The Quantum Age

Brian Clegg does a superb job of explaining complicated scientific concepts

John Gribbin

In Books of the Year: Times Higher Education & Symmetry Magazine

The Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Steam and Electrical Ages all saw the reach of humankind transformed by new technology. Now we are living in the Quantum Age, a revolution in everyday life led by our understanding of the very, very small.

Today, technologies based on quantum physics account for 30 per cent of US GDP, and yet quantum particles such as atoms, electrons and photons remain enigmatic, acting totally unlike the objects we experience directly. Weird quantum behaviour is also essential to nature. From the mechanism of the Sun to quantum biology in our eyesight, photosynthesis in plants and the ability of birds to navigate, quantum effects are key.

Quantum physics lies at the heart of every electronic device, every smartphone and laser, and now quantum superconductors have moved out of the lab to make levitating trains and MRI scanners possible, while soon superfast, ultra-secure quantum computers may be a reality.

Acclaimed popular science author Brian Clegg brings his trademark clarity and enthusiasm to a book that will give the world around you a new sense of wonder.

Hear Brian discussing The Quantum Age on Radio 4's Today programme:

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: Reviews


Written with small chapters on so many areas of physics, Clegg easily guides us along the way and is never too dry. The incredibly exhilarating and intricate subject of subatomic particles, probability and uncertainty can seem daunting or impenetrable but The Quantum Age is a wonderfully rich introduction to quantum mechanics and the narrative surrounding it. I’m off to investigate further. Alicia Sometimes, Science Book a Day

Clegg's enthusiasm is catching, his science immaculate. The Good Book Guide

Quantum mechanics is a notoriously convoluted subject and it can be all too easy to get lost in a forest of mathematical details and differing philosophical interpretations. In this entertaining and accessible book, Brian Clegg avoids these pitfalls by explaining the weirdness of quantum mechanics through the effects it has on the world around us and the technologies we use... The Quantum Age is a great introduction to quantum physics, the people who have studied it and the effect that is has on our everyday lives. The book is aimed at non-specialists, but the inclusion of contemporary results and discussions means that even the more informed reader should find plenty to think about. Jonathan Prance, Chemistry World

If you are looking for an enjoyable read into all things quantum physics and how it is applied to everyday life, look no further. Michael Banks, BBC Focus Magazine

Clegg is the perfect writer to introduce us to the world of 'small stuff' because he's keenly aware of how silly scientists can sound... We used to live in a world of big things, says Clegg. But now everything is small and the thing that confuses people is that things on the quantum level aren't simply miniature versions of the normal stuff. This is where he gets interesting, because this is where most people switch off, only with The Quantum Age you don't. And the main reason for this is that it's the work of a man of unbridled enthusiasm... I challenge anyone not to find it spellbinding. Nick Smith, Engineering & Technology Magazine

It's not that Clegg doesn't explain the basics of quantum theory; he does this exceptionally well. But what sets this book apart is the way it focuses on the applications of quantum physics - the things that have changed our lives and brought us to what Clegg calls the 'quantum age'. Truly fascinating. Peet Morris, Times Higher Education

Brian Clegg does a superb job of explaining complicated scientific concepts in easily understood language. The Quantum Age is his best book yet, because the concepts he explains are central to our everyday lives in the 21st century, even though most people think they are incomprehensible and abstruse. From how the Sun keeps shining to the quantum computer revolution there is plenty here to enthral and entertain, as well as to inform.. John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrodinger's Cat and Computing With Quantum Cats

I very much enjoyed Brian Clegg’s The Quantum Age, which focuses on tangible applications of quantum physics to objects and phenomena that we now take for granted. Professor Cait MacPhee’s selection for Times Higher Education’s Books of the Year

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