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But one of the most amazing things about quantum mechanics is that you can use it correctly and productively even if you're confused by it.
I present in the introduction what I call a "workingman's view" of quantum mechanics and show how if you accept on faith three weird ideas—that light is a photon; that matter has a wavelength nature associated with its motion; and that everything, light and matter, has an intrinsic angular momentum or spin that can only have discrete values—it turns out that you can then see how lasers work.
The beautiful aspect to this is the scientists who developed this were not trying to make a cell phone; they were not trying to invent a CD player.
If you went to Schrödinger in 1926 and said, "Nice equation, Erwin. " He's not going to say, "Well, if you want to store music in a compact digital format..." But without the curiosity-driven understanding of how atoms behave, how they interact with each other, and how they interact with light, the world we live in would be profoundly different.
To make a more powerful computer meant that you had to have more vacuum tubes.
Physicist James Kakalios, author of The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics, wants people to know what quantum physics has done for them lately--and why it shouldn't take the rap for New Age self-realization hokum such as The Secret What could be weirder than quantum mechanics?What happens in a laser is you have a little mezzanine right below the balcony.You get promoted up to the balcony but then you fall and you sit in the mezzanine.You can see how a transistor works or your computer hard drive or magnetic resonance imaging—a host of technologies that we take for granted that pretty much define our life.There were computers before the transistor; they used vacuum tubes as logic elements.
Without quantum mechanics there would be no transistor, and hence no personal computer; no laser, and hence no Blu-ray players.