The official release date for How to Teach Physics to Your Dog is three weeks from tomorrow, but a couple of new reviews have been posted, one linkable, the other not so much. The linkable one is from one of our contest winners, Eric Goebelbecker, at Dog Spelled Forward (an excellent name for a dog-related blog):

Quantum physics can be some heavy stuff, and this book teaches you the basics without dumbing it down or putting you to sleep. Professor Orzel has a gift for funny dialogue and straightforward explanation. In addition to the entertaining conversations with Emmy, there are fascinating explanations of how the theories behind quantum mechanics were developed and how a few have been tested. There are also a few funny science fiction references – what discussion of quantum mechanics would be complete without some Star Trek?

The non-linkable one is behind the paywall at Booklist (I signed up for a 30-day free trial, just to make sure it’s there…). They misidentify my research field, but the rest of it is so good, it’s hard to be mad:

Particle physicist Orzel has a smart and energetic German shepherd-mix, Emmy, who’s interested in what he does for a living that keeps her in treats and kibble. So she asks him about it, and he tells her, with plenty of chaseable bunnies and squirrels illustratively standing-in for photons, electrons, and other particles. He cheerfully and uncommonly clearly explains particle-wave duality; Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle (and the popular-media misuse of it); photon superposition and polarization; wave-function collapse and Bohr’s strict discrimination between quantum and classical physics; the many-worlds view of quantum mechanics that defies wave-function collapse; the quantum Zeno effect; quantum tunneling (right through “solid” barriers); entanglement and how it enables teleportation (at the quantum scale, that is); virtual particles and quantum electrodynamics; and the fraudulence of quantum-mechanics-exploiting “free energy” and healing schemes. Emmy’s attempts to apply her new knowledge practically (to catch squirrels and bunnies) keeps the conversation moving. It’s hard to imagine a better way for the mathematically and scientifically challenged, in particular, to grasp basic quantum physics.

(That’s the full text, but it’s only one paragraph, so it’s hard to sensibly excerpt it…)

I believe the relevant phrase the kids use these days is “w00t!”

(Also, since a couple of people have asked at various points, I can confirm that the book will be available in the UK, though not until January.)

Comments

  1. #1 S.C. Kavassalis
    November 30, 2009

    It sounds adorable. Congrats.

  2. #2 CCPhysicist
    November 30, 2009

    Particle physicist? You have been INSULTED!

  3. #3 Matt Leifer
    December 1, 2009

    All physics is particle physics or stamp collecting ;-)