Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly joyous roup!, 14 Aug. 2012
This review is from: How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog (Paperback)
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Some people may have slept through their physics classes but not me: I barely did any at all and what was taught at our rather demure girls' school was delivered so badly that I could not wait to drop the subject. History was much more fun.

Nowadays, I rather regret it and I have been trying to make up for lost ground. Of course Einstein is a "must know" and Chad Orzel and his dog, Emmy, have ridden to my rescue with this totally enchanting little tome. Mind you, as the proud owner of six cats, I am not sure whether it would be Nero (a cat, of course) whom I would have been consigning to a black hole...

Professor Orzel explains Relativity via conversations with his dog, an eager creature who is anxious to understand his master's work. He is also clearly an extremely intelligent beast with a natural talent for understanding complex theories at "first pass". I am not sure that the same can be said for me.

The subject is presented in a logical fashion. First, we have some basic ground work, then move to Special Relativity and finally to General Relativity. There are also diagrams along the way to assist in grasping the topic. The most interesting bits for me were when we came to applying the topic and I readily understood the synchronisation of GPS systems and the astrophysics. I had more difficulty with the light cone and the space time chapter where the diagrams were more complex.

I absolutely loved the book, especially since the author is a clear enthusiast who delights in his subject. This made up for the fact that I felt that the reader really needed some prior knowledge to grasp the topics thoroughly and I found myself resorting to some background reading to support my learning. (I researched Newton, for a start.) The knowledge acquisition curve was really very steep for a novice but I was determined to continue lest lost momentum might lead me to lose interest. I also thought that the diagrams were not over clear in places and I would have appreciated larger ones and, perhaps, in colour! Perhaps I should have read Professor Orzel's first book on teaching physics to your dog before embarking on this one.

This is a splendid book to buy for an intelligent friend who adores science. I, for one, found it riveting in the end and started reading it in corridors at work and even allowing it to accompany me to the toilet. It has certainly enhanced my life and I have encouraged friends to buy copies as a result. For my part, I now have a list of topics to research as a spin-off so I am (Emmy, please forgive me) a very happy bunny!
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Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,622