A welcome development about QM that I got to know of, recently

This post shall be brief. I promise. (And, it will be easy enough to keep my promise. … Read on to know why…)

First, I refer you to my last blog post about QM, namely, “The mysterious quantum mystery” [^].

In that post, I had talked about Heisenberg’s first paper, and then had asked you:

“…once you finish this material, relax back a bit and try to think of (i) how much nonsense later on got injected into QM, and (ii) if you remove it all, then, what still might be left as a real quantum mechanical mystery to you.”

As you know, in that post, as most times, I find the quantum mechanics folks to be an odd mixture of the dogmatic and the hilarious. (And regardless of their relative percentages in the mixture, most often, the first is the direct cause of the second.)

In contrast, in this post, I am going to briefly mention a certain development concerning the presentation of quantum mechanics which is only too welcome. … IMO, it is a wonderful development, and one that is truly worthy of respect.

OK, let me not stretch your patience any further.

I am talking about a new book on QM—at least one that was new to me until a few days after my last post on QM (i.e. until about 28th/29th of July).

The book in question is:

Longair, M. S. (2013) “Quantum Concepts in Physics: An Alternative Approach to the Understanding of Quantum Mechanics,” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The best way in which, IMO, I might introduce this book to you is to say that this is the book that I both did not expect to find, and yet, curiously, was always looking for, for many, many years—certainly, for more than two decades.

The second-best way to introduce this book to you, is to say: (i) that this book is written in the style of a typical university text-book on a topic other than quantum mechanics, topic like, say, fluid mechanics or heat transfer; (ii) that it is (or at least should be) understandable to an undergraduate (or at least the beginning post-graduate) student of physics (if not also of engineering/technology/applied sciences); and, most importantly, (iii) that it presents quantum mechanics in the historical order of development.

The third-best way to introduce the book to you is to ask you to go and notice the official blurb at the publisher’s site [^].

A bad way to introduce the book to you is to ask you to go and read a very expected kind of a customer reaction (but a well-meaning one) which the book has already generated at Amazon—I mean the closing sentence in this review [^]. Don’t believe it.

Instead, do what I did. Buy the book. Immediately.

I have not yet read even 10% of this book. But, I, as usual, have randomly browsed all through the text. … It’s a great book.

I will certainly have occasion to write more about it some time in future—by way of both: a review, and some occasional reference in connection with my own thoughts.

And, for those of you who do buy books on QM but still are not yet sure if you should really buy this one or not: Note the Wiki page on the author. In short: the author is an FRS guy who (very recently) retired as the Director of Development at the Cavendish Laboratory (i.e. the physics department of the University of Cambridge) [^].

I hope that if you read this book, you will come to concur with me that this book probably provides a better introduction to the author than any other of his credentials (CBE, FRS, FRSE, Cambridge…)

* * * * *   * * * * *   * * * * *

One question you would be dying to ask me at this stage (if you know me) would be: “Does it mean you won’t be writing your book, Ajit?”

You could have predicted the answer I would give (that is, if you know me really well). Anyway, let me give you my answer without letting you get anywhere near the process of death. The answer is: “No. It simply means that I now have a great reference to fall back on, in the writing of my own book. It should help hasten up—rather than kill—the process of writing and finishing of my own book.”

Ok, more, later.

* * * * *   * * * * *   * * * * *

A Song I Like:

(Marathi) “roop paahataa lochani, sukh aale vo saajaNi…”
Lyrics: Sant Dynaaneshwar
Singer (of the version I like): Asha Bhosale
Music (of the version I like): C. Ramchandra


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