Mark's Reviews > Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher

Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman
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's review
Jun 22, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: science-popular, physics, essays-lectures, loc-lib-b4, loc-library
Recommended for: those interested in a straightforward introduction to quantum mechanical "weirdness"

If you have heard about the "weirdness" of quantum mechanics but don't know what the hype is all about, look no further than chapter six of this book. In chapter six, with his usual down-to-earth approach, Feynman describes one of the most famous experiments in physics (the double-slit experiment) and what it tells us about the way fundamental particles behave. He compares the behavior of "lumps" to the behavior of "waves" before moving on to the behavior of electrons... and the outcome might surprise you (it surprised early 20th-century physicists, too). This is a classic lesson in quantum mechanics taught by one of the classic teachers of physics. And there's no math required.

I only gave this book two stars because the other five lectures in this book aren't overly memorable and come nowhere near to being Feynman's greatest lessons. But chapter six alone makes this book worth picking up, especially if you want an introduction to wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, and the conundrum of quantum measurement that is accessible to the layperson but that also demands that you stretch your mind. It's a brief introduction that cuts to the essence of what is going on and, while giving you a decent grounding, will leave you ready to dig deeper and learn more.
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