times"
Endnote
Planck and Einstein
Where to Start?
Planck's Life
Planck Enters Research
Planck's Formula for Black Body Spectra
Einstein
Quantization of Light
Photoelectric Effect
Enter the Photon
Bosons
Final Thoughts
Endnotes
Niels Bohr
The Godfather
Early Life
Atomic Theory
Atomic Spectra
Bohr's Atom
Developments
Complementarity
Extensions
Later Life
Endnotes
Werner Heisenberg
Early Days
The Development of Quantum Theory
Cloud Chambers
The Uncertainty Principle
Quantum Concepts
Later Life
Endnotes
Erwin Schrodinger
Beginnings
Electron Diffraction
Enter the Wave Equation
Matter Waves
So What Is Î¨?
Nobel Prizes
Schrodinger's Philosophy
Endnotes
Paul Dirac
Dirac's Contributions to Quantum Physics
Dirac the Person
Dirac's Views on the Meaning of Quantum Theory
Endnotes
Conclusions
Endnotes
Part III
Applications of Quantum Theory
A Particle in a Box
Another Brick in the Wall...
Fixing the Momentum
Energy Eigenstates
Time Factor
Normalization
Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Boxes
Hydrogen Atom
A Box Containing More than One Electron
White Dwarf Stars
Wave Packets
That's All, Folks...
Endnotes
Entanglement
Is Quantum Theory Complete?
The EPR Argument
Follow-Up by David Bohm
Bohr's Reply to the EPR Argument
Einstein and Bohr
Schrodinger Introduces Entanglement
Entanglement and Measurement
That Damned Cat
John Bell and Bohm's EPR
Bell's Formula
Aspect's Experiment
Implications
Endnotes
Interlude 5: Density Operator
Great Expectations
Why Bother?
Density Operator and EPR/Bohm Experiments
Representing a State
Density Operator and Entangled States
The Density Matrix and the Measurement Problem
Endnotes
Interpretations
What Is an Interpretation?
A Collection of Problems
The Nature of Probability
State Reduction
Entanglement
Measurement
Carnegie Hall
Endnotes
The Copenhagen Interpretation
Bohr's Influence
Bohr's View of Quantum Theory
Heisenberg and Potentia
Von Neumann and Measurement
Mind of an Observer
The Deep End...
Conclusions
Endnotes
The Many Worlds Interpretation
Criticisms of the Copenhagen
Interpretation
The Problem of the Cut
Problem of Collapse
The Many Worlds Interpretation
Relative States
Measurement Records
And the Next One...
The Ontological Step
Many Worlds Arrives
Many Worlds Matures
The Nature of Probability
State Reduction
Entanglement
Measurement
Criticisms of the Many Worlds View
Time Thoughts
Endnotes
Other Interpretations
Being in Two Minds about Something...
Mindless Hulks...
The Advantages of Having More than One Mind
The Ideas of David Bohm
Ontological Interpretation
Bohm's Version of Schrodinger Equation
The Quantum Potential in Action
Probability
Quantum Potential and the Double-Slit
Experiment
Quantum Potential and the Particle in a Box
Wave Function Collapse
Reactions to Bohm's Theory
Consistent Histories
Projection Operators
Histories
Histories and Double Slits
Environmental Imprint
Histories in Cosmology
What Have We Gained?
Endnotes
Quantum Field Theory
Why Are We Doing This?
Taking Identical Particles Seriously
Particle Labels
Substance Abuse
States in Quantum Field Theory
Fock States
Up and Down We Go...
Round and Round We Go...
The Vacuum
Operators Representing Observables
The Story So Far
Fermions and Bosons
Change of Basis
Basis for Progress
So Why Is It Called Quantum Field Theory?
Wave-Particle Duality
Interactions in Quantum Field Theory
Interaction Operators
Interaction Potentials
Vacuum Fluctuations
Number Operators Again
Fields and Numbers
Endnotes
Personal Conclusions
Appendix A: List of Important Rules
Appendix B: Glossary
Appendix C: Useful Mathematics
Appendix D: Bibliography
Indexshow more

## Review quote

... a good and thorough presentation of the philosophical issues that have come so much to the fore in recent decades. This can in many ways stand among the best treatments of this side of the subject at the non-specialist level. ... -Contemporary Physics, Vol. 52, No. 1, January 2011show more