Quantum, By Manjit Kumar

By combining personalities and physics – both of an intriguingly quirky nature – Kumar transforms the sub-atomic debate between Einstein, Niels Bohr and others in their respective circles into an absorbing and (generally) comprehensible narrative.

Though all of us can relish the revelation that Schrodinger's wave equation was inspired by a "late erotic outburst" with a lover in the Alps, only specialists will grasp Kumar's explanation of electron distribution: "For n=2, either k=1 and m=0 or k=2 and m=-1.01."

Though such opacities are rare, we can feel sympathy for Wolfgang Paul: "Physics at the moment is again very muddled... for me it is too complicated. I wish I were a film comedian."

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