How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel

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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; she was a talking dog with an active interest in what her new owner did for a living and how it could work for her.

Soon Emmy 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? And what about the bunnies made of cheese that ought to be appearing out of nothing in the backyard?

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.

Follow along as Chad and Emmy discuss the central elements of quantum theory, from particles that behave like waves and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to entanglement ("spooky action at a distance") and virtual particles. Along the way, they discuss the history of the theory, such as the experiments that discovered that electrons are waves and particles at the same time, and Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr's decades-long debate over what quantum theory really meant (Einstein may have been smarter, but Bohr was right more often).

Don't get caught looking less informed than Emmy. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog will show you the universe that lies beneath everyday reality, in all its randomness, uncertainty, and wonder.

"Forget Schrödinger's Cat," says Emmy, "quantum physics is all about dogs." And once you see quantum physics explained to a dog, you'll never see the world the same way again.

About Chad Orzel

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Chad Orzel received his BA in physics from Williams College, his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Maryland, and his postdoctorate from Yale University. He maintains a regular blog, Uncertain Principles, and is author of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. He is currently a professor at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He lives near campus with his wife, their daughter, and, of course, Emmy.
Published December 3, 2009 by Scribner. 257 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Humor & Entertainment, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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This sounds trivial but leads to weird if delightfully comprehensible phenomena, provided someone like Orzel delivers a clear explanation of why, for example, a stationary observer sees clocks running slower (and so time passing slower) on a moving body.

Jan 15 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

We Love This Book

Thanks to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and Brian Cox, physics has become big news lately, providing a market for an increasingly wide range of popular physics books.

Mar 15 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog


This is the whole point of the book – to show the process of science by looking at the great stories in science.

Dec 09 2014 | Read Full Review of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

Cape Ann Beacon

The promise is enticing - a book that explains quantum physics in a way that's so simple to understand, even a dog can learn it.

Feb 08 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

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