Experimental Modern and Quantum Physics for Do-It-Yourself Science Enthusiasts 

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Modern/Quantum Physics Instructors: Adopt the Textbook

Teachers, instructors, and professors at accredited higher-learning institutions may request an evaluation copy of the book from J. Wiley & Sons.

 Shanni building and testing photoelectric effect setup

Why should you adopt this book as your Quantum Physics lab course textbook?

Our book explains Quantum Physics through hands-on experiments that the reader can perform at school. Throughout the book we guide the reader in the construction and use of setups to reproduce the key experiments that have brought us to our current understanding of the quantum world. Importantly, all of the experimental equipment can be built by the reader out of relatively inexpensive materials that are readily available at the hardware store or from on-line vendors of electronic surplus.

The projects that we describe range from simple measurements of Planck’s constant all the way to testing violations of Bell’s inequalities using entangled photons. The circuits actually work, and the schematics are completely readable. We kept the math simple, and provided clear explanations and analogies to make this book accessible to undergraduate students. However, we made sure not to compromise any of the fundamental concepts.

As such, our approach is completely different than the ones taken by prior authors. We teach Quantum Physics through the analysis of unique hands-on projects. Traditional college-level books merely present block-diagram views of experimental equipment, professional books are largely inaccessible to anyone without a graduate degree in Physics, and high-level hobby books restrict their scope to science-fair projects. In contrast, our book helps the reader discover the challenge and secrets of building scientific instruments to experiment and utilize the most bizarre, complex, and fascinating quantum phenomena.

Given the popularity of computer-based simulations and pre-packaged labs in the undergraduate curriculum, experimental and industrial physicists are often disappointed when trying to staff new projects that require hands-on involvement with real-world instrumentation. Hopefully our book will help prepare a new generation of physicists and engineers able to construct their own equipment to perform experimental work and develop new applications using these technologies.

In general, experimental physicists build and assemble apparatus tailored to their needs. A lab course based on this textbook would not only familiarize students with the classic experiments that lead to the creation and development of Quantum Mechanics, but it would also teach them to be experimental physicists.

Does this book replace my existing QP textbook?

No. This book complements your standard textbook. We kept the math simple, and provided clear explanations and analogies to make this book accessible. This is not ideal from a physicist’s perspective because it does not make use of the rigorous formalism required to fully understand the subject matter.

However, we believe that these simplifications are appropriate to engage undergraduate students without first requiring a paradigm shift. In any case, a laboratory course based on this book would be part of a comprehensive Physics curriculum in which students will be exposed to the formal language of professional physics. Nevertheless, even without further study, this book provides a proper understanding of the basic concepts, and is not conducive to the wrong interpretations and beliefs about quantum phenomena that plague the scientifically-minded, techno-savvy segment of the population.

What are the advantages of this book as a textbook?

Most of our experiments are do-it-yourself incarnations of commercial apparatuses currently used in undergraduate and graduate educational settings. All of these sources are prominently referenced and acknowledged throughout the book. As such, our approach has been to re-engineer what is only done in a few professional labs, and bring it down to an intermediate level that is eager to participate in this exciting field.

The projects that we describe range from simple measurements of Planck’s constant all the way to testing violations of Bell’s inequalities using entangled photons. The latter are not even described in graduate-level textbooks!

Lastly, every chapter includes a list of questions and lab experiments, and an available Instructor’s Guide should facilitate its adoption as a lab textbook.

 

 
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