How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog
How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel is your first, and best, introduction to quantum physics available in book format. Through funny interactions with his (speaking) dog Emmy, Orzel enlightens us on the basics of quantum physics. No previous experience or knowledge about physics required!
The book starts, and later ends, with a conversation with Emmy, the dog. Through this ingenious way, Orzel conjures up a simple, real-life example of actually really technical ideas. Each chapter has approximately one formula or equation. And the chapters all tackle one of the key concepts at a time.
The first chapter is about the particle-wave duality. Here Orzel helps Emmy with the problem of catching squirrels by running around a tree on both sides at the same time. Emmy is familiar with the following rule; material parts have wave nature and can diffract around objects, and she tries to exploit this feature. Some, or actually a lot, of explaining later, however, gives a disappointing conclusion for Emmy, going around an object at two sides at the same time, is only possible at the microscopic level.
Other huge scientific, and non-intuitive, findings are also explained in further chapters in an easy and comprehensive way. Some of the topics include; The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Schrödinger’s Cat, The Copenhagen Interpretation, The Many-Worlds Interpretation, and Quantum Teleportation.
The beauty of the book lies in the simplicity of its examples and is a sign of a real expert doing the writing. Orzel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College. Not only is he knowledgeable on what quantum physics is, he also devotes the last chapter to what it is not (e.g. subatomic healing). And in a later book (How to Teach Your Dog Relativity), he tackles even more mind-blowing science.
I have no formal education in physics, let alone quantum physics, beyond High School level. But the information is presented in such a comprehensible way that, when interested, this book makes for an excellent read. Read it on your next vacation!
More on Quantum Physics:
http://dogphysics.com/book_info.html – The page for the book
http://scienceblogs.com/principles/category/physics/ – Scienceblog on Physics (with Chad Orzel)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics – Wikipedia on Quantum Physics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEaecUuEqfc – Google Talk on Quantum Mechanics