Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy book, unforgivable Kindle errors, 8 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog (Kindle Edition)
I have a theory about books on quantum physics, which is that their capacity to engage the lay reader is inversely proportional to the number of the page he or she is currently reading. This book contributes to my ad hoc evidence base, though it does a creditable job and will likely merit a second and third reading before I can claim to have truly 'collapsed its wave function'. It's essentially a primer on the grand themes of quantum physics - but with dogs. The author's pet plays the 'dog on the Clapham omnibus', listening to his didactic outline of each such theme and then posing the questions we might ask if we were there. It's basically a good idea and the 'dog' theme provides material for contrasting everyday objects with things on a quantum scale, but it's also unquestionably corny at times. The main problem, though, is that the dog invariably fails to ask all the other questions that inevitably arise when the finer points of some terribly subtle experiment aren't explained clearly enough. In this, it's rather like those lists of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) that never seem to feature the questions we would actually want to ask. All that said, it's a contemporary introduction to the science and about as accessible as we have any right to expect of a book that confronts humankind's most esoteric body of theory. It also scores bonus points for including a chapter on the misappropriation of quantum physics by New Agers and quacks.

Regarding the Kindle edition, this has got to be the worst example of proofing I have yet to experience. There are, as you would expect, quite a lot of numbers, algebraic formulas and diagrams, and in a book such as this the consistent failure of attention to such details is of consequence that is simply unacceptable to a paying customer. The representation of exponents is occasionally correct but often not, in which case we read, for example, '1036' instead of 10 raised to the 36th power, or '10-21 seconds' instead of 1 divided by 10 to the 21st power. There are frequent occurrences of two particular idiosyncrasies, the substitution in text of the word 'indent' for 'left' and the substitution in formulas of '|' for '<'. The former, which is no doubt some markup artifact of an automated conversion of the text, results in such initially baffling passages as 'sometimes she wags her tail farther to the right, sometimes farther to the indent'. The latter, again likely some markup meta-confusion, gives us such unintelligible formulae as 'a|V> + b|H>', where presumably the more straightforward 'a<V> + b<H>' is intended. Algebra aside, given that this book relies so heavily on dialogue it shows a woeful inconsistency in its formatting, such that it's occasionally difficult to tell whether it's the author or the dog who is speaking. The message is clear - buy the paperback*, not the Kindle download.

(*Having visited my local WHS and checked out the paperback, I notice that the '|' v '<' issue appears in all the same places, so either the formatting is correct or the paperback is wrong too. The 'indent' and other problems are indeed Kindle-specific.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.2 out of 5 stars (91 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (44)
4 star:
 (32)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
£5.98
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Bedfordshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 32,145