Synopses & Reviews
In How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog
, popular physicist Chad Orzel explains Einsteins theory for non-scientists in a decidedly unscientific fashion. Through a series of conversations with his dog, Emmy, Orzel illuminates the complicated concepts behind relativity.
It goes something like this; Emmy, the curious scamp that she is, typically pursues some half-understood aspect of science or math as a means for catching bunnies or squirrels. You know, like most dogs do. When she fails, or sometimes even before she does, Orzel gently explains the flaws in her plan, followed by a more detailed explanation of the real physics for interested humans. Emmy, in true puppy fashion, provides some occasional (and always helpful) interjections, asking for clarification or commenting on the explanation offered.
In How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog, readers can expect to learn such concepts as how length contraction causes fast-moving objects to shrink and how relativity causes moving clocks to run slow, along with some of the cosmological consequences of general relativity and what it can tell us about where the universe came from and how it will end. From relative motion and time dilation, to the unification of forces and extra dimensions, Orzel will have even the biggest physics-phobe hooked.
An entertaining ride through one of the great theories of modern physics, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog will teach you about space
"Physics professor Orzel follows his How to Teach Physics to Your Dog with a compact and instructive walk through Einstein's theory of relativity, using the same conceit of lecturing to his preternaturally intelligent and curious dog, Emma. Orzel enthusiastically tackles this elusive subject in chapters with titles like 'Time Slows When You're Chasing Bunnies' and 'The Unified Theory of Critters.' The cuteness quotient is high, but the dialogues between author and dog are helpful in explaining the difficult and counterintuitive aspects of relativity. Whether Orzel is writing about the Michelson-Morley experiments, which challenged the previously held notion of universal time and prepared the world of physics for Einstein's breakthrough, or Einstein's most famous equation, E=mc2, the prose is breezy and straightforward, and the material well organized. But there is no getting around the subject matter's difficulty, and while Orzel's explanatory diagrams featuring the ever-present Emma help readers visualize the abstract theory, the concepts remain challenging. Relativity constantly amazes, and the glimpses of understanding provide rewarding and satisfying moments. B&w illus. Agent: Erin Hosier, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Steve Nadis, coauthor of The Shape of Inner Space
Emmy may be one smart dog, but her owner also happens to be an uncommonly gifted communicator. Chad Orzels treatment of special and general relativity is comprehensive, informative, and amazingly accessible, yet its funny too. This is, by far, the most entertaining discussion of the subject that Ive ever had the pleasure of reading.”
Frank Close, author of The Infinity Puzzle
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=mc^2 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.”
Louisa Gilder, author of The Age of Entanglement
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.”
James Kakalios, Professor of Physics, University of Minnesota, and author of The Physics of Superheroes and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics
Move over, Kryptotheres a new superdog in town! Chad Orzels dog Emmy, having mastered quantum physics, now helps us understand Einsteins theories of relativity in a deep and accessible way. Get this dog a cape!”
Jennifer Ouellette, author of The Calculus Diaries
Everyones favorite physics-loving canine is back, this time giving us a dogs 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.”
Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here
Dogs are a practical species. They arent interested in speculation and conjecture; they like food, walks, and proven physics like Einsteins relativity. If you really want to further your dogs education (and learn something yourself in the process), Chad Orzels book is the first place you should turn.”
[A] compact and instructive walk through Einsteins theory of relativit.... [T]he prose is breezy and straightforward, and the material well organized.... Relativity constantly amazes, and the glimpses of understanding provide rewarding and satisfying moments.”
Unlike quantum physics, which remains bizarre even to experts, much of relativity makes sense. Thus, Einsteins special relativity merely states that the laws of physics and the speed of light are identical for all observers in smooth motion. This sounds trivial but leads to weird if delightfully comprehensible phenomena, provided someone like Orzel delivers a clear explanation of why.”
A clever introduction to the often intimidating concepts of special and general relativity, couched as a series of conversations between the author and his dog, Emmy. It may sound like a strange setup, but the somewhat kooky concept works well for explaining a field of physics that can sound, well, kooky to the uninitiated.... While keeping the math to a minimum, Orzel provides a clear and thorough primer. It might take some practice to start equating subatomic particles to running bunnies, but the reader will find that puzzling through the details is worth the effort.”
With canine humor and math- or physics-related jokes, Orzel keeps readers interested, while teaching the elements of physics that we promptly forgot after we took the test.”
Readers who enjoy Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, or Neil deGrasse Tyson will love this book. Full of quotes, math jokes, and silly canines, the book strives to make its audience amazed by, not frightened of, physics. With exuberant Emmy at the lead, readers cant help but be dragged (willingly!) toward a better understanding of special and general relativity.”
Rather than barking or growling, Emmy leavens the mood with requests for walks; and when the academics get heavy, she interjects to beg for clarification. Obviously, real-life dogs will not walk away from the book with a grasp of the universes mechanics, but the human sort of non-scientist can get some benefit.”
[E]ngaging and readable for a general audience.... I suggest people who baulk at the idea of a talking dog but are nevertheless interested in the broad sweep of one of the two great theories of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries should give this book a chance. After all, every dog has its day.”
Amusing and engaging.... Its informal and has a lightness of touch that can be reassuring when trying to get your head around some big concepts."
New York Times
Witty and clear-thinking.... Professor Orzel, who teaches physics at Union College and runs the blog Uncertain Principles, is turning his own dog, Emmy, into something of a franchise
.succinct and entertaining.... Bravo to both man and dog.”
Everyone talks to their pets; Chad Orzel tells his about relativity.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But what about relativity?Physics professor Chad Orzel and his inquisitive canine companion, Emmy, tackle the concepts of general relativity in this irresistible introduction to Einstein’s physics. Through armchair—and sometimes passenger-seat—conversations with Emmy about the relative speeds of dog and cat motion or the logistics of squirrel-chasing, Orzel translates complex Einsteinian ideas—the slowing of time for a moving observer, the shrinking of moving objects, the effects of gravity on light and time, black holes, the Big Bang, and of course, E=mc2—into examples simple enough for a dog to understand. A lively romp through one of the great theories of modern physics, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about space, time, and anything else you might have slept through in high school physics class.
About the Author
Chad Orzel received his BA in physics from Williams College, his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Maryland, and his postdoctorate from Yale University. He maintains a regular blog, Uncertain Principles, and is author of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. He is currently a professor at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He lives near campus with his wife, their daughter, and, of course, Emmy.