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How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  491 ratings  ·  78 reviews
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: cha
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by Scribner (first published November 30th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,458)
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Graeme Skinner
This book was a real struggle.

I was recommended to read this as a light hearted way to learn a little bit more about Quantum Physics and to be honest, it wasn't that bad.

The book starts off with the main character being Chad, I presume, talking to his dog about bunny rabbits and other garden animals. Each chapter starts off very light hearted and flippant, where he sets the scene and for example, gets the dog to talk to him about chasing bunny rabbits and why they always escape him when he chas
The "teaching to your dog" gimmick is cute at first but gets kind of old eventually, even though I'm sure that Orzel's dog is, as she reports, a VERY good dog. :) The thing I really liked about this book is that Orzel actually goes into detail about how the experiments were designed that proved various aspects of quantum theory. I've never read a popular physics book that didn't just skip over that part, and it made some of the concepts a lot easier to understand.
I love the concept of it and got through, oh, about 3 chapters before I was unable to hang. He'd need to be there with me and his dog and for demonstration purposes, and then I could go, "wait, wait, what?!? can you slow down a bit? Okay, so waves... like the ocean, but we can't see them, and sound behaves like waves but also refracts? shit, okay, wait, start from the beginning." Physics is var interesting, but damn, so difficult!
Dennis D.
Mar 25, 2010 Dennis D. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dennis D. by: Brian Mason
In my GoodReads review of Sarah Vowell's book The Wordy Shipmates, I likened that work to "a history lesson given by an impossibly hip professor." To recycle that sentiment, How to Teach Physics to Your Dog is like taking a quantum physics class from a really cool teacher.

Actually, author Chad Orzel is a physics professor, at Union College in NY. He also writes a science-y blog called Uncertain Principles, (science-y, yes. But today a photo of his young daugh
Despite the cover, this is more properly a popular science book about quantum physics, presented through a series of humorous dialogues between the author and his dog Emmy. The writing is charming and accessible (the chapter on quantum entanglement is probably the most difficult one, but no one ever said quantum physics was easy), and this made perfect bedtime reading: both fun and informative. I was especially tickled by the final chapter, which debunks some quacks' use of quantum physics termi ...more
D.L. Morrese
Quantum physics may still remain an unsolved mystery to me, for the most part, but I feel I understand some of its quirky aspects better now. I've read a few books for laymen on this subject, and the sad fact is that it may be simply so counter-intuitive that it my brain won't accept it. My 'that don't make sense' filter seems to kick in. When I read such books, I keep stopping to question the findings and ask, "How could that be?" (Unfortunately, my math skills are inadequate to help me overcom ...more
I got given this when my family got a dog.

I'm not a huge fan of dogs.

This book is sometimes hard to read because it requires a very specific mood, you have to be in the mood for a giggle and to learn something which is an odd combination.

The book is written well and in a way to easily understand the basic principals of quantum physics with lots of examples relative to dogs and dog based activity.

Explanation of quantum physics 4-5 stars.

Warmed up to but still don't like dogs 2 stars.
apparently my plan is just to keep reading basic quantum physics books until a) i totally understand it, and b) they tell me that teleportation and time travel and whatever are actually possible. where is my FTL drive?? i refuse to take no for an answer.

anyway, despite not telling me what i want to hear and fulfilling my science fiction fantasies, this book was great -- the science is clear and the concept is adorable.
I liked this book. I liked the fact that it was fun and funny. I'm only at a beginner level in physics so I didn't quite understand a lot of it. Despite this though, it was a great and fun introduction to the wacky and wonderful world of quantum physics.
I hate to admit it but I could not finish this book. Apparently, the author's dog is smarter than I am because, after reading about 2/3 of the book, I still understand very little about quantum physics. I think I'll stick to biology in the future.
Jenny Hemming
Entertainingly accessible intro to weird stuff. No doubt I'll be returning to it as a way out of future confusion!
Chad Orzel obviously has a lot of experience explaining quantum mechanics to non-physicists. I can't say I TOTALLY GET quantum mechanics now, but there are quite a few concepts that I understand better. I liked that there was an ongoing analogy about physics and Orzel's dog Emmy to constantly ground and re-explain concepts. I was thrown a bit by the concluding chapter on misuses of quantum physics because I've never encountered any of the scenarios described, but as this is a book for physics ne ...more
Chad Orzel has come up with an interesting way to teach quantum physics - by using scenarios from the real world. He does this specifically by having conversations with his dog, Emmy, about how she'd like to catch those fast bunnies and squirrels in the back yard, or live in a universe where Chad always drops steak on the floor. It helps to make a difficult-to-understand subject a little more applicable to what we see, and the little discussions he has with the dog are used very well to clear up ...more
Sadly, this book did not instruct me on how to teach physics to my dog. Which is quite unfortunate. Atticus has been wanting to build a rocket for the last couple of years and I promised I would help him achieve his goal. He's 12 (that's 84 in dog years), and time's a-wastin'! Being the first dog on the moon is on his bucket list, motivated by his theory that it's made of cheese. He loves cheese.

What this actually was about was the author trying to write a trade book that would help introduce th
One of the things I love to do is browse around in the library looking at whatever catches my attention. I like to look over the new fiction and nonfiction sections, as well as just wandering the stacks pulling down and scanning all kinds of books. On one of my trips to the library last year, I discovered “How To Teach Physics To Your Dog”. I was amused by the cutesy title, but I was hooked as soon as I started reading the book.

This book is an overview of quantum physics. Now I know that most pe
I liked this book a lot. I heard about it through the author himself, as I read and enjoy his blog Uncertain Principles.

I have a friend who won't read this book on principle, because he doesn't want to learn quantum physics through cutesy imaginary conversations with a dog.

Rest assured that this is not the case. The dog conversations are cute and imaginary, but they are not the meat of the book. They are transitional sections that a) debunk popular misconceptions about the meaning of certain con
Bojan Tunguz
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 obj ...more
J Marie
Ooh, I liked this book. As a chem minor and premed student, I (unfortunately) have to have at least a basic knowledge of physics, so I checked this book out in an attempt to overcome my phobia of physics (and anything math-y). I'm very proud to say that, after reading this, I'm almost excited to take a physics course :)
The premise is cute- Orzel is "talking" to his dog Emmy, who wants to know why physics is so important that it's worth taking time away from chasing squirrels to study. Orzel tell
It took me 2 whole days to read it, one day back in February when I acquired it, and then, well, part of today. It is a wonderful, comedic introduction to quantum physics. Orzel goes into enough detail at the right moments to get you thinking about many-worlds vs Copenhagen, decoherence, entanglement, quantum computing and so forth. All of this while accompanied, in spirit, by a cute, inquisitive German shepard. If you never made it to Physics III but already know that Hawking's "A Brief History ...more
Alexis Bauer Kolak
What a fun concept. I actually read the second book on relativity first, so I had to go back and pick this one up. I actually found this to be slightly easier to "absorb" than the other book, but maybe that's because I've read several books on this topic.

I really like how Orzel mixes his conversations with Emmy throughout his explanations as opposed to just using them as a frame. For me, knowing that others readers/dogs might be getting tripped up in the same places made me feel more comfortable
My background is in economics not physical sciences, but I am used to reading academic tomes. I found the cutesy convos with the dog got old and didn't add much. This book got tough to follow as soon as we got past wave patterns and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I've read some of Michio Kaku's work and much preferred it.
Michael Gotthelf
Who knew quantum physics could be fun?

As a physician with a distant physics background l really wasn't sore how much I could get out of a book like this. concepts are explained clearly, and there is a lot of fun along the way. Makes a difficult topic somewhat understandable, and it doesn't feel like a slog!
Jennifer Quail
Definitely readable physics! I wish someone would write something this easy to follow about classical mechanics, as this is devoted to quantum, mostly explaining why everything you think you know about quantum physics from pop culture, science fiction, and natural healing quackery (which is specifically and conclusively debunked) is wrong.
I thought this was an excellent introduction to quantum mechanics. I don't really care for dogs in general, but whatever. Orzel did an admirable job of explaining the rise of quantum mechanics from blackbody radiation, the photoelectric effect to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and doubleslit experiments demonstrating wave-particle duality. Schrodinger's equation and what it is all about is also described and 'demosntrated' through his discussion on quantum tunneling. He ended the book talk ...more
Sarah Arntson
I loved this book! The author did a great job explaining quantum physics to a person like me who prior to this book barely knew quantum physics existed. I thought the subject was fascinating. The pretend conversations with his dog kept it entertaining and also helped me picture the concepts he was describing.
I have been wanting to find a "Physics for Dummies" book for a while. Both my husband and dear friend love physics and always make it sound so fascinating. I happened upon a favorable review of "How to Teach Physics to Your Dog" in our local Raleigh newspaper. I guess I was expecting the book to make physics seem so simple that even a dog could understand.
Nooooo! The physicist author simply has physics conversations with his dog. The author acts like he is making physics so simple for his dog (
Feb 11, 2015 Randal rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science buffs
Shelves: nonfiction
This is really a mid-level popular science book with a few dog jokes thrown in. There's a balancing act for something like this -- too little humor and the book turns dry, too much and the joke wears thin -- but this felt about right to me.
I also learned a great deal about some of the weird, cool & true things about quantum mechanics, so a win all round.
First book I read on anything involving the quantum realm, spoken in layman's terms for someone who just wants to find out more about our understanding of the natural world.
Erin Shiba
disclaimer: i've never taken a course in physics, so you couldn't find a more uninformed audience.

using a curious dog as your audience, and utilizing dog-related analogies, is a pretty cute way of communicating complex scientific ideas. at first. but by the end, it seemed invasive, trite and overwrought. in fact, i actually ended up disliking the dog. and i like dogs.

as far as the information goes, it started off digestible and ended up with me throwing my hands in the air. i finished the book,
Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow. My brain hurts.
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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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“Dogs come to quantum physics in a better position than most humans. They approach the world with fewer preconceptions than humans, and always expect the unexpected. A dog can walk down the same street every day for a year, and it will be a new experience every day. Every rock, every bush, every tree will be sniffed as if it had never been sniffed before. If dog treats appeared out of empty space in the middle of a kitchen, a human would freak out, but a dog would take it in stride. Indeed, for most dogs, the spontaneous generation of treats would be vindication—they always expect treats to appear at any moment, for no obvious reason.” 1 likes
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