Thirty Years that Shook Physics: The Story of Quantum Theory

June 1, 2011
author |
George Gamow
year published |

Thirty Years That Shook Physics book cover

Goodreads | In 1900, German physicist Max Planck postulated that light, or radiant energy can exist only in the form of discrete packages or quanta. This profound insight, along with Einstein’s equally momentous theories of relativity, completely revolutionized man’s view of matter, energy, and the nature of physics itself.

In this lucid layman’s introduction to quantum theory, an eminent physicist and noted popularizer of science traces the development of quantum theory from the turn of the century to about 1930 — from Planck’s seminal concept (still developing) to anti-particles, mesons and Enrico Fermi’s nuclear research.

Gamow was not just a spectator at the theoretical breakthroughs which fundamentally altered our view of the universe, he was an active participant who made important contributions of his own. This “insider’s” vantage point lends special validity to his careful, accessible explanation of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Neils Bohr’s model of the atom, the pilot waves of Louis de Broglie and other path-breaking ideas.