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How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog Paperback – 1 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851687793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851687794
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Quantum entanglement, quantum teleportation and virtual particles are all explained with the author's characteristic lighthearted touch. Readers who've shied away from popular treatments of physics in the past may find his cheerful discussion a real treat." (Publishers Weekly)

"It's hard to imagine a better way for the mathematically and scientifically challenged to grasp basic quantum physics." (Booklist)

"Elegantly approachable descriptions... with a refreshing emphasis on recent research. Highly satisfying." (The Guardian)

"Sure to become a classic." (physicsworld.com)

Book Description

So simple, even a dog could understand!

Get ready to teach an old dog neutrons

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 157 people found the following review helpful By ebygum on 21 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm currently studying Physics for A-Level and the course covers a bit of simple quantum mechanics. Of course, quantum mechanics is something which fascinates almost everyone, and so I looked around for some books about the subject and came across this from a recommendation from my teacher. Admittedly, before reading the book I thought it would either be overly complicated (which many books on this subject are) or patronising and simple but to my surprise, from cover to cover the book kept me hooked -- it not only covers things that I've learned in class but new topics too, such as quantum tunnelling. Harder topics are introduced slowly and in a funny manner: usually with an intro from an encounter with the author's dog! Jokes are well placed and not too much, they allow the reader to have a good laugh yet still learn about the wonders of the quantum world. Well worth reading for anyone wanting to find out more!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Catalin D. Voinescu on 8 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition of this book follows the same tradition of many Kindle editions being little more than an afterthought by the publisher. Thankfully, it does not want to use its own font! Other than that, it has it all: inconsistent formatting, weird substitutions (the word 'left' has been replaced with 'indent' absolutely everywhere in the text: "If we start the experiment with a single photon in the indent half, we find that over time, it will slowly move into the right half" -- what?!), the occasional run together words ("the initial photon-onthe-indent state" -- a twofer!), hyphens in the middle of some words, exponents and subscripts rendered as regular text ("1036" instead of ten to the power of 36, or "6.626 × 10-34 kg m2/s" for the value of Planck's constant), badly paged captions for figures, references to page numbers (useless on the Kindle), annoying footnotes that are links that need to be clicked instead of real footnotes, and so on. Quite irritating, and distracting from an otherwise rather nice book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
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 naïve, "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.Read more ›
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Park on 25 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Chad Orzel is a scientist. He is also a teacher. It is therefore unsurprising that he writes in the style of a college professor. If you think a college professor lecturing you on the subject of quantum physics sounds boring, then you're wrong. By using conversations with Emmy, his pet German Shepherd dog, as cover, the author is able to speak to his readers as a pet-loving human, instead of a lab-coated geek. If you think a college professor lecturing you on the subject of quantum physics sounds complicated, then...well...I have to admit that you're right. In all modesty, I'm not an unintelligent reader, and yet a good 30% of what Orzell had to say went completely over my head, even after a second reading. Also, scientists like to explain theories by repeated demonstration and as soon as the mirrors, lenses and polarising filters came out of the physics cupboard, I was sent back, quaking in my shorts, to my school physics lab 30 years ago, and a blind panic set in!

Orzell is at his best when explaining the general concepts of quantum physics to Emmy, who incidentally is very smart and is even biligual on account of her German ancestry. I got the impression that his dog is considerably brighter than most of his physics students. Where Orzell falls down, for me, is in the mind-numbing minutiae of the explanations. At these points, not even Emmy could get a bark in. However, I'm not a scientist, so perhaps this book speaks louder to those who naturally suit lab coats.

The best chapter is the final one, which debunks a collection of quasi-scientific claims for quantum physics. It is good to know that scientists can dismiss the outlandish claims that can be made about their discoveries, and are likely to reject any publically funded adoption of them.
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