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.

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