Real Quanta by Martijn van Calmthout
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Quantum mechanocs seems to be just about as weird as physics can get. Particles that are waves. That can be in several places at once. That can be affected by what happens to each other when they are miles apart, not just close by. And until somebody looks at Schrödinger’s cat, it is both alive and dead.
They sound like stories from a distant, peculiar world. But nothing could be further from the truth. In Real Quanta, the science journalist Martijn van Calmthout (de Volkskrant) makes it crystal clear that quantum magic has now extended its scope way beyond isolated laboratories and complex experiments. It’s not only that quanta are playing an increasingly important role in our everyday computers and smartphones – all chemistry is quantum-based, as are the colors around us. And Physicists have even rcognized quantum effects in living animals and plants.
The quantum has become real, perfectly normal. The strange thing is actually that we still pay so little attention to it.
In contemporary 2016, Real Quanta pictures the physicists Albert Einsteun and Niels Bohr walking into the famous Hotel Métropole in Brussels and taking a seat at the author’s table. Nearly a century ago, this is where they had their legendary disputes about quantum mechanics. Now it’s time to take stock of developments since then.