I’ll admit it: if you haven’t come across quantum theory before, this book is not for you.
Manjit Kumar’s book covers the history of quantum theory, with all the arguments and debates that came with physics’ greatest conundrum: could Newton really be that wrong?
The book is very well-written and goes into detail about the intellectual struggles behind this bewildering new addition to the more familiar ‘classical’ physics. It can be a little tricky at times to keep up with the chronological order of things, as the book often jumps between the various protagonists’ lives and thought processes, but overall it’s fairly easy to read, as long as you already have a basic understanding of quantum mechanics.
If you don’t, however hard you may try, it’s tricky to grasp them through this book: an understandable focus on the history and people, not the theory involved, means there are few diagrams and equations and theories are often contained within paragraph text, rather than separated out for readability.
For those with an interest in quantum theory who would like to know more about the history, and the people, behind the famous equations and experiments, it’s a fascinating insight into the intellectual struggles behind the development of quantum mechanics as we know it today. But I wouldn’t recommend it as the initial book to spark that interest and understanding – that title would have to go to Feynman’s QED.