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A lot of things in a nutshell type of book

  1. Nov 4, 2013 #1
    Hello,
    I have been trying to locate any sort of book which edifies one on different aspects of science without having to go into great detail; a book which anyone from the sciences will be able to read and understand.
    I know that there are encyclopedias lying everywhere but you first have to know what you're looking for before you can find it; hence the thread.
    A book that has information from physics and maths to chemistry and medicine.
    If anyone has ever encountered such a book, please recommend it.
    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2013 #2
    Have you looked at "A short history of nearly everything" by Bill Bryson? Amazon link
     
  4. Nov 4, 2013 #3
    I've checked the TOC. It seems to concentrate more on "ancient" things rather than contemporary ideas. Most of us are already familiar with origin/formation of the earth and evolution from popular media content and documentaries.
    What I want is a book that contains information from motley fields which are most likely specific to a particular field. Take for example, the butterfly effect which someone from the medical field might not be cognizant of.
     
  5. Nov 4, 2013 #4

    Evo

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  6. Nov 4, 2013 #5

    Integral

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    There are many good "about" science books out there. Try George Gamov and John Gribbin both good reads and very informational.
     
  7. Nov 5, 2013 #6
    "The World Within The World" by John Barrow
     
  8. Nov 5, 2013 #7
    No I believe you are mistaken.
    It says, and I quote, "...without having to go into great detail...".
    To me that means he wants some detail. But to give some detail on a lot of topics, one gets a huge book.

    For example in the book they describe the effect of superconductivity. But to understand that fully, you need quite some quantum theory (field or mechanics not sure atm). I mean I've had a very simple undergraduate course in solid state physics where superconductivity was treated but we used so many ad hoc arguments it was hard to grasp some of the essential concepts about the "why?".

    I believe that's more or less Evo's take on the question. (Correct me if I'm wrong Evo)
     
  9. Nov 5, 2013 #8

    Integral

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    I do not think that there is any ONE book that will satisfy the OP. There are however a myriad of books that could help him. You will not learn any real science in these books but can get a historic overview with a fair amount of hand waving.

    Evo, I think you did miss the mark on this one.
     
  10. Nov 5, 2013 #9
    I respectfully disagree. John Barrow's book has in my opinion a great deal of real, hard, empirical science that one could obtain much scientific knowledge about the Universe we live in.
     
  11. Nov 5, 2013 #10

    Evo

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    You just agreed with me, there isn't a single book that covers all of those topics. He's asking for ONE book.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  12. Nov 5, 2013 #11

    ZombieFeynman

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    This sure is an authoritative response, and one that I personally believe is wrong. The OP is looking for "... any sort of book which edifies one on different aspects of science without having to go into great detail...". The OP is not looking for only ONE book which teaches about EVERYTHING, but presumably any or all books which teach one about many things. I am sure there are plenty of books with broad coverage of science, and which go into deep and diverse enough detail to satisfy the OP.

    Off the mark indeed. For the sake of this forum, I hope posts are not being deleted simply because a moderator's opinion differs from the poster. I thought physics forums was above this sort of thing.
     
  13. Nov 5, 2013 #12

    Evo

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    No, the OP *is* asking for ONE book that covers multiple science categories for people in science, not for laymen.

    And no, the member complaining is trolling me because I had deleted their sockpuppet.
     
  14. Nov 5, 2013 #13

    berkeman

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    To be fair, the OP did say "A book" a couple of times in his first post. That can be interpreted as looking for a single book. It would be good if the OP could clarify so that we can focus the discussion better.
     
  15. Nov 5, 2013 #14

    ZombieFeynman

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    The OP merely said "that someone from the sciences WILL BE ABLE to read and understand", he did not say that "ONLY that someone from the sciences will be...".

    I think you are focusing on semantics and are largely ignoring the more nuanced question at hand.
     
  16. Nov 5, 2013 #15

    ZombieFeynman

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    These sorts of books *DO* exist in some forms or others. The Princeton Companion to Mathematics authoritatively covers nearly all of modern mathematics in a satisfying level of detail for me (an armchair mathematician). Books like Steven Strogatz's Nonlinear Dynamics text shows how chaos and nonlinear behavior is ubiquitous throughout the sciences. Bryson's aforementioned books are very good. These are off the top of my head and I am confident there are more examples.

    In my opinion, the deviation from the ideal "one book for everything" is in degree, not in kind.
     
  17. Nov 5, 2013 #16

    Evo

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    Then the Op can clarify if he wants to expand the criteria. I was simply giving an example of how many areas of specialties there are to even one category of science, such as biology. If you read what's discussed in the thread I linked it should be self explanatory of just how much even one field of science covers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  18. Nov 5, 2013 #17

    Evo

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    No one is arguing that many great books exist that cover certain areas, that was the point that I was making. That's not what the OP was asking though.
     
  19. Nov 5, 2013 #18

    berkeman

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    Rick, please take this off-topic conversation to PMs.
     
  20. Nov 5, 2013 #19

    Evo

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    The thread can be reopened after it's clear it can stay on topic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  21. Nov 6, 2013 #20

    berkeman

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    @medwatt -- If you'd like this thread re-opened, please PM me. Thanks.
     
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