Quantum Physics Books

Quantum physics is one of the most complex concepts in modern physics and a number of books have come out in an effort to explain these quantum concepts to the general public. Here are some of them.

In The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does), physicists Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw explore the way quantum physics manifests at the most basic level to create the world of our everyday experience ... using rules that completely violate the intuitions that come from that experience. This book is a little more mathematically intimidating than some other books for lay audiences, but it doesn't include anything that goes really beyond high school algebra and geometry. If you want to really understand the important role quantum physics plays in our universe, this really is one of the best books you can begin with.

Cover from The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics by James Kakalios. Duckworth Overlook

This entertaining account focuses on the pulp adventures of the early twentieth century to provide a grounding for the science concepts that came out of new discoveries in quantum physics throughout that century. One of the best aspects of this book is the clear explanation on why the world is so different from what the pulps predicted: It turns out that energy is expensive, but information is relatively cheap. Thus an information revolution, but no ray guns or flying cars. More »

Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind & Art Friedman. Basic Books

This book by theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind and his co-author Art Friedman is a densely math-oriented book, which ignores the conceptual understanding about the nature of reality in favor of explaining how one works with the equations to perform quantum mechanical calculations. If you're familiar on the conceptual aspect of quantum physics and are comfortable with math, then this is the next step to figuring out how physics works. More »

Quantum Enigma book cover. Oxford University Press
In this book, physics professors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explore the controversial role of consciousness in quantum theory. Though this relationship was deeply explored by many physicists in the early days of the development of quantum physics, these days physicists who work in quantum theory don't spend much time (officially) contemplating this relationship, because they can perform the calculations without worrying about the exact way that the quantum phenomena collapse into classical phenomena. More »
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Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos

The cover to Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos by Seth Lloyd. Alfred A. Knopf publishers

In this book, MIT professor Seth Lloyd explains how research into quantum computers can be used to explore the fundamental nature of the universe. Lloyd is an expert in quantum information theory, which seeks to treat all of the universe as pieces of quantum information. In this model, the universe is sort of like a giant quantum computer, manipulating data. The end result is that the entire universe comes about through the processing of this data.

The cover to Quantum Physics and Theology by John Polkinghorne. Yale University Press
In this book, John Polkinghorne - a physicist turned Anglican priest - discusses the thematic similarities that he perceives between the methodologies that physicists use to explore quantum physics and those applied by priests and theologians to the study of Christianity. This book isn't a "Secret" style book creating false connections between science and religion, but rather a measured analysis of how the methodologies are similar. There's perhaps not quite as much emphasis on the clear differences between these methodologies as I think are warranted, but it's interesting to see how Polkinghorne sees the connections between two fields which, to many, are about as opposite as they come. More »