Jul 31

Quantum Mechanics: The Physics of the Microscopic World, by Benjamin Schumacher ????

This was a hard series to rate, in that, while holding my interest, I fell asleep at the end of about all 24 of the lectures. Schumacher was not boring, so I couldn’t fault him. He also generated enough interest on my part to pull out some light reading books by Richard Feynman on Physics, and enquire about more substantial quantum mechanics textbooks. He brought back memories of Physical Chemistry which I took for one year in college, in which we used the essentials of quantum mechanics quite heavily for our calculations, but of which the third term was spent doing simple solutions of the Schrödinger equation for the hydrogen atom. It seemed a little strange trying to teach quantum mechanics without mathematics. So, it ended up being more a “Quantum Mechanics for Psychology Majors” class, something which nobody could really take seriously. Dr. Schumacher covered the history of quantum mechanics, some of the basic ideas, and discussion of how quantum mechanics differs from how we see and experience the macroscopic world. I found the discussion of his work in quantum informatics to be most interesting. Should he edit this course for a new edition, I would like to see him a) include more mathematics, even if it is not totally understood, b) speak more about the history of quantum mechanics, especially in the most recent several decades, and c) include more discussion of sub-atomic work, such as quarks, muons, etc. and discuss how they tie into the quantum mechanics discussion, and d) discuss more fully how relativity and quantum mechanics conflicts and interacts in understanding the universe.

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