Book 4: How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, Chad Orzel
I loved his second book, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog, which I actually read first. It took me a while to get used to the extent of conversations Orzel has with Emmy, his dog, in order to teach her both Special and General relativity, I eventually come to enjoy the technique when I realized Emmy asked a lot of the questions that I was asking while reading the author’s narratives.
Somewhat unfortunately, this first book relies much less on questions and commentary from Emmy while explaining much weightier subject matter. In some ways, it worked, because it takes (for me) a certain amount of focussed concentration to even pretend I understand the subjects. On the other hand, it’s possible that additional insightful interruptions from Emmy may have helped with earlier clarifications. In the end, I enjoyed it immensely and found it as understandable as any quantum physics book that I have read (which isn’t saying much. Does anyone actually understand quantum physics??). It did, satisfyingly, provide some new eureka moments, such as the possible concept of time occurring in quantum units(!) and how quantum teleportation works (and how it isn’t teleportation at all, but something more akin to quantum faxing).
It’s hard to say if this book is truly something to be recommended to quantum physics newbies, however, as I read it with a pretty decent lay-person’s understanding of the concepts involved and am far beyond the “what the hell are you even talking about” stage. My impression is that this book would be a challenge for a person with a beginning interest in this area, unlike Orzel’s second book which I found to be remarkably accessible. That said, this is a book I will want to keep and reread.
Rating: Buy it.