How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

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When physics professor Chad Orzel went to the pound to adopt a dog, he never imagined Emmy. She wasn't just a friendly mutt who needed a home; she was a talking dog with an active interest in what her new owner did for a living and how it could work for her.

Soon Emmy was trying to use the strange ideas of quantum mechanics for the really important things in her life: chasing critters, getting treats, and going for walks. She peppered Chad with questions: Could she use quantum tunneling to get through the neighbor's fence and chase bunnies? What about quantum teleportation to catch squirrels before they climb out of reach? Where are all the universes in which Chad drops steak on the floor? And what about the bunnies made of cheese that ought to be appearing out of nothing in the backyard?

With great humor and clarity, Chad Orzel explains to Emmy, and to human readers, just what quantum mechanics is and how it works -- and why, although you can't use it to catch squirrels or eat steak, it's still bizarre, amazing, and important to every dog and human.

Follow along as Chad and Emmy discuss the central elements of quantum theory, from particles that behave like waves and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to entanglement ("spooky action at a distance") and virtual particles. Along the way, they discuss the history of the theory, such as the experiments that discovered that electrons are waves and particles at the same time, and Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr's decades-long debate over what quantum theory really meant (Einstein may have been smarter, but Bohr was right more often).

Don't get caught looking less informed than Emmy. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog will show you the universe that lies beneath everyday reality, in all its randomness, uncertainty, and wonder.

"Forget Schrödinger's Cat," says Emmy, "quantum physics is all about dogs." And once you see quantum physics explained to a dog, you'll never see the world the same way again.
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About the author

Chad Orzel was born and raised in central New York, and received a degree in physics from Williams College, and his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Maryland. He is now a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He lives near campus with his wife Kate, their daughter, and, of course, Emmy, the Queen of Niskayuna.

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Additional Information

Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Dec 22, 2009
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Pets / Dogs / General
Science / Physics / Atomic & Molecular
Science / Physics / General
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Beobachten, Denken, Überprüfen, Mitteilen – warum wir im Grunde alle Wissenschaftler sind

Der Physiker Chad Orzel hat eine gute Nachricht für alle, die glauben, Wissenschaft sei nicht „ihr Ding“. Wie er in seinem neuen Buch erläutert, arbeiten wir alle eigentlich jeden Tag wissenschaftlich, auch wenn uns dies oft gar nicht bewusst ist. Denn in der wissenschaftlichen Praxis geht es zwar auch um „harte Fakten“, aber entscheidend sind immer vier Prozesse: Beobachten, Denken, Überprüfen und Mitteilen – also Dinge, die jeder Mensch tagtäglich tut. Schmeckt das neue Popcorn mit Cayennepfeffer besser? Bin ich schneller, wenn ich den Umweg zwei Blöcke östlich von der Hauptstraße fahre? Wie erreiche ich bei Angry Birds das nächste Level? Schon wenn wir solche Fragen stellen, betreiben wir gewissermaßen Wissenschaft. Wir beobachten etwas, denken über eine Erklärung oder Lösung nach, prüfen diese Annahme (und finden sie bestätigt oder widerlegt) und lassen andere an unserer Erkenntnis teilhaben. Ausgehend von Alltagserfahrungen und mit Blick auf die außergewöhnliche Geschichte der Wissenschaft entwickelt Orzel die These, dass wir alle lernen können, unseren inneren Wissenschaftler zu entdecken und zu fördern – sei es zu Hause oder am Arbeitsplatz.

Chad Orzel belegt unterhaltsam, dass wir alle Wissenschaftler sind und den angeborenen Drang haben, Dinge zu entdecken oder zu erschaffen. New Scientist

Chad Orzel hat absolut recht: Jeder Mensch hat einen Wissenschaftler in sich, der nur darauf wartet, hervorzutreten und die Welt mit neuen Augen zu betrachten. Dieses Buch liefert großartige Beispiele, die Sie dazu inspirieren werden, Ihren inneren Wissenschaftler zu befreien. Sean Carroll, theoretischer Physiker am Caltech und Autor von The Particle at the End of the Universe

Der Autor

Chad Orzel ist Professor für Physik am Union College in Schenectady im US-Bundesstaat New York und Autor der beiden erfolgreichen Sachbücher Schrödingers Hund und Einsteins Hund.

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