How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel
What do dog treats and chasing squirrels have to do with quantum mechanics? Much more than you might imagine, as Orzel explains in this fun introduction to modern physics based on a “series of conversations” with his dog Emmy. Dogs make the perfect sounding board for physics talk, because they “approach the world with fewer preconceptions than humans, and always expect the unexpected.” Physicist Orzel begins with the basics, explaining how light can be both particle and wave simultaneously—a bit like a dog that can split itself into two to chase a rabbit no matter which direction it runs. A look at Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle begins with a hunt for a hypothetical bone. Schrödinger’s cat becomes, of course, Schrödinger’s dog. Quantum entanglement, quantum teleportation and virtual particles (composed, for example, of bunny-antibunny pairs) are all explained with the author’s characteristic lighthearted touch. While Orzel’s presentation may be a bit too precious for some, readers who’ve shied away from popular treatments of physics in the past may find his cheerful discussion a real treat.