288 pages, b/w illustrations
What do your iPhone, the Large Hadron Collider and liquid helium at -272°C have in common? The Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, and the birth of steam and electricity, saw human life transformed by new materials and technology. Now we've reached the Quantum Age, the revolution led by our understanding of the very, very small. Today technologies based on quantum physics may account for as much as 30 per cent of GDP. Atoms, electrons, photons of light are all quantum particles, acting totally unlike the objects we experience.
This weird quantum behaviour lies at the heart of every electronic device and powers lasers in everything from DVDs to eye correction. It is also behind quantum biology, the astonishing new realisation that biological functions, from our ability to see and photosynthesis in plants to the amazing ability of birds to navigate, rely directly on quantum effects. Quantum physics also explains the strange world of the supercool, where fluids can climb out of containers, and the unrestrained power of the superconducting magnets that lie behind MRI scanners and the Large Hadron Collider. In the not too distant future it may even make Star Trek-like transporters a reality.
"I challenge anyone not to find it spellbinding."
- Nick Smith, E&T Magazine
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Science writer Brian Clegg studied physics at Cambridge University and specialises in making the strangest aspects of the universe, from infinity to time travel and quantum theory, accessible to the general reader. He is editor of www.popularscience.co.uk and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His previous books include Inflight Science, The Universe Inside You, Dice World and Introducing Infinity: A Graphic Guide.