Reviews

Dr James Cresser  Quantum Physicist, Macquarie University

Qbits – The Perseids Adventure

Peter asked me in an unofficial capacity as his past lecturer in Quantum Physics to read Qbits, a book aimed at inspiring young readers to be interested in science by combining some science facts with a fantasy world.

The uncovering of the laws of quantum mechanics is arguably the most profound achievement of the human intellect. Through a deep understanding of these laws, our most imaginative and creative thinkers have produced discoveries ranging from the mundane to the marvellous, from the bizarre to utter bewilderment.

But what if we take these laws and stretch them a little. Then a little more again, till they almost, but not quite, snap. Then play out the consequences in the minds and the life of two otherwise everyday Aussie chaps Tom and Scott whose real world lines cross the virtual world lines of some of our most famous scientists who come to 'life' in an other-worldly quantum mechanical reality. The result is a first-time book by Peter Fitzgerald which is a perversely delicious mixture of extreme physics, furious adventure, and improbable possibilities in an astonishingly imaginative outpouring that pushes to the limits what might happen when quantum mechanics really meets the real world.

The flights of fancy of the main story are leavened with snippets of 'real' information about the world from a physicist's perspective, more than enough to make any young reader, for whom the book is intended, to start to wonder that maybe, just maybe, the world of science is a world very worthwhile exploring. Who knows where their adventures in science might take them.

Perhaps to places as intriguing as where the quantum adventures of Tom and Scott have taken them now, and may take them next.

 

Dr James Cresser (Quantum Physics Dept - Macquarie University)

James Cresser obtained a PhD in theoretical physics in 1979 from the University of Queensland. There followed a post-doctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany in 1980-82, a second post-doctoral position at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, 1982-84. He took up a position at Macquarie University in mid-1985. Most recent work has been on non-Markovian open systems, quantum trajectory theory and thermodynamics of quantum systems.

Qbits- the Perseids adventure

What happens when four great scientists- Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Albert Einstein- are reincarnated in a quantum universe and unleashed on an unsuspecting world?

Fortunately, since they have access to any file, database or person they choose, they're actually trying to save the planet, assisted by two young scientists. best life insurance plan

Tom Jackson and Scott 'Mad Dog' Maddocks are trying to lead a normal life as researchers and lecturers at the University of Sydney – drinking coffee, playing rugby and partying. But the Qbits can (and will) summon them to the Great Hall whenever they choose, to provide updates on a world-threatening situation and what the US president has said, watch a live feed from the military drone they've hijacked or just to complain about each other. Never meet your heroes, right?

You can't help sympathising with Tom, he has these wannabe superheroes living inside his head. Now, with a satellite heading towards Earth and the CIA on his trail, he has to hope that the Qbits are smart enough to get him out of these situations. After all, they're usually the ones who got him into it in the first place. best life insurance plan

The goal of Qbits is to inspire at least one teenager or adult to follow a career in science, but it's also an extremely enjoyable read. First-time author Peter Fitzgerald has combined chaotic adventures, fascinating facts from Shrodinger's cat, and the hilarious Qbits to create a book that is part adventure story, part science fiction. Let's hope there is a sequel.

Gabriela Munoz | Editor
Science Illustrated Magazine

Qbits – The Perseids Adventure

By Peter Fitzgerald

Peter Fitzgerald’s Qbits is science and is fiction, but not a stereotypical science fiction novel.  Rather, it’s an adventure tale that refers to science.

Tom Jackson, a first year lecturer and research physicist at University of Sydney, dabbles in small inventions, one of them a quantum storage device worn as a ring.

Tom is struck by lightning and the device becomes embedded in his body. 

When he awakes he discovers that he can send and receive email, talk on the phone and access any information in the world, all from inside his head.

He is randomly teleported to a quantum universe through Watto, a portal key to the Great Hall where the Qbits reside. The Qbits are the modernised versions of Albert Einstein (Alby), Galileo Galilei (GG), Marie Curie (Mac) and Sir Isaac Newton (Newts). 

treadmill deck

There are no boundaries in this quantum universe. GG, the rebel of the bunch, discovers that a Perseids meteorite shower will hit Norway and takes it upon himself to notify the US president, the CIA and NASA.

Fitzgerald’s cast of past and present scientists takes the reader on a wild adventure. From the virtual Area 51 files to the outer regions of space, this extreme and exciting tale brings the wonderful study of science to life.

Dot Whittington

The Weekender

treadmill console

Qbits by Peter Fitzgerald

THE author says that the goal of writing this funny, whimsical and hugely informative book is to encourage a teenager or young adult to pursue a career in science, and I reckon he has certainly created the platform to do so.

In this fictional adventure filled with a treasure trove of scientific facts, we meet Tom Jackson who is a young research physicist and lecturer at Sydney University. He has created a whole other world in his head – a world inhabited by the Qbits  – GG (Galileo Galilei), Mac (Marie Curie), Alby (Albert Einstein) and Newts (Sir Isaac Newton). Tom reaches this world through quantum teleportation - although not by choice. He seems to be summoned at will by the Qbits who meet in The Great Hall.

baby bed mattress

As the Qbits try to save the world from colliding satellites and a nuclear explosion, Tom and his scientist friend `Mad Dog’ are sent to the Global Svalbard Seed Vault near the North Pole where a huge meteor storm is fast approaching. Everyone in the world is now involved in saving the planet – the Russians, the CIA, NASA…

This book is way out of the box – these Qbits even start Facebook pages. The author makes this book so accessible because the two main characters, Tom and Mad Dog, are just regular guys who love their coffee; and the Qbit scientists are as funny, vain, welcoming and competitive as the rest of us.

Excellent originality, a rip-roaring adventure suited to readers from primary school age onwards. And so many interesting facts, that Fitzgerald has made science interesting.

baby crib

Wendy O’Hanlon, Acres Australia.

QBITS: The Perseids Adventure

Sid Harta Publishers

FIRST-TIME Sydney author Peter Fitzgerald's labour of love is a rollicking, highly imaginative blend of science, fiction, adventure and typical Aussie larrikinism.

And, creditably, in what may or may not be a first for its target audience, neither a vampire nor an inappropriate body function are in sight here.

garden office

Fitzgerald is a businessman who has worked as an adviser for the revered Lowy family of Westfield fame. But it is his passion for science, which he believes ``will solve the problems of the world (not finance)'', that shines through in Qbits.

So, the plot: two young scientists _ Tom Jackson and Scott ``Mad Dog'' Maddocks _ are Sydney Uni lecturers. The former is struck by lightning, which propels him into the world of Qbits quantum reality, inhabited by the incarnations of four of our greatest ever minds _ Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Galileo Galilei and Sir Isaac Newton.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

Tom and Mad Dog have, until now, lived uncomplicated lives involving teaching, rugby, beer, the famous Harry's Cafe de Wheels, and coffee (lots of coffee ... one suspects it might also play a not insignificant role in the author's life).

But then the Qbits Famous Four join the plot, with a plan to save the planet, utilising our two protagonsists as the most unlikely of heroes.

Tom and Mad Dog convince US President Bob Neil that they're on to something, and they're soon whisked off, first-class, to Svalbard, between Norway and the North Pole, home of the Global Seed Vault, which is about to be bombarded by the Perseids meteor shower, as well as other unsavoury characters.

Freezing water, diamonds and terrorists follow as Tom and Mad Dog try to save the day ... with the help of the Qbits, of course.

It's all imagination-stretching stuff that will appeal not only to its teen target audience, but also adults who haven't let cynicism blind memories of their inner child.

Admirably, Fitzgerald uses countless fact-explaining asides by what must be Schrodinger's cat to achieve what Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy did in the late 1970s _ that this on-the-surface implausible yarn is actually mildly plausible ... and hence even more enjoyable.


Mike Sparrow  |  Sunday Herald Sun

The Herald & Weekly Times Pty Limited

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