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4.5 out of 5 stars29
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I always feel I should know more about Quantum physics - I am not really sure why but I guess I hope it would give me a better understanding of the Universe. So I am a sucker for books about physics that are going to be 'easy'.

I think I have to accept that quantum physics isn't easy. Which means I tend to read these sorts of books slowly and a couple of chapters at a time.

This is a very well written book. The language is engaging and straight forward. I really liked the diagrams. The introduction of relativity via a dog in the street, a dog sitting in a window and a cat in a car (with pictures) did start to help me get my brain around relativity.

I reckon this book would be a good introduction to someone at school doing physics and it works for a laywoman - although I have to persist quite hard.

I also read Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality - slightly more history, slightly less physics and liked that.

Congratulations to Chad Orzel for his book, I think I might stop with this book on physics for a while.
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on 19 January 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The concept of using conversations with a dog to discuss an arcane topic of science was immediately appealing. Then I started reading Orzel's book, and became quite disappointed quite quickly. I felt the 'conversations' between the author and his dog cloying and overly simplistic, and I felt as though it was just a gimmicky hook behind which was a fairly standard text.

But as the book went on I changed my mind. I don't know if it was just getting used to the two characters (author and dog) or whether the book improved as I went along, but by the time we got into the guts of special and general relativity, I was hooked. Regardless of the use of his dog, Chad Orzel explains relativity in an accessible, enjoyable way - I've heard loads in the past about the merging of space and time, Einstein's approach to gravity and the like, but I've never understood it.

Having read this book, I now feel as though I can grasp the overall concepts in a surprisingly meaningful way. And I even quite like the dog. That's quite an achievement on Orzel's part, and makes for a wonderful book.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Learning relativity is a great way to completely fry your brain. I have learned it twice before, once the hard way, with a proper physics textbook, and once the easy way, with a comic book. The comic book approach made me wonder why anyone would ever use a physics textbook - keeping it simple, and taking baby steps, makes it a thousand times easier to learn.

The trouble is that relativity is easily forgotten - those tricky concepts find a way of seeping back out your brain while you sleep. Which is why I have needed to learn it twice before, and now a third time.

Chad Orzel's approach is very much towards the comic book end of the spectrum and with the addition of human-dog dialogue is an absolute joy.

Relativity is not beyond anyone, but the teaching of it often is, and here we have the solution. Accessible, entertaining, enlightening, Chad Orzel has pulled off a master-stroke in the teaching of relativity.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
You would be forgiven for assuming that the nuances of relativity are beyond most human beings. I'm guessing that's the usual opinion (myself included, as one of those normal humans) however, as a fan of Orzel's writing and having thoroughly enjoyed (and understood) How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog I was interested in seeing how much I could wrap my mind around with this new tome.

Orzel (and Emmy) return in a fantastically accessible book. Orzel's writing style is relaxed and as jargon-free as possible whilst easing you in to a notoriously complex subject matter. As Orzel's style is so engaging, it keeps you interested in the subject matter (as opposed to when you were studying physics in high school, which probably had you snoozing behind your textbook).

Another winner of a book from Orzel. Buy it, read it, and astound your pub friends. Or at least know a little more about relativity :)
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on 6 April 2014
2 stars? Am I being mean? Probably. I'm more of a cat person, you see! That and the whole dog thing did seem to distract from trying to understand Relativity. It's kind of okay but if you strip the dog stuff out - which doesn't lend anything to the subject - then it still is a hard slog.

The only part where I sat up and thought 'oh, that sounds interesting' was where Chad was talking about the Ether and dismissing out-of-hand the idea of an all-pervasive field that constanty jumped in and out of dimensions simply because it didn't sit right with him..... or something along those lines. It was hard to jump from bunnies and dogs and cats to the details of String Theory.

I think his teaching style may work better in person than it does in written form. Ultimately I read the book and felt as uninformed on the subject at the end as I had at the beginning.
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on 6 February 2013
I recommend that you read it, mainly because if you don't read it you should know that somewhere, there is a dog, that is more intelligent than you.
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on 17 August 2012
This book is concise, informative and a fantastic read. Whether you have a passing interest in relativity or are using this for educational purposes it is perfect. A small amount of Physics knowledge would help along the way, but I wouldn't say it is necessary. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. His Quantumn Physics book is also great.
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on 4 June 2013
Excellent - just the right levels of complexity and brevity. Its one ' but of those subjects where you may thinking 'at last I understand' - until you try describing it all to someone else. This book is very clever at making the subject stick in my head long enough to be able to explain (some) of the concepts. Will re-read.
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My reading of this book started so well. Mr Orzel very neatly sidesteps the issue of appearing to patronise his audience by talking to his dog. It is, therefore, not the reader, but a dog who cannot grasp the physics of relativity. Well, I will readily concede that the dog is more intelligent than me, because I still cannot see the logic of relativity.

I read the early pages where the author explains the idea that things appear different from the perspective of a moving object as compared with a stationary one. "Ah", I thought,"this is beginning to make sense". Then Mr Ozel explained to his dog that, a moving object shrinks along its length, when viewed by a stationary observer but, remains the same length and has the background shrink if one is the moving object. Now, I can accept that as a distortion of perspective, but when I am told that, within the reality of the individual frame, both these things actually, no. On one occasion in my life, I was foolish enough to get very drunk. The next morning, my bedroom was spinning in a most annoying fashion; closing my eyes and then re-opening them did nothing to halt this disturbing motion and as much logic as I could muster, under the circumstances, failed to affect the circular motion of my wardrobe, bedroom window et al. Even in my less than perfect mental state, the idea that my mind was functioning correctly and that the room was revolving like the plate in a microwave, never seemed like a reasonable explanation and things actually shrinking and being the same size, at the same time, seems even less likely to my brain.

Mr. Orzel has written a very readable book but, whether the physics are true or no, I find myself unprepared to jettison the required amount of common sense to accept it. This makes reviewing this book difficult: the author has patiently explained and it is my brain that screams, "NO!!!!!!!!!" I cannot blame him for that. I understand a little better what I fail to be able to believe - rather like an almost logical explanation of fairies! If you can open your mind to this new "reality", then this is a book that you should read. It takes one step by step through the workings of relativity.
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on 29 November 2014
This is fab but I sometimes think the dog is more intelligent than me. Some strange and difficult concepts explained here. Read a lot of general science and this is one of the best
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