How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Dec 22, 2009 - Science - 256 pages
1 Review
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
Learn the basics of quantum physics with this clever, fun, and lighthearted introduction to modern physics based on a series of conversations with Chad Orzel and his dog Emmy.

When physics professor Chad Orzel went to the pound to adopt a dog, he never imagined Emmy. She wasn’t just a friendly mutt who needed a home. Soon she was trying to use the strange ideas of quantum mechanics for the really important things in her life: chasing critters, getting treats, and going for walks. She peppered Chad with questions: Could she use quantum tunneling to get through the neighbor’s fence and chase bunnies? What about quantum teleportation to catch squirrels before they climb out of reach? Where are all the universes in which Chad drops steak on the floor?

With great humor and clarity, Chad Orzel explains to Emmy, and to human readers, just what quantum mechanics is and how it works—and why, although you can’t use it to catch squirrels or eat steak, it’s still bizarre, amazing, and important to every dog and human.

What people are saying - Write a review

Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
User Review - Flag as inappropriate

There is perhaps no area of Physics that has garnered as much fascination as quantum mechanics, save perhaps the theory of relativity. Yet in a sense the weirdness associated with quantum mechanics is even more profound than that associated with relativity. Relativity deals with physics of very fast objects, and even though it challenges our normal way of thinking, it still preserves some of the basic intuitions of what does it mean to be a physical object, how we measure properties of those objects, and what those objects can and cannot do. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, puts all those basic notion to a test. We are forced to reconsider even our basic understanding of what reality is. There have been many popular accounts of Quantum Mechanics over the years, and this book is yet another attempt of bringing this arcane field to the general readership. So despite what the title may say, this is not a book about Physics in general, but just about quantum mechanics. The dog from the title is author's German shepherd, and she is used as a stand-in for all the na´ve, "Newtonian" ways of thinking about the world. Each chapter in the book covers a different aspect of quantum theory, and all the discussions are motivated in a light-hearted way by author's "dialogues" with his dog. These "dialogues" are meant to provide some comic relief from the otherwise technical subject matter. As such they work fine, although I am not the biggest fan of author's attempts at humor. The explanations provided in the book are actually very good - they are very well written, accessible to the general audience, and absolutely conceptually correct. This last point should not be taken for granted, as I have seen many attempts at making Physics accessible to the general audience that don't actually do justice to the actual Physics. One thing that I in particular like about this book is that it mentions several more recent experiments that have shed important light at the foundational aspects of quantum mechanics. In that respect this popular treatment is as up-to-date as they come. As a college Physics professor myself, I appreciate all the effort that the author has put into making this material accessible. As far as introductory, non-technical books on quantum mechanics go, this one clearly hits its targeted audience. 

Other editions - View all

About the author (2009)

Chad Orzel was born and raised in central New York, and received a degree in physics from Williams College, and his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Maryland. He is now a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He lives near campus with his wife Kate, their daughter, and, of course, Emmy, the Queen of Niskayuna.

Bibliographic information