Quantum PBK – press release
EINSTEIN, BOHR AND THE GREAT DEBATE ABOUT THE NATURE OF REALITY
PUBLICATION DATE: 2 APRIL 2009
£9.99 ● Paperback ● ISBN 978-184831-035-3
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2009 BBC SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2009 ROYAL SOCIETY PRIZE FOR SCIENCE BOOKS
‘The reason this book is, in fact, so readable is because it contains vivid portraits of the scientists involved, and their contexts…. this is about gob-smacking science at the far end of reason… take it nice and easy and savour the experience of your mind being blown without recourse to hallucinations.”
Nick Lezard, Paperback Choice of the Week, Guardian
‘Manjit Kumar’s Quantum is a super-collider of a book, shaking together an exotic cocktail of free-thinking physicists, tracing their chaotic interactions and seeing what God-particles and black holes fly up out of the maelstrom. He provides probably the most lucid and detailed intellectual history ever written of a body of theory that makes other scientific revolutions look limp-wristed by comparison.’ Independent
‘Kumar is an accomplished writer who knows how to separate the excitement of the chase from the sometimes impenetrable mathematics. In Quantum he tells the story of the conflict between two of the most powerful intellects of their day: the hugely famous Einstein and the less well-known but just as brilliant Dane, Niels Bohr.’ Financial Times
‘It would be a rare author who could fully address both the philosophical and the historical issues – an even rarer one who could make it all palatable and entertaining to a general audience. If Kumar scores less than full marks it is only because of the admirably ambitious scale of his book.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Highly readable … A welcome addition to the popular history of twentieth-century physics.’ Nature Journal
Every so often a book comes along that you know is special from the first page. QUANTUM is such a book and became the popular science book on quantum theory in 2008.
For most people, quantum theory is a byword for mysterious, impenetrable science and yet for many years, it was equally baffling for scientists themselves. In this magisterial book, Manjit Kumar gives a
Press Release continues dramatic and superbly-written narrative history of the fundamental scientific revolution and the divisive debate at its core. Quantum theory looks at the very building blocks of our world, the particles and processes without which it could not exist. Yet for 60 years most physicists believed that quantum theory
denied the very existence of reality itself. In this tour de force of science history, Kumar shows how the golden age of physics ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century.
Quantum theory is weird. In 1905 Albert Einstein suggested that light was a particle, not a wave, defying a century of experiments. Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Erwin Schrödinger’s famous dead-and-alive cat are similarly strange. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren’t shocked by quantum theory, you didn’t really understand it.
While QUANTUM sets the science in the context of the great upheavals of the modern age, Kumar’s centre-piece is the conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science.
QUANTUM is the essential read for anyone fascinated by a complex and thrilling story and by the band of individuals at its heart. This is popular science writing at its very best and is set to become the next Longitude as a book that readers of popular literature will love.
MANJIT KUMAR has degrees in physics and philosophy. He was the founding editor of Prometheus, an interdisciplinary journal that covered the arts and sciences and is the co-author of Science and the Retreat from Reason, which introduced key areas of modern science while defending notions of social progress and scientific advance. Kumar’s work has been described by Michael Frayn as ‘the clearest account I’ve read yet of the development of quantum mechanics’. He is currently Consulting Science Editor of Wired Magazine, UK. He lives in London.
MORE PRAISE FOR QUANTUM:
‘I had difficulty putting this book down, even when I should have been sleeping!’ Astronomy Now
‘The most important popular science book published this year.’ The Bookseller
‘This is the biography on an idea and as such read much like a thriller.’ Ham & High
‘A dramatic, powerful and superbly written history.’ Publishing News
‘A fresh perspective on the debate.’ Press Association
‘An elegantly written and accessible guide to quantum physics, in which Kumar structures the narrative history around the clash between Einstein and Bohr, and the anxiety that quantum theory “disproved the existence of reality”.’ Scotland on Sunday
‘Accessible to the non-scientist… Quantum is a fine book in many ways.’ Socialism Today
To request a review copy or interview please contact Najma Finlay,
Head of Publicity, Icon Books firstname.lastname@example.org/ D/L 020 7700 9962