Book Review: Constructing Reality – John Marburger

Title: Constructing Reality
Author: John Marburger
ISBN: 9781107004832
Pages: 296
Release Date: September 30, 2011
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Genre: Science, Non-Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

In this introduction to quantum theory and the Standard Model of Particles, physics professor John Marburger explains key concepts behind these complicated ideas using as little mathematics as possible.

Review:

Constructing Reality is the perfect resource for the layperson interested in quantum physics.  John Marburger makes every effort to explain these difficult concepts in the simplest language possible.  He cannot always avoid using mathematics to explain concepts, especially when simple math is the most efficient way to express something, but he makes sure to explain his thinking clearly and thoroughly to the reader.  This doesn’t mean that this book is in any way easy to read, but it’s one of the most accessible introductions to particle physics that I’ve read.

Marburger breaks up the book into small concepts; each chapter is devoted to an overall idea, and he uses sections in each chapter to explain that idea in small parts.  As a result, everything is broken down into its smallest pieces.  Readers can spend time understanding each individual thought, and these build up to the more complex ideas.  It’s a great way to understand the subject in a piecemeal fashion, especially because, as Marburger says,

“Quantum theory, the very framework for the modern description of Nature, is strange almost beyond belief.”

If you have no interest in quantum theory, of course, I would stay away from this book.  But if you have a casual interest in the subject, whether because of your occupation or (like me) a fascination with the universe around us, Marburger’s book is a great place to start.  It will help you to develop an understanding of the fundamentals in the clearest (and most math-free) way possible.

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Comments

  1. While I am interested in this subject, and would love to read a book that deals with it in layman’s terms, I also know that I am not the best student of science, and am a little intimidated by this book. I do think it sounds rather interesting, and your mention that Marburger uses very little math in his explanations has me a little more curious than I would have been otherwise. I bet this is something that my husband would love though, and after having read it he could let me know if it would be interesting to me. This was a quite impressive review of a quite impressive book. Thanks!

  2. While I am interested in this subject, and would love to read a book that deals with it in layman’s terms, I also know that I am not the best student of science, and am a little intimidated by this book. I do think it sounds rather interesting, and your mention that Marburger uses very little math in his explanations has me a little more curious than I would have been otherwise. I bet this is something that my husband would love though, and after having read it he could let me know if it would be interesting to me. This was a quite impressive review of a quite impressive book. Thanks!

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