One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and a great ability to tell the stories of his life. In one of the book’s many stories we meet his first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love’s mystery as she lay dying in a hospital while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. Feynman also discusses the investigation of the 1986 explosion of the Challenger space shuttle and his experiment that revealed the disaster’s cause.
Quantum mechanics (QM; also known as quantum physics, or quantum theory) is a fundamental branch of physics which deals with physical phenomena at nanoscopic scales, where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. The name derives from the observation that some physical quantities can change only in discrete amounts (Latin quanta), and not in a continuous (cf. analog) way. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the quantum realm of atomic and subatomic length scales. Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. Quantum mechanics provides a substantially useful framework for many features of the modern periodic table of elements, including the behavior of atoms during chemical bonding, and has played a significant role in the development of many modern technologies.