How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel

How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel

Author:Chad Orzel
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Scribner

“So how do I tunnel through the fence?”

“Well, you could eat fewer treats, and get skinny enough to pass between the bars like the bunnies do.”

“I don’t like that plan. I’m a good dog. I deserve the treats I get.”

“And you get the treats you deserve. The other option would be quantum tunneling through the fence, but quantum tunneling isn’t something you do, it’s something that just happens. If you send a whole bunch of particles at the barrier, a small number of them will show up on the other side. But which ones go through is completely random. It’s all about probability.”

“So, I just need to run at the fence enough times, and I’ll end up on the other side?”

“I wouldn’t try it. The probability of a particle tunneling through a barrier depends on the thickness of the barrier and the quantum wavelength of the particle. The probability of a fifty-pound dog passing through a half-inch aluminum barrier would be something like one over e to the power of ten to the thirty-six. Do you know what that is?”


“Zero. Or near enough to make no difference. So don’t go throwing yourself at the fence.”

She’s quiet for a minute.

“Anyway, I hope that answers your question.” I pick my book back up.

“Sort of.”

“Sort of?”

“Well, the quantum stuff was interesting, and all, but I was thinking of classical tunneling.”

“Classical tunneling?”

“I was going to dig a hole under the fence.”


“It’s a good plan!” She wags her tail enthusiastically, and looks very pleased with herself.


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