How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog
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How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  416 ratings  ·  39 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
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Andrew
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...more
Louisa Heath
'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...more
Roger
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...more
Thomas Holder
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
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
John
Quite clever! These explanations make quantum theory much more accessible.
Adrian
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.
Lisa
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.
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
Huw Evans
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
Kriegslok
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
Olga
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!
Ty
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
Aya Vandenbussche
Jun 05, 2013 Aya Vandenbussche rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Ahmad
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
Nick Wass
I have tried several books in order to try and grasp, even a little, just what quantum physics is all about. This helped somewhat but it is still a subject I find hard to penetrate. I don't think it is the fault of this or any of the other of the books I have read, but rather it is my lack of mental capacity for what is essential a subject that is almost all alien to what we understand.

The book has a somewhat different approach to others on this subject so give it a try, though you too may be qu...more
Paul Fisher
Very funny and progressively more difficult to understand as it went on.
Mario Polytaridis
A fantastic little book that really explains Quantum Physics using funny examples any dog-owner/lover will appreciate. Even more importantly, Chad debunks a lot of mis-conceptions people have about Quantum physics and demonstrates how influential the field has been in progressing human understanding of our universe, technology, and life.

A definite read for anyone interested in Science either as an introductory book to the field or as a fun read.
Jed
The fact that the theories were related to everyday experiences of a dog (how to catch a squirrel, sniffing around the house for a piece of food) helped me use my imagination to comprehend as much as I can. Reading the book, with the author sharing the historical progress and modern issues of quantum physics, lets me know that I have only happily dipped my toes to the pool of ideas that one can dive into in modern physics.
Jennifer
Really entertaining presentation of the bizarre world of quantum physics. For those who have dogs there is plenty of humour in the imagined conversations with Emmy but it is a serious book about serious theories. Will have to revisit a few times, I suspect!
Marsha
Whoaaaa...this book looked like it would be a keeper. But I've been trying to get past the second chapter for 2 weeks. I'm giving up. Quantum physics will have to escape me for now until I can find another book that I might try. I get what the author is writing (and it's done pretty well) but it's beyond my ability.
Simon
Generally good clear descriptions of quantum physics in an accessible fashion. However in some respects the attempt to do this by teaching it to a dog was less than perfect. At times the links to the dog were effectively abandoned, at others the links and analogies were perhaps rather forced.
James Thelman
This is an excellent book, but to be honest, the dog's personality got irritating about half-way through. Other than that, I really enjoyed it. Quantum mechanics is not an easy subject to understand by any means, and Chad Orzel does a pretty awesome job in making it more accessible.
Chizu Nakamura


Some of experiments on this book is very hard to understand or I rather say quontam physics is difficult. During I was reading 'Prisms and pendrums' I found many of experiments are on YouTube, which helped me a lot. I would like to check those in this book as well.
Zee
Quite enlightening and a wonderful beginner's guide to quantum physics.

One of the useful chapters also was showing how quantum physics ideas can be abused by people who don't even know what they are talking about (or selling something - like quantum healing).
Andrea Paterson
Despite the fact that this was supposed to be an accessible look at quantum physics I became confused and bored. Apparently I'm not as smart as the author's dog. It was a nice idea for a book, but I'm not sure it was successful.
James
Playful tour of quantum mechanics - as a dialogue between a physics prof and his dog. I liked the discussions of the different interpretations, Bell's theorem and entanglement. Quick and easy to read.
Louise Garner
Got a bit bored with the conversations with the dog and the rabbits. My own fault I suppose as the title does tell you. Read twice but think
I didn't get to the end both times... Maybe this year.
John Gorman
Amazingly boring.... Good concept but written by an extremely dry author. The ideas are nice to see and some hint of practical explanation comes in small threads, but the monotony is hard to bare.
Brendan
Very good. Humorous approach in which the dog engages in dialogue with his owner and tries to relate quantum physics' effects to chasing rabbits around the garden.
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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
More about Chad Orzel...
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