The science tells us about the world, the stranger it looks When physics penetrated the atom early in this century, and gave us startling theories of what was going on in there, we found ourselves in a new world, the world of quantum mechanics, and what a shaky place it was David Albert aims to offer a lively, lucid account of the foundations of quantum mechanics His book is at once elementary and deeply challenging, an introduction accessible to anyone with high school mathematics and, at the same time, a rigorous discussion of the most important recent advances in our understanding of quantum physics, a number of them made by the author himself For Albert, the problem of measurement is the central problem of quantum mechanics, and he devotes particular attention to various attempts to solve it including theories of the collapse of the wave function, hidden variable theories, and multiple universe theories The style and the clarity of this book should make it a welcome contribution to a field that has typically appeared a great deal difficult and obscure than Albert shows it to be

15 thoughts on “Quantum Mechanics and Experience”

This is a great text, it contains maths but not to any frightening or esoteric level All highly understandable and explained in just sufficient detail Lets face it quantum physics is not intuitive and any text is going to have to be studied in detail, this is no exception I did not find it an easy read But the style is so descriptive that after the appropriate amount of work the concepts start to spring out and you get the, ah I see now moments A truly great book.

The author s notation is difficult to follow than what is in my QM textbooks And, his continual precision of language drives me up a wall How many times does it have to be repeated that the subject of a sentence, when it obtains , is valid Plus similar redundant grammatical structures to no end Argh I can t follow his logic because of the confusion of qualifiers At the very end he promises a plain language restatement of his crowning reasoning, but never delivers At least not that I can pick out I still recommend this as a read though, because of his conclusions, which may be very deep If I can only figure them out I m going to reread after a sufficient break and mental reset.

The first chapters are the most intuitive introduction to Quantum Mechanics QM I have ever seen.Doors are opened just in the right order to make you discover its foundations step by step.Mathematics are limited to what you need and no , which allows the reader to focus on what it means in terms of our understanding of the universe.The main concepts elaborated since QM s birth in the 1920 s to make it understandable are fairly described with, for some of them, the evidence behind their rejection nowadays.The importance of defining without ambiguity what measuring a quantity means is highlighted and is becoming the thread of the next chapters.So, the amazing thing with this book is that it brings you to the edge of today s knowledge, leaving you with the impression that you are starting to see the shapes of the future truth through the fog.

Really an overly verbose and ultimately failed attempt to simplify a fairly conceptually difficult topic I really could not follow many of the author s thought experiments because they tended to obfuscate rather than clarify The author may be a heck of a philosopher, but he is far from an effective author.

This is a fantastic book, which introduces the reasons for why Quantum Mechanical Interpretations are necessary for fully understanding Quantum Physics That being said, I rate it 5 stars ThoughI implore Dr Albert to publish an updated edition of this book A lot has changed in the realm of the Philosophy of Science with regards to QM interpretations since this book has been published, and Dr Albert has contributed greatly to these changes.Much of these changes that have occurred since the publication of this book deal with the Everett or Many Worlds interpretation of QM SeeMany Worlds Everett, Quantum Theory, as a good book on the subject And that is my point The aforementioned book is good, and I d highly recommend it, but it is not a good introduction to the subject in the context of QM interpretations, in general Quantum Mechanics and Experience is a great introduction to the issues of QM interpretations, and should be updated to include a uptodate analysis of the Everett Interpretation.

I like Albert s work, but I did not find this book to be an easy read and note that I mean this as independent from the content The organization and style of writing just did not work for me, and some of the other reviews suggest that this isn t just my being weird.I think it s certainly worth reading, but it does suffer from the aspects mentioned above.

On the plus side, chapter 1 is fairly well written The diagrams are helpful.I started running into issues with chapter 2, however.While I m not sure whether it s missing in the print edition, on the kindle edition, Planck s constant doesn t show up For example, equation 2.24 is meant to have the symbol for Planck s constant in the equation But, the i is by itself on the right hand side The text that explains the formula says where is a number, a physical constant. again leaving out the symbol for Planck s constant between where and is.Also on the kindle, as another reviewer has mentioned, the way much of the math is laid out with fixed sized images, and does not zoom with the rest of the text.With respect to chapter 2, the author gives a review of the parts of linear algebra that are important to the subject of discussion He tries to provide, it seems, the minimal amount of linear algebra a person would need All of that is appreciated However, if the reader does not already have a background with linear algebra, the explanations are likely insufficient.I found the text based vector notation annoying to parse, especially when used in the images whether the math does not zoom No doubt it s a great format for pure text writing But, anyway, it makes the text harder to read.

Chapter 2 is very tough I think I m pretty good at math, studied college mathematics up to multi variable calculus I ve tried reading it multiple times but I will most likely have to go through a math book or many references before I can understand it If I did understand it, I guess this would be an interesting read.

Albert goes to great lengths to present all the mathematics that is needed to reveal the problems in interpreting quantum mechanics I think he does a great job The idea that one can understand the problems of interpretation without the math is simply silly I cannot be done If you want to find out why physicists might possibly believe in the many worlds interpretation of QM, read this book The many worlds interpretation is bizarre and unbelievable, but the problem in defining a measurement without become subjective and anthropomorphic seems impossible.I will probably read this book a couple of times, as well as reading some of the papers in the bibliography I read a few and found them enlightening, although rather difficult for a non physicist.

I found Albert s writing to be clear and cogent I do not have a physics background, but have little difficulty following his explanations of quantum mechanics.

If you want a book that explains quantum mathematics without condescending to the reader and are not afraid of a little math, this is the book for you Virtually all books on QM unfortunately go to one extreme or the other either avoiding any mathematical formulas altogether, so that you can t possibly understand the theory and simply have to take what the author says on faith, or overdoing the math and becoming far too technical Albert, a philosopher, is brilliant at selecting just the minimal amount of math that you need to know to understand what s going on he simplifies where possible but does not oversimplify He also explains things very clearly in words Some may be put off by the colloquialisms of his language he loves to say things like cook up and cool, and perhaps he overuses italics for emphasis But these are extremely minor flaws It is simply mystifying why there are so many negative reviews of this excellent work To be sure, it is not an easy read and demands quite a bit of the reader But if you want to have a grasp of the real nature of QM, you have to make the effort, and Albert is as good a guide as you will find.

This is a great text, it contains maths but not to any frightening or esoteric level All highly understandable and explained in just sufficient detail Lets face it quantum physics is not intuitive and any text is going to have to be studied in detail, this is no exception I did not find it an easy read But the style is so descriptive that after the appropriate amount of work the concepts start to spring out and you get the, ah I see now moments A truly great book.

The author s notation is difficult to follow than what is in my QM textbooks And, his continual precision of language drives me up a wall How many times does it have to be repeated that the subject of a sentence, when it obtains , is valid Plus similar redundant grammatical structures to no end Argh I can t follow his logic because of the confusion of qualifiers At the very end he promises a plain language restatement of his crowning reasoning, but never delivers At least not that I can pick out I still recommend this as a read though, because of his conclusions, which may be very deep If I can only figure them out I m going to reread after a sufficient break and mental reset.

The first chapters are the most intuitive introduction to Quantum Mechanics QM I have ever seen.Doors are opened just in the right order to make you discover its foundations step by step.Mathematics are limited to what you need and no , which allows the reader to focus on what it means in terms of our understanding of the universe.The main concepts elaborated since QM s birth in the 1920 s to make it understandable are fairly described with, for some of them, the evidence behind their rejection nowadays.The importance of defining without ambiguity what measuring a quantity means is highlighted and is becoming the thread of the next chapters.So, the amazing thing with this book is that it brings you to the edge of today s knowledge, leaving you with the impression that you are starting to see the shapes of the future truth through the fog.

Really an overly verbose and ultimately failed attempt to simplify a fairly conceptually difficult topic I really could not follow many of the author s thought experiments because they tended to obfuscate rather than clarify The author may be a heck of a philosopher, but he is far from an effective author.

This is a fantastic book, which introduces the reasons for why Quantum Mechanical Interpretations are necessary for fully understanding Quantum Physics That being said, I rate it 5 stars ThoughI implore Dr Albert to publish an updated edition of this book A lot has changed in the realm of the Philosophy of Science with regards to QM interpretations since this book has been published, and Dr Albert has contributed greatly to these changes.Much of these changes that have occurred since the publication of this book deal with the Everett or Many Worlds interpretation of QM SeeMany Worlds Everett, Quantum Theory, as a good book on the subject And that is my point The aforementioned book is good, and I d highly recommend it, but it is not a good introduction to the subject in the context of QM interpretations, in general Quantum Mechanics and Experience is a great introduction to the issues of QM interpretations, and should be updated to include a uptodate analysis of the Everett Interpretation.

Simple language but enough basic matrix math to help you move along However, this book will not make you an expert in QM

I like Albert s work, but I did not find this book to be an easy read and note that I mean this as independent from the content The organization and style of writing just did not work for me, and some of the other reviews suggest that this isn t just my being weird.I think it s certainly worth reading, but it does suffer from the aspects mentioned above.

On the plus side, chapter 1 is fairly well written The diagrams are helpful.I started running into issues with chapter 2, however.While I m not sure whether it s missing in the print edition, on the kindle edition, Planck s constant doesn t show up For example, equation 2.24 is meant to have the symbol for Planck s constant in the equation But, the i is by itself on the right hand side The text that explains the formula says where is a number, a physical constant. again leaving out the symbol for Planck s constant between where and is.Also on the kindle, as another reviewer has mentioned, the way much of the math is laid out with fixed sized images, and does not zoom with the rest of the text.With respect to chapter 2, the author gives a review of the parts of linear algebra that are important to the subject of discussion He tries to provide, it seems, the minimal amount of linear algebra a person would need All of that is appreciated However, if the reader does not already have a background with linear algebra, the explanations are likely insufficient.I found the text based vector notation annoying to parse, especially when used in the images whether the math does not zoom No doubt it s a great format for pure text writing But, anyway, it makes the text harder to read.

Chapter 2 is very tough I think I m pretty good at math, studied college mathematics up to multi variable calculus I ve tried reading it multiple times but I will most likely have to go through a math book or many references before I can understand it If I did understand it, I guess this would be an interesting read.

Albert goes to great lengths to present all the mathematics that is needed to reveal the problems in interpreting quantum mechanics I think he does a great job The idea that one can understand the problems of interpretation without the math is simply silly I cannot be done If you want to find out why physicists might possibly believe in the many worlds interpretation of QM, read this book The many worlds interpretation is bizarre and unbelievable, but the problem in defining a measurement without become subjective and anthropomorphic seems impossible.I will probably read this book a couple of times, as well as reading some of the papers in the bibliography I read a few and found them enlightening, although rather difficult for a non physicist.

Excellent

I found Albert s writing to be clear and cogent I do not have a physics background, but have little difficulty following his explanations of quantum mechanics.

Good product and good service.

Took me a while to finish it but a great read well written

If you want a book that explains quantum mathematics without condescending to the reader and are not afraid of a little math, this is the book for you Virtually all books on QM unfortunately go to one extreme or the other either avoiding any mathematical formulas altogether, so that you can t possibly understand the theory and simply have to take what the author says on faith, or overdoing the math and becoming far too technical Albert, a philosopher, is brilliant at selecting just the minimal amount of math that you need to know to understand what s going on he simplifies where possible but does not oversimplify He also explains things very clearly in words Some may be put off by the colloquialisms of his language he loves to say things like cook up and cool, and perhaps he overuses italics for emphasis But these are extremely minor flaws It is simply mystifying why there are so many negative reviews of this excellent work To be sure, it is not an easy read and demands quite a bit of the reader But if you want to have a grasp of the real nature of QM, you have to make the effort, and Albert is as good a guide as you will find.