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For most of us, quantum physics is an esoteric science that predicts phenomena that confound our intuition about how the world works. Abstract and exotic, it has no relevance to our everyday lives. But, believe it or not, we’re surrounded by evidence of the connection between our quotidian world and the quantum world.
Providing some context, Union College associate physics professor and popular-science book author Chad Orzel points out that the red glow of a toaster’s heating element led Max Planck to introduce quantum mechanics as a desperate trick; digital sensors in cameras and phones depend on the quantum nature of light introduced when Albert Einstein used Planck's “trick” to explain the photoelectric effect; and the modern Internet depends on Einstein's quantum theory of light and Niels Bohr's quantum model of the atom, making fiber-optic telecommunications possible. And so on.
(We left out the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat. Look it up.)
Orzel digs into the surprisingly complicated physics involved in his (and anyone’s) routine with engaging, layperson-level explanations of the ideas central to modern physics.
His new book, Breakfast with Einstein (BenBella Books), is available for sale and signing.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)