© 2007

Quantum Mechanics at the Crossroads

New Perspectives from History, Philosophy and Physics


Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Table of contents

About this book


Quantum mechanics is a beautiful, strange and successful theory that originated in the 1920s. The theory, which Niels Bohr regarded as finished and complete, has in the last few decades rapidly developed in unexpected directions. An intense new focus on the stranger aspects of the theory, including entanglement and nonlocality, has resulted in new perceptions of the foundations of quantum mechanics, as well as surprising new exploitations of quantum phenomena. Historians and philosophers of science have also renewed their attention to quantum mechanics, opening up its human dimensions and asking searching questions about its meaning. This volume brings together new insights from different vantage points: Historians of physics, such as J. L. Heilbron; philosophers of science, such as Abner Shimony and Michel Bitbol; and quantum physicists, such as Wolfgang Ketterle and Roland Omnès, join forces to tackle essential questions in quantum mechanics and its interpretation. All the authors have written for a broad readership, and the resulting volume will appeal to everyone wishing to keep abreast of new developments in quantum mechanics, as well as its history and philosophy.


Entanglement History of physics Philosophy of physics quantum mechanics science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of Puget SoundTacomaUSA

About the authors

James Evans is a historian of science and professor of physics at the University of Puget Sound. He is the author of The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy, as well of numerous articles on the history of physics. His scientific papers include studies of optical-mechanical analogies in the context of general relativity.

Alan Thorndike is a professor of physics at the University of Puget Sound. His first field of research involved the behavior of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, but he is now engaged with experimental quantum optics.

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

"The book intends to present recent work in the history, philosophy, and application of quantum concepts in a manner accessible by non-specialists. … I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone with a background in quantum mechanics who wants a broader overview … . Reading the book has filled in some blanks in my history/philosophy/physics education, just as I expected." (Jan-Åke Larsson, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Vol. 39, 2008)

"This pedagogical work is a collection of informative articles on the history, philosophy, and practice of quantum mechanics. … Evans and Thorndike have published a very informative and insightful book for anyone interested in the history, philosophy, and practice of quantum mechanics." (Howard E. Brandt, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2009 g)