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How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  690 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Emmy is not your ordinary dog. When adopted from the shelter by physics professor Chad Orzel, she becomes immediately fascinated by his work. Could she use quantum tunnelling to get through the neighbour's fence? How about diffracting round a tree to catch squirrels? Or using virtual particles to catch bunnies made of cheese? In this international bestseller, Orzel explain ...more
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published (first published 2010)
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Quite an arresting title, which is the main reason someone bought it for me! I was studying an undergraduate physics module with the Open University at the time so it was quite useful to read another way of describing some of the areas of this vast subject, even if it is largely aimed at an audience with little or no science education beyond GCSE.

The conceit here is that the author, who is a physics lecturer, has a talking dog called Emmy, who wants to know more about quantum physics in order to
Mark Hebwood
Jan 24, 2016 Mark Hebwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you kindly devote some of your time to reading this review, you may become frustrated. Because I am not referring directly to Chad's book very much. I am expressing thoughts that were triggered through my reading of his book, and I find these thoughts fascinating. Still, there is a link to the book, and you will find it in the middle of my blurb under the heading "A message to Chad".

The universe is making fun of me

So here's the problem: Particles do not exist - fields do. Fields do not
Louisa Heath
Apr 03, 2012 Louisa Heath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Why Talk to Your Dog about Physics?'

In his attempt to bring the rather complex discipline of quantum theory/physics/mechanics to the masses, or at least those masses who chose to pick up a science book, Orzel uses the interesting framing device which the book's title alludes to. Conversations between Orzel and his adopted German Shepard cross Emmy are sprinkled liberally throughout the text, adding some needed lightness between the heavier chunks of hard quantum theory.

Subjects discussed by the
Feb 26, 2015 Amin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
آغاز کتاب بد نبود اما با خواندن هر چه بیشترش به این نتیجه رسیدم که نویسنده یک سری مطالب را از وبسایتها و کتابهای مختلف جمعآوری و منتشر کرده است. بیشتر مطالبی که در کتاب گفته شده بود را در کتابهای فیزیک دوران دبیرستان خونده بودم و به هیچ عنوان خواندن این کتاب را پیشنهاد نمیکنم.
نویسنده به هیچ عنوان سعی نکرده بود که زبان سادهای برای توضیح فیزیک کوآنتوم به کار ببرد و کتاب بیشتر شبیه یک مقاله علمی بود. برای همین کتاب را در نیمه راه رها کردم و کامل نخواندم.
Jun 11, 2013 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book, despite its quirky, and somewhat cringe-making, style where the author is talking to his dog - and the dog, who is already quite knowledgeable about physics, replies. In the late 1960s, I had studied quantum mechanics at university as part of a chemistry degree course so I had some prior understanding of the subject matter. I found this book both refreshed what I knew and considerably added to it.

It's far less mathematical than the book on quantum physics by Brian Cox
Alisa Bagrova
Initially, this book really made me excited as I finally immersed into quantum physics as it always looked so fascinating. Now I'd say, if someone wants to read a book on quantum physics merely out of interest and horizon broadening, this is just the book. Other than that, the further you dig, the more it starts to become annoying. That is simply because quantum physics can't be taught on a macro level, therefore the examples given start to interfere with further understanding. I found myself cr ...more
Linda Addison
Aug 15, 2015 Linda Addison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a lot of fun reading this book. Cuz the science geek in me can't get enough of this stuff. This book makes some serious science concepts easier to grasp and makes me laugh (per conversations with dog).
Thomas Holder
Apr 21, 2012 Thomas Holder rated it it was ok
Evidently, teaching me quantum physics is harder than teaching a dog. Whilst I tried to read this book sequentially, absorbing every snippet of information I could, I couldn't. I re-read most chapters, sentences and sometimes words, but finished it eventually. Generally, I found the dog conversations quite annoying and strange (my dog is usually just sick everywhere), but they maybe made things slightly easier to comprehend. Quantum physics is a really hard topic and I'd suggest taking this book ...more
Tin Wee
Jan 17, 2012 Tin Wee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must be a stupid dog. The book tries to explain basic concepts of quantum physics in as layman a language as I think is possible, and I think I understand at a superficial level what some of the theories are, but I found some of the concepts difficult to grasp even after rereading many times. One thing I found disappointing was there wasn't much explanations on how it makes things like quantum computing and LED switches work. What I did like was the last chapter which exposes many of the frau ...more
Jun 16, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite clever! These explanations make quantum theory much more accessible.
Feb 15, 2015 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so I'll admit, by page 30 I was beginning to think that Chad Orzel's dog Emmy is a lot smarter than me. But I kept reading, as the topic fascinates me, and it turned out to be well worth it. A potentially heavy subject 'explained' with a deftly humourous touch. My trouble is that I kept asking 'yes, but why ?' - which is possibly why I studied philosophy, not physics. Here's a tiny taster :
Emmy : '... Do physicists really believe that there are messages being passed back and forth between di
Floris Wolswijk
Jan 02, 2015 Floris Wolswijk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel is your first, and best, introduction to quantum physics available in book format. Through funny interactions with his (speaking) dog Emmy, Orzel enlightens us on the basics of quantum physics. No previous experience or knowledge about physics required!

The book starts, and later ends, with a conversation with Emmy, the dog. Through this ingenious way Orzel conjures up a simple, real life examples for actually really technical ideas. Each cha
Jun 18, 2013 Adrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend Mal said I should read this so I did. I can not say I knew anything about Quantum Physics, and I am not sure that I am yet an expert, however I think I do know a little more. Chad Orzel is clever enough to make a complex subject understandable for his dog, maybe I could understand a little too. I like the cross between Physics and Philosophy, I am not sure as I coped with the maths. I did find the book an interesting and fun read. I just need to catch up with his clever dog.
Mar 19, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is indeed the first book about quantum physics that didn't make me cry and stop reading after the first pages. It is popular science and it is written in such a manner that even laymen are able to understand at least the basics. Quantum physics still blows my mind, but the funny examples with squirrels and rabbits made it easier to at least understand what's going on in the experiments. I would recommend it as an introduction to the field for all laymen.
Dec 10, 2015 Amit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up primarily for its interesting title. The reasoning went - "Quantum physics - interesting! Talking dogs? Adorable! What's not to like?"

In fact, the introduction where the author meets the dog for the first time was rather interesting. But about 50 pages into the book it was absolutely clear that the introduction was one of the more interesting parts of the book.

There is less dog and more technical concepts presented in a classroom tone. Wherever there are conversations with the do
Will Jackson
An interesting book outlining the principles of quantum mechanics through the engaging medium of a conversation between the author and his dog. Chad Orzel guides us competently through the ideas of quantum teleportation, superposition states and particle wave duality, to name but three! He ensures access for those not scientifically inclined is provided through the questions of a very inquisitive dog determined to use quantum physics to develop innovative ideas to catch rabbits and squirrels.

Jan 29, 2016 Omar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent writing. Witty and amusing. Informative and entertaining. Orzel offers a friendly introduction to the (magical) world of quantum physics through conversations of a physicist and his dog, Emma.

As weird as the concept sounds, it is a delightful read, and has lots to offer for any interested reader with an understanding of high school physics (and an open mind). The illustrations were extremely handy.

A slight issue with this book is that there is a slight sense of discontinuity. Althoug
That's what bothered Einstein, and he called it spukhafte Fernwirkung.
Spooky action at a distance? she translates.
Since when do you know German?
Just look at me. She turns around sideways for a second, showing off her black and tan coloring and pointed nose. German Shepherd, remember?

I have mixed feelings about this book. I must admit I "understood" about 60% and the rest of it just flew over my head. The thing with this book is you have to be 100% there when you read it otherwise don't even
Huw Evans
Mar 28, 2013 Huw Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
We are all taught the basics of Newtonian physics at school, of gravity, force, mass and acceleration. Some of us can vaguely remember the equations learned to get us through exams, even if we were uncertain of their value in the real world. When I watched a physics teacher overcome the potent effects of gravity by lifting a paperclip from a tabletop I wondered what was the value of the things we were being taught. This was the same gravity, surely, that kept the moon in place, so what stopped m ...more
Sarah Beaudette
Mar 09, 2015 Sarah Beaudette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best explanation I've found of quantum physics' basic principles for a lay lay lay person. You can infer from the title that this book does not belong on a doctoral candidate's Works Cited page. If, however, you've found yourself unable to recall the major foundations of quantum physics no matter how many cute animated YouTube videos you've watched, you'll have no trouble after reading this. A humorous midpoint between a tome and a For Dummies, and a quick read.
Feb 27, 2013 Kriegslok rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had not already recently read Marcus Chown's "Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You" I don't think I would have got far into this book. As a total novice and someone who has a phobia of anything to do with numbers I find Quantum Physics quite daunting to approach. However, I have developed an insatiable fascination for this branch of science and have been searching out books written for those such as me who are intellectually challenged in the maths and science department. I couldn't pretend to ha ...more
I found this book very informative and mainly easy to understand. The ideas put across in the book were put across well and I did generally understand it all. It was nice that all of the ideas were then shown to have uses. However, some of the odd conversations with the dog actually made things more confusing although did help to split some of the information up.
Feb 28, 2014 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a delightful book. The "dog conversation" parts are literally just filler, but they serve to break up complex concepts to make them more compact and digestible. That creates this pleasant variation where you're getting a hit from thinking about photons one moment and then a very different hit from imagining a talking dog. Great refresher!
Jun 26, 2013 Ty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable journey through the conceptual framework of the quantum world. Unlike some other reviewers, I found the banter with Emmy the dog to be humorous throughout, even if sometimes corny (who can't appreciate a corny physics professor?). Although I am familiar with much of the underlying theories of quantum mechanics and have studied them in some considerable detail, I still got quite a bit out of the book. I particularly enjoyed the treatment of Bell's Theorem and its resolution o ...more
Maxwell Taylor
Apr 21, 2015 Maxwell Taylor rated it did not like it
If you want to learn about Quantum Physics, look elsewhere. The dog analogy does little other than confuse the reader.

In my opinion, Richard Feynman's lectures are still the best point-of-entry to the world of Quantum Mechanics.
Sameer Alshenawi
well, this dog must be smarter than me.Quantum concepts are hard to understand and some appear against my humble common sense.
Aya Vandenbussche
Jun 05, 2013 Aya Vandenbussche rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aya by: Jamie Beckwith.
The idea of discussing physics in the form of conversations with a curious being, is actually quite a good one and echoes Plato and Aristotle philosophical musings. However, I would have preferred it if Orzel would have focused more on explaining quantum physics better and simpler than to just make it cuter by using dog metaphors and language. The mathematics of Quantum Physics still remains hard to the simpleton humans amongst us.

However, I do feel that I managed to understand Quantum Physics
Srikant Bharadwaj
Must read for physics enthusiasts. The way authors breaks down the concepts for noobs is marvellous.
Jan 29, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has taken me forever to read this book - reading in small doses has been the only way to absorb this stuff without it leaking out from my brain straight away. Yet, it gets a 5 star rating because, if you're old enough for all your school-taught physics to have been what is now called 'classic' (ouch!), then the quantum world is rather baffling and this book makes it manageable. Next up, Mr Orzel's How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog - just maybe not for a week or two..!
Jul 13, 2013 Ahmad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
The best thing about this book is the title. There were many good bits and many other boring ones as well, which left me kind of disappointed. Quantum mechanics is interesting in itself, you only need good style of writing to get you through it, which in this case was less than what I hoped for. The whole thing with explaining the theory in simplified dog terms didn't work for me, I was better off skipping the parts where he conversed with the dog and just read the rest where he explained things ...more
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Chad Orzel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, NY.

He studied at University of Maryland, College Park, MD: PhD in Chemical Physics, 1999 and Williams College, Williamstown, MA: BA in Physics, 1993.

From 1999-2001, Chad was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Physics Department at Yale University, studying Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC)
More about Chad Orzel...

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“Quantum mechanics seems baffling and troubling to humans because it confounds our commonsense expectations about how the world works. Dogs are a much more receptive audience. The everyday world is a strange and marvelous place to a dog, and the predictions of quantum theory are no stranger or more marvelous than, say, the operation of a doorknob.*” 0 likes
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