Superlative Science Books

Three quick items relating to science in book form:

1) It's that time of year again when every media outlet of any consequence puts out a "Year's Best {Noun}" list, and John Dupuis is checking the lists for science books so you don't have to. It looks like a pretty reasonable year for science in the best non-fiction-book-list world, but you can see for yourself.

2) In the "good books about science coming next year" category, the line-up for The Open Laboratory anthology of outstanding science blogging has been announced. I'm very pleased to report that my write-up of the OPERA preprint was among the 51 pieces selected. There's a lot of good stuff there, though, and it's an honor to be included. If you're looking for a way to kill time on a Friday afternoon, you could do a whole lot worse than working your way through that list.

3) Speaking of good books about science coming next year, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog will be out at the end of February, but some people are already saying nice things about it, for cover blurbs:

"For the price of a book, Orzel delivers the heady, joyful experience of taking a small college class with a brilliant and funny professor who really knows how to teach. A thoroughly winning romp through a rock-solid presentation of a beautiful subject."

--Louisa Gilder, author of The Age of Entanglement

"Move over, Krypto--there's a new superdog in town! Chad Orzel's dog Emmy, having mastered quantum physics, now helps us understand Einstein's theories of relativity in a deep and accessible way. Get this dog a cape!"

--James Kakalios, Professor of Physics, University of Minnesota, and author of The Physics of Superheroes and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics

"Everyone's favorite physics-loving canine is back, this time giving us a dog's eye view of Einstein and relativity. Physics professor Chad Orzel leads Emmy (and us) through an engaging tour of light speed, time dilation, and amazing shrinking bunnies (length contraction)--not to mention what all this means for the search for the elusive 'bacon boson.'"

--Jennifer Ouellette, author of The Calculus Diaries

"With Nero, the egocentric cat who believes it is the centre of the universe, and Emmy, the student dog whose questions and misunderstandings would drive any teacher to distraction, and whose interest in relativity is how E=mc2 can turn squirrels into energy, Chad Orzel has created a delightful cast of characters to make his introduction to relativity relatively painless. A cleverly crafted and beautifully explained narrative that guides readers carefully into the depths of relativity. Whether you are a hare or a tortoise, or even a dog, you will enjoy this."

--Frank Close, author of The Infinity Puzzle

"Emmy may be one smart dog, but her owner also happens to be an uncommonly gifted communicator. Chad Orzel's treatment of special and general relativity is comprehensive, informative, and amazingly accessible, yet it's funny too. This is, by far, the most entertaining discussion of the subject that I've ever had the pleasure of reading."

--Steve Nadis, coauthor of The Shape of Inner Space

It's a huge ego boost to hear smart people saying nice things about my book, but it's almost as much a relief. There's always that nagging "what if nobody likes it?" thought in the back of my head, and it's great to hear that at least some of the people who got advance copies liked it enough to say so on the cover.

This, of course, means I need to add "update the website to the long list of things I don't have enough time to do this month...

More like this

I have checked repeatedly hoping that How to Teach Physics to Your Dog would become available as an audio book, but, alas, this has not come about. Might the new book be issued in audio format? I am not able to read a printed book.

I suspect this might be a place where a reading by the author would be a plus.

I have long enjoyed your pictures of Steely Kid, and I hope you will be able to take photos of your second child far more often than do most of us.


Oh, how I remember the simplicity of these equations and the complexity of using them for calculations. I DO miss the days spent in engineering school, wondering why my roommate never studied but still made all A's!

By Randy Hawkins (not verified) on 13 Dec 2011 #permalink