Best History of Physics Books?

by Geremia
Tags: history of physics
Geremia is offline
Apr14-10, 09:22 PM
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After reading the introduction of Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics, I found out about Whittaker's history of physics book History of the Theories of Aether & Electricity, Classical Theories, which covers physics from Plato to 1900, and the second volume of which covers modern theories from 1900 to 1950. Is this the best, most comprehensive history of physics book out there? Do you have any other suggestions of classics? I know Duhem, e.g., wrote extensively about physics in the middle ages. Thanks
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George Jones
George Jones is offline
Apr15-10, 05:59 AM
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As I said in,

for books, there is no such thing as "best."

A thread on books about the history of quantum theory:
marc1 is offline
Sep3-11, 01:57 PM
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I came across a more lighthearted but actually fairly comprehensive history of physics - Fizz tells the history of physics in a novel about a young woman who time travels to meet Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Hawking and many others. (See I found this to be a fun way to learn about the history of physics and some of the fundamental concepts along the way.... There are historical notes at the back.

Integral is online now
Sep3-11, 02:13 PM
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Best History of Physics Books?

Read John Gribbin's InSearch of Schrodinger's Cat and Scrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality
mishima is offline
Sep4-11, 11:53 PM
P: 284
I really like Max Jammers "Concepts of..." books. There are four on mass, force, space, and simultaneity. All are really quite excellent, and not huge.

This may be not what you are looking for, but the my personal favorite history of physics is an academic book called "Time for Science Education" by Michael Matthews. In it, he argues the teaching of physics using the pendulum and in doing so tells a great story.

Something more "poppy" or mainstream that is nonetheless well researched is "Northern Lights" by Lucy Jago. This is a biography of Birkeland. It will for sure give you more respect for early EM research. Its also just so amazing as far as story...

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