Breakfast with Einstein: The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects (Paperback)

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Your alarm goes off, and you head to the kitchen to make yourself some toast and a cup of coffee. Little do you know, as you savor the aroma of the steam rising from your cup, that your ordinary morning routine depends on some of the weirdest phenomena ever discovered. 

The world of quantum physics is generally thought of as hopelessly esoteric. While classical physics gives us the laws governing why a ball rolls downhill, how a plane is able to fly, and so on, its quantum cousin gives us particles that are actually waves, "spooky" action at a distance, and Schrodinger's unlucky cat. But, believe it or not, even the most mundane of everyday activities is profoundly influenced by the abstract and exotic world of the quantum. 

In Breakfast with Einstein, Chad Orzel illuminates the strange phenomena lurking just beneath the surface of our ordinary lives by digging into the surprisingly complicated physics involved in his (and anyone's) morning routine. Orzel, author of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog, explores how quantum connects with everyday reality, and offers engaging, layperson-level explanations of the mind-bending ideas central to modern physics. 

From the sun, alarm clocks, and the red glow of a toaster's hot filaments  (the glow that launched quantum mechanics) to the chemistry of food aroma, a typical day is rich with examples of quantum weirdness. Breakfast with Einstein reveals the hidden physics all around us, and after reading this book, your ordinary mornings will never seem quite as ordinary again.

About the Author

Chad Orzel is a physicist, professor, and blogger, and the author of three previous books How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog, and Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he has been on the faculty since 2001. Orzel has been blogging about physics and academia for Forbes and since 2002. He is earned a BA in physics from Williams College and a PhD in chemical physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. At that time, he completed his thesis research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology with Bill Phillips (Nobel Laureate in 1997), and he was a post-doc at Yale before starting at Union, studying the quantum physics of ultra-cold atoms.

Praise For…

"Using his morning routine as an example, Orzel sets out to show the reader how quantum physics is a part of our everyday lives, and he largely succeeds in this informative and friendly book . . . The conceit of following Orzel around for his morning routine offers the barest of frames, but he uses it to great effect."
New York Times Book Review

"Physics is everywhere and in every thing, and no one explains physics better than Chad Orzel. This book is a meal for your mind."

—John Scalzi

"Fans of quantum physics will be informed and entertained." 


"Common wisdom paints quantum mechanics as one of the most abstract and esoteric of subjects, daunting for non-experts. Yet, as Chad Orzel wonderfully shows in Breakfast with Einstein, a full gamut of our commonplace daily activities—from boiling water for tea on a glowing range to taking and exchanging photos with our electronic cameras and phones—depends on quantum rules. By focusing on how quantum mechanisms guide the workings of his typical morning routine, Orzel cleverly brings those important principles close to home."

—Paul Halpern, author of The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality

"Prof. Orzel draws us in with the everyday experience. And then we find we are on a journey of more than 100 years of physics. The reader is rewarded not only with a deeper understanding of everyday things, but also learns how physicists themselves look the world every day."

—David Saltzberg, professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA

"Why don't light bulbs fry us with deadly radiation? Why can't you stick your hand through a solid wall? Why isn't every scrap of metal a magnet? So many science books focus on the latest wacky cosmic discovery, but Orzel shows how the ordinary world around us is already plenty weird."

—George Musser, contributing editor at Scientific American and author of Spooky Action at a Distance

"William Blake saw the world in a grain of sand. Chad Orzel sees the universe in a slice of toast. Orzel is a master at bringing abstract ideas like relativity and quantum mechanics down to earth without ever skimping on the science. This fun, engaging, and deeply informative book is definitive proof that everything is fascinating when you look closely enough. I'll never see my breakfast the same way again."

—Amanda Gefter, author of Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn

"Breakfast with Einstein offers a clear and entertaining introduction to the wonders of quantum mechanics, showing that these principles surround us and are employed regularly in our everyday lives. Chad Orzel is the perfect guide to the world of atoms and photons, demonstrating that even our morning breakfast rituals are not possible without the wonders of modern physics."

—James Kakalios, professor of physics at the University of Minnesota and author of The Physics of Superheroes and The Physics of Everyday Things

"Chad Orzel's new book is a masterfully told story about the myriad ways that physics shapes our lives."

—Sabine Hossenfelder, physicist and author of Lost in Math
Product Details
ISBN: 9781946885357
ISBN-10: 1946885355
Publisher: BenBella Books
Publication Date: December 11th, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English