More Than One MysteryExplorations in Quantum Interference

Springer-Verlag, 1995

ISBN 0-387-94340-4 (hardcover)
ISBN 0-387-94376-5 (softcover)

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Publisher's Commentary

'Because atomic behaviour is so unlike ordinary experience', wrote Richard Feynman, 'it is very difficult to get used to, and it appears strange and mysterious to everyone - both to the novice and to the experienced physicist.' At the core of the strange behaviour lies quantum interference. 'In reality', Feynman wrote, 'it contains the only mystery.' To author Mark P. Silverman, however, the puzzling nature of quantum behaviour is multifaceted. By examining a few conceptually simple models, such as the two-level atom and the two-slit interferometer, the Professor Silverman probes the perplexing consequences of the 'ghostly' long-range effects that correlated particles exert on each other, the deep connection between spin and the statistics of identical particles, and the fundamental role of topology in the interactions of charged particles and electromagnetic fields. Silverman - whose experimental and theoretical work on electron interferometry, atomic spectroscopy, and the optics of chiral media is internationally recognised - concludes: There is more than one mystery in the intriguing world of quantum mechanics.

Reviewer's Commentary

This is a beautiful and clear exposition of how quantum interference, non-locality, and long-range correlations interweave to produce characteristically quantum effects that have no classical counterparts. Silverman creatively unmasks the features of the quantum domain to reveal the subtle workings of entangled states, second-order correlations, photon bunching, and interference in time and so on. Throughout the book, Silverman shows considerable awareness of and sensitivity to discursive techniques. The text is well-structured and punctuated by effective rhetorical questions. He also places issues in context by briefly reporting the debates that surround them.