Books

COMING SOON: Quantum Theory

Oxford University Press, 2021

ISBN 9780192896308 (hardback), 9780192896315 (paperback)

 

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Recent advances in quantum technology - from quantum computers and simulators to secure communication and metrology - have not only opened up a whole new world of practical applications but also changed our understanding of quantum theory itself. This text, for the first time, introduces quantum theory entirely from this new perspective. It does away with the traditional approach to quantum theory as a theory of microscopic matter, and instead focuses on quantum theory as a framework for information processing. Accordingly, the emphasis is on concepts like measurement, probability, statistical correlations, and transformations, rather than on waves and particles. This affords a simple, direct route to quantum theory, all the way to some of its most fascinating conceptual issues. Since it requires only minimal mathematics and virtually no prior knowledge of physics, it is accessible to younger undergraduates and students of neighbouring disciplines.

The text offers a unique blend of insights both into the physical foundations and the practical application of quantum theory. It begins with a discussion of experimental evidence that forces us to abandon the classical description and to critically re-examine such basic notions as measurement, probability, and state. The thorough investigation of these concepts leads to the alternative framework of quantum theory, set in complex Hilbert space. The requisite mathematics is developed carefully and always linked to its operational meaning. This part of the text culminates in an exploration of some of the most vexing foundational issues of quantum theory, regarding locality, non-contextuality, and realism. The second half of the text explains how the peculiar features of quantum theory may be harnessed to tackle information processing tasks that are intractable or even impossible classically. It provides the essential tools for understanding and designing the pertinent protocols, and discusses a diverse range of examples representative of current quantum technology. These include standard examples like the secure distribution of cryptographic keys, as well as less known applications such as entanglement-assisted metrology. Throughout the text there is a wealth of classroom-tested and at times unconventional exercises.

Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Oxford University Press, 2017

ISBN 9780199595068 (hardback), 9780199595075 (paperback)

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Statistical physics and thermodynamics describe the behaviour of systems on the macroscopic scale. Their methods are applicable to a wide range of phenomena: from refrigerators to the interior of stars, from chemical reactions to magnetism. Indeed, of all physical laws, the laws of thermodynamics are perhaps the most universal.

 

This text provides a concise yet thorough introduction to the key concepts which underlie statistical physics and thermodynamics. It begins with a review of classical probability theory and quantum theory, as well as a careful discussion of the notions of information and entropy, prior to embarking on the development of statistical physics proper. The crucial steps leading from the microscopic to the macroscopic domain are rendered transparent. In particular, the laws of thermodynamics are shown to emerge as natural consequences of the statistical framework. While the emphasis is on clarifying the basic concepts, the text also contains many applications and classroom-tested exercises, covering all major topics of a standard course on statistical physics and thermodynamics.

 

The text is suited both for a one-semester course at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level and as a self-contained tutorial guide for students in physics, chemistry, and engineering.