Mastering Quantum Mechanics: Essentials, Theory, and Applications, Barton Zwiebach, MIT Press, 2022, $110.00

After many years of teaching quantum mechanics at MIT, theorist Barton Zwiebach has decided to produce a textbook based on his experience. The result, Mastering Quantum Mechanics, is encyclopedic: It clocks in at over 1000 pages long and is intended to accompany a three-semester-long course—although Zwiebach does include ideas on how to use the text for a one- or two-semester sequence. Although the book’s length may overwhelm some readers, it allows Zwiebach ample room to provide clear and in-depth expositions of fundamental concepts like the Schrödinger equation, the harmonic oscillator, and the hydrogen atom. —rd

Lost Women of Science, Katie Hafner and Carol Sutton Lewis, hosts, PRX and Scientific American, 2023 (Season 6)

Inspired by Christopher Nolan’s recent biopic Oppenheimer, the latest season of the Lost Women of Science podcast focuses on the women of the Manhattan Project. Indeed, hundreds of female scientists made substantial contributions both to the design and fabrication of the nuclear weapons themselves and to the debate about whether they should be used against Japan. The first episode of the season focuses on Leona Woods, the only woman scientist on the team led by Enrico Fermi that built the first sustaining nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1. Later episodes focus on Frances Dunne, Carolyn Parker, Lilli Hornig, and Melba Phillips, among others. The bite-size episodes are each about 10 minutes in length. —rd

The Apple II Age: How the Computer Became Personal, Laine Nooney, U. Chicago Press, 2023, $28.00

Nostalgic computer hobbyists, beware! Laine Nooney is out to “rob” you of your “much-cherished faith in computing’s primordial innocence” by deconstructing the mythology surrounding the Apple II, the first personal computer to gain widespread market appeal. To do so, they look at five pieces of software—VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program; Mystery House, the first graphical adventure game; Locksmith, a disk-copy utility; the Print Shop, a layout program that allowed users to create printed material; and Snooper Troops, an educational game intended to teach students deductive reasoning. Using contemporary hobbyist and trade magazines as a source base, Nooney demonstrates that the personal-computing revolution of the 1970s and 1980s was more a product of the “financial interests of an elite investor class” than the stereotypical Silicon Valley hacker. —rd