Motion Mountain - The Quantum of Change: Volume IV of The Adventure of Physics

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Contents

The Quantum of Change

1 Minimum action – quantum theory for poets

The effects of the quantum of action on rest

The consequences of the quantum of action for objects

Why `quantum'?

The effect of the quantum of action on motion

The surprises of the quantum of action

Transformation, life and Democritus

Randomness – a consequence of the quantum of action

Waves – a consequence of the quantum of action

Particles – a consequence of the quantum of action

Quantum information

Curiosities and fun challenges about the quantum of action

The dangers of buying a can of beans

A summary: quantum physics, the law and indoctrination

2 Light – the strange consequences of the quantum of action

How do faint lamps behave?

Photons

What is light?

The size of photons

Are photons countable? – Squeezed light

The positions of photons

Are photons necessary?

Interference: how can a wave be made up of particles?

Interference of a single photon

Reflection and diffraction deduced from photon arrows

Refraction and partial reflection from photon arrows

From photons to waves

Can light move faster than light? – Real and virtual photons

Indeterminacy of electric fields

How can virtual photon exchange lead to attraction?

Can two photons interfere?

Curiosities and fun challenges about photons

A summary on light: particle and wave

3 Motion of matter – beyond classical physics

Wine glasses, pencils and atoms – no rest

No infinite measurement precision

Cool gas

Flows and the quantization of matter

Fluid flows and quantons

Knocking tables and quantized conductivity

Matter quantons and their motion – matter waves

Mass and acceleration of quantons

Why are atoms not flat? Why do shapes exist?

Rotation, quantization of angular momentum, and the lack of north poles

Rotation of quantons

Silver, Stern and Gerlach – polarization of quantons

Curiosities and fun challenges about quantum matter

First summary on the motion of quantum particles

4 The quantum description of matter and its motion

States and measurements – the wave function

Visualizing the wave function: rotating arrows and probability clouds

The state evolution – the Schrödinger equation

Self-interference of quantons

The speed of quantons

Dispersion of quantons

Tunnelling and limits on memory – damping of quantons

The quantum phase

Can two electron beams interfere? Are there coherent electron beams?

The least action principle in quantum physics

The motion of quantons with spin

Relativistic wave equations

Bound motion, or composite vs. elementary quantons

Curiosities and fun challenges about quantum motion of matter

A summary on motion of matter quantons

5 Permutation of particles – are particles like gloves?

Distinguishing macroscopic objects

Distinguishing atoms

Why does indistinguishability appear in nature?

Can quantum particles be counted?

What is permutation symmetry?

Indistinguishability and wave function symmetry

The behaviour of photons

Bunching and antibunching

The energy dependence of permutation symmetry

Indistinguishability in quantum field theory

How accurately is permutation symmetry verified?

Copies, clones and gloves

Summary

6 Rotations and statistics – visualizing spin

Quantum particles and symmetry

Types of quantum particles

Spin 1/2 and tethered objects

The extension of the belt trick

Angels, Pauli's exclusion principle and the hardness of matter

Is spin a rotation about an axis?

Rotation requires antiparticles

Why is fencing with laser beams impossible?

Spin, statistics and composition

The size and density of matter

A summary on spin and indistinguishability

Limits and open questions of quantum statistics

7 Superpositions and probabilities – quantum theory without ideology

Why are people either dead or alive?

Macroscopic superpositions, coherence and incoherence

Decoherence is due to baths

How baths lead to decoherence – scattering

How baths lead to decoherence – relaxation

Summary on decoherence, life and death

What is a system? What is an object?

Entanglement

Is quantum theory non-local? A bit about the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox

Curiosities and fun challenges about superpositions

Why do probabilities and wave function collapse appear in measurements?

Why is h necessary for probabilities?

Hidden variables

Summary on probabilities and determinism

What is the difference between space and time?

Are we good observers?

What relates information theory, cryptology and quantum theory?

Is the universe a computer?

Does the universe have a wave function? And initial conditions?

8 Colours and other interactions between light and matter

The causes of colour

Using the rainbow to determine what stars are made of

What determines the colours of atoms?

The shape of atoms

The size of atoms

Relativistic hydrogen

Relativistic wave equations – again

Getting a first feeling for the Dirac equation

Antimatter

Virtual particles

Curiosities and fun challenges about colour and atoms

Material properties

A tough challenge: the strength of electromagnetism

A summary on colours and materials

9 Quantum physics in a nutshell

Physical results of quantum theory

Results on the motion of quantum particles

Achievements in accuracy and precision

Is quantum theory magic?

Quantum theory is exact, but can do more

A Units, measurements and constants

SI units

The meaning of measurement

Planck's natural units

Other unit systems

Curiosities and fun challenges about units

Precision and accuracy of measurements

Limits to precision

Physical constants

Useful numbers

B Numbers and vector spaces

Numbers as mathematical structures

Complex numbers

Quaternions

Octonions

Other types of numbers

From vector spaces to Hilbert spaces

Mathematical curiosities and fun challenges

Challenge hints and solutions

Bibliography

Credits

Acknowledgements

Film credits

Image credits

Name index

Subject index

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