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Any book recommendations to a physics layman?

  1. Jun 25, 2009 #1
    I've been reading a lot about physics on the web, which has got me curious. Particularly about things like the EPR paradox, entanglement, quantum physics, unification theories, supersymmetry, etc....you know, all the interesting stuff. I just want dumbed down books on all this stuff because it's all so interesting and I won't be able to understand much of the math. I was thinking about "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene or "The Fabric of the Cosmos" also by Brian Greene. But I've kinda been turned off by those because of all the controversy over string theory like the book "The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next" by Lee Smolin.

    So, what do you guys recommend?
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  3. Jun 27, 2009 #2


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    Understanding Physics by Isaac Asimov should be simple enough.
  4. Jun 27, 2009 #3


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jun 27, 2009 #4


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    I've found Hawking's "A brief history of time" to be a very interesting book.


    Also, I remember the book "Black holes, Wormholes and Time Machines" being very good, although it's been about five or six years since I read it.


    For pop-sci books, I find local libraries to be well stocked. Go to the section on physics and there will be tons of popular science books you don't need much of a mathematical background to understand (indeed, it's sometimes hard to find the more mathematical ones!).

    Edit: Note that both these books are a little dated, (1998 and 1999 publishing dates respectively), but I consider them to still be very good.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Jul 2, 2009 #5
    You should do a search on "layman" or "laymen" in this forum. You should find lots of threads.
  7. Jul 11, 2009 #6
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Jul 12, 2009 #7
    You may also want to try "The Universe in a Nutshell".
  9. Jul 18, 2009 #8
    Hawking has made his best-seller even more straightforward, retitling it "A Briefer History of Time". The hardback is rather nice, with some good pictures.

    To go a little bit further, Brian Greene's books are, actually, very good. Gribbin tends to go off at tangents, which may confuse the lay reader. Greene covers the basics very well, and his style is very good. He doesn't push string theory too hard and mentions other ideas.
  10. Jul 20, 2009 #9
    I find Hawking's books (even Hawking himself) to be overrated. I think there are better books to be read on physics, even for the layman.
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