by Alastair Rae.
When I was a physics undergraduate, Alastair Rae's text book on Quantum Physics was the standard teaching reference, and rightly so. Now that he has time, he's written a similar book for non-physicists, so the interested non-specialist can try to understand the non-intuitive, counter 'common sense' reality of the sub-microscopic physical world. And also understand how such quantum phenomena manifest in the everyday world.
With the development of micro engineering (in computer chips and the like) everyone uses technology now that utilises applications of the photoelectric effect (photovoltaic panels in homes, security lights, pocket calculators, ...) and the exclusion principal of Fermions (allowed states for electrons in metals and semiconductors; their modification through doping to create usable band gaps in semiconductors, etc).
The publishers Description says From quarks to computing, this fascinating introduction covers every element of the quantum world in clear and accessible language.
Drawing on a wealth of expertise to explain just what a fascinating field quantum physics is, Rae points out that it is not simply a maze of technical jargon and philosophical ideas, but a reality which affects our daily lives.
Alastair does a good job of describing the 'Standard Model' of modern physics, as it applies to Quantum Physics; and incidentally the companion volume from the same publisher Particle Physics, by Brian Martin (same publisher, same Beginners Guide) performs the same task for so-called particle physics (I still maintain that they waveicles - and only behave as particles if a particle-like experiment is chosen).
The book ends with What Does it all Mean? which I wish was ten times at long!
There is a brief description of how measurement changes the system being measured; subjectivism, hidden variables, and many worlds.
A grasp of the basics of physics for the beginner really needs a similar book on spacetime/relativity (I'm searching) and Brian Martin's book - review to follow, probably tomorrow!
Similar popular physics for the non-specialist includes Chaos Theory, and the highly colourful Mandelbrot images.
If you don't wish to buy a book, I recommend http://www.newscientist.com/topic/quantum-world, the New Scientist online guide to quantum physics and much,much more.