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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Quantum of Science

It might be no solace, but this has nothing to do with James Bond...
Some time last century, I studied for an Open University degree, tackling over six years the subjects I wasn’t too good at rather than the easier options of the arts. I mixed and matched Maths; Science; Psychology, Brain and Behaviour; Statistics; Economics; Computing and Computers; and Complexity, Management and Change. While I found all of these disciplines enlightening, I was most taken with the latter, plus science and psychology. A number of books I read as background material blew me away, not least Darwin’s The Origin of the Species, The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra and John Gribbin’s Spacewarps and Timewarps, to name a few.

Such authors are able to make complex subjects comprehensible and transmit the wonder of science and scientific thought. One such writer is Brian Clegg, who has written an impressive number of science oriented books - see here.

The Quantum Age, his latest work, is due out on Thursday, 5 June but can be pre-ordered now.

The blurb goes like this: Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Steam and Electrical Ages all saw the reach of humankind transformed by new technology. Now we are living in the Quantum Age, a revolution in everyday life led by our understanding of the very, very small.

Today, technologies based on quantum physics account for 30 per cent of US GDP, and yet quantum particles such as atoms, electrons and photons remain enigmatic, acting totally unlike the objects we experience directly. Weird quantum behaviour is also essential to nature. From the mechanism of the Sun to quantum biology in our eyesight, photosynthesis in plants and the ability of birds to navigate, quantum effects are key.

Quantum physics lies at the heart of every electronic device, every smartphone and laser, and now quantum superconductors have moved out of the lab to make levitating trains and MRI scanners possible, while soon superfast, ultra-secure quantum computers may be a reality.

Acclaimed popular science author Brian Clegg brings his trademark clarity and enthusiasm to a book that will give the world around you a new sense of wonder.

Veteran science writer John Gribbin commented: 'Brian Clegg does a superb job of explaining complicated scientific concepts in easily understood language. The Quantum Age is his best book yet, because the concepts he explains are central to our everyday lives in the 21st century, even though most people think they are incomprehensible and abstruse. From how the Sun keeps shining to the quantum computer revolution there is plenty here to enthrall and entertain, as well as to inform.'

You can find out more at

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