Einstein and the Quantum reveals for the first time the full significance of Albert Einstein’s contributions to quantum theory. Einstein famously rejected quantum mechanics, observing that God does not play dice. But, in fact, he thought more about the nature of atoms, molecules, and the emission and absorption of light—the core of what we now know as quantum theory—than he did about relativity.
A compelling blend of physics, biography, and the history of science, Einstein and the Quantum shares the untold story of how Einstein—not Max Planck or Niels Bohr—was the driving force behind early quantum theory. It paints a vivid portrait of the iconic physicist as he grappled with the apparently contradictory nature of the atomic world, in which its invisible constituents defy the categories of classical physics, behaving simultaneously as both particle and wave. And it demonstrates how Einstein’s later work on the emission and absorption of light, and on atomic gases, led directly to Erwin Schrödinger’s breakthrough to the modern form of quantum mechanics. The book sheds light on why Einstein ultimately renounced his own brilliant work on quantum theory, due to his deep belief in science as something objective and eternal.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the 2014 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, Phi Beta Kappa Society
- One of Physics World's Top Ten Books of the Year for 2014
- One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014
- One of Scientific American’s Best 2013 Books for the Physics Fan, chosen by Jennifer Ouellette
- One of Science Friday’s Science Book Picks for 2013, chosen by Ira Flatow
- One of nbc.com’s "Holiday Gift Books Span the Science Spectrum" for 2014
A. Douglas Stone is the Carl A. Morse Professor of Applied Physics and Physics at Yale University.
"Common lore holds that Einstein's essential contribution to physics is relativity. But in this scholarly and accessible book, A. Douglas Stone argues convincingly that Einstein had a profound impact on the development of quantum theory. With lively, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable prose, Stone's account is bound to be a definitive history of the subject, vividly establishing that Einstein's genius permeates one of the most startling advances in twentieth-century science."—Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
"With his lucid and engaging style, A. Douglas Stone has captured one of the most interesting tales in the history of science. Despite Einstein's later discomfort with quantum theory, Stone shows how absolutely instrumental Einstein was in its development. It's a wonderful story that reveals the essence of Einstein's genius and creativity, and Stone is exactly the right person to tell it. I can hear Einstein chuckling in anticipation."—Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe and Steve Jobs
"A. Douglas Stone argues that the scientist best known as the creator of relativity theory was also the originator and substantial developer of almost every concept in the quantum mechanics that dominates today's physics. In this scholarly, convincing, and eloquently presented account, Einstein's personal and cultural lives are seamlessly interwoven with his science. I learned a great deal from Einstein and the Quantum, and recommend it to working physicists as well as students and nonscientists wishing to understand a central aspect of the cultural history of the twentieth century."—Michael Berry, University of Bristol
"A. Douglas Stone, a physicist who has spent his life using quantum mechanics to explore striking new phenomena, has turned his considerable writing skills to thinking about Einstein and the quantum. What he finds and makes broadly understandable are the riches of Einstein's thinking not about relativity, not about his arguments with Bohr, but about Einstein's deep insights into the quantum world, insights that Stone shows speak to us now with all the vividness and depth they had a century ago. This is a fascinating book, lively, engaging, and strong in physical intuition."—Peter Galison, author of Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps
"Max Born said, 'Einstein is . . . clearly involved in the foundation of wave mechanics and no alibi can disprove it.' In this informative and engaging book, A. Douglas Stone cracks the case and reveals Einstein's fingerprints all over the subject."—Richard L. Garwin, physicist, recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award and the National Medal of Science
"There's a lot of really good stuff in this book. I enjoyed it enormously. I know of no other book that covers Einstein's role in quantum mechanics so accessibly."—Daniel F. Styer, author of Relativity for the Questioning Mind