I’m typing this from the local Barnes and Noble, waiting for the dealership next door to finish changing my oil and inspecting my car. Sadly, they don’t have How to Teach Physics to Your Dog on the shelves in their (rather small) science section. Grump, grump, grump.
The disappointment at not immediately finding it on the shelves is tempered a bit by seeing it featured in The Big Idea at Scalzi’s blog:
Want a Big Idea that’s about a really big idea? Well, this week’s book is about quantum physics, and it doesn’t get much bigger than that (well, given the scale quantum physics works on, it actually doesn’t get much smaller than that, but you know what I mean — it’s a really big idea about really small things). Just the words “quantum physics” makes some people itchy, and don’t think author Chad Orzel doesn’t know it — he teaches physics for a living as a professor at Union College. But to show the subject is not as intimidating as all that, Orzel proposes to show that even our canine friends can follow the subject — and use it to their advantage when, say, chasing squirrels.
Thus: How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, featuring Orzel and his dog Emmy discussing Particle-Wave Duality, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the Many-Worlds Interpretation and other very cool ideas in quantum physics. Does it work? It does indeed; this is a great book for folks who are interested in science and physics, whatever their previous level of knowledge on the subject (that’s a hint for you last-minute Christmas shoppers). I personally liked the book enough to give it a blurb; I’m a big fan of books that make science understandable for everyone, and Orzel (and Emmy) have just the right touch for that. This is a fun and fascinating book.
That’s John’s introduction. It’s followed by a piece I wrote about the origin of the book, and why I think quantum physics and dogs go well together. You’ll have to click through to read it, though…