Quantum differently



Let us be blunt: this book does not keep its promises. On the cover, we are told a book “Guaranteed without equation! “, and behold, from page 30, a barbarous series of blasts of Greek letters and incomprehensible constants appears. Rebelote page 139, with a mathematical aside that the author himself invites us to avoid if we do not like the equations. However, this broken promise does not discourage interested readers, because the other bet, that of popularization, is rather well taken up.

With judiciously found comparisons with philharmonic orchestras and Olympic divers, Julien Bobroff manages to make quantum physics almost understandable to the uninitiated. If the experiments invented to verify a whole bunch of quantum properties remain complicated to apprehend, the functioning of this strange world becomes readable and astonishing.

We discover that it is impossible to know both position and speed with precision, that certain elementary particles are rather hermit and others gregarious, or even that we can do “quantum photography” of kittens. Which animals successfully illustrate the part on the quantum computer, which is to revolutionize aeronautics, agriculture, the medical world and many other sectors.

In the end, the book is revealed in the image of its subject: a little quantum. Because its reading oscillates between moments of understanding which give the feeling of “See further by being on the shoulders of giants”, as Isaac Newton wrote, and passages where the fabric of the world seems to slip away before our fascinated but confused eyes.

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