Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Best authors

  1. Stephen Hawking with [i]BHOT[/i] or [i]UIANS[/i]

    3 vote(s)
  2. Roger Penrose with [i]The Emperor's New Mind[/i]

    1 vote(s)
  3. Kip Thorne with [i]Black Holes and Time Warps[/i]

    2 vote(s)
  4. Richard Feynman with his collected [i]QED[/i] lectures

    8 vote(s)
  5. Lee Smolin with [i]Three Roads to Quantum Gravity[/i]

    0 vote(s)
  6. Alan Guth with [i]The Inflationary Universe[/i]

    2 vote(s)
  7. Brian Greene with [i]The Elegant Universe[/i]

    14 vote(s)
  8. George Gamow with [i]Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland/Explores the Atom[/i]

    1 vote(s)
  9. Someone I forgot (specify the author and book)

    4 vote(s)
  1. Apr 26, 2003 #1
    Which physicist wrote the best popular level physics book? Choose based on style, content, subject matter, skill as a writer, whatever you like.

    I've seen some criticism of Hawking's writing and I'm curious how other physicists' books directed at the layman are viewed. I probably left out plenty of good choices so excuse that.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2003 #2
    It just occurred to me that I probably should have included Kaku in the list. So if any moderator happens to read this...:smile:
  4. Apr 26, 2003 #3
    the only book like that i ve ever read was kaku, hyperspace.

    so i can t vote.
  5. Apr 26, 2003 #4
    Yes, you should have included Michio Kaku. That's why I voted "Someone I forgot (Specify author and title of book". I would vote for Prof. Kaku because all I've ever heard about his books are always positive things.
    What where the "books" that were by Stephen Hawking's choice?
  6. Apr 26, 2003 #5
    Paul Davies is my choice!
  7. Apr 26, 2003 #6
    The Feynman lectures get my vote, I'm still on the first book but it's his simple way of explaning things that reached in my pocket and stole my $100 to pay for them and I'm not even a physics major.
  8. Apr 26, 2003 #7
    Brief History of Time
    Universe in a nutshell
  9. Apr 26, 2003 #8
    I voted for Feynmann....though I like Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne...I also enjoyed reading a couple of books written by einstein....and I loved every book of Michio Kaku...that guy is a bomb...
  10. Apr 26, 2003 #9
    Originally I meant the lectures collected in the little book QED but we can group the Feynman Lectures on Physics in there too (even if they're not strictly theoretical physics).
  11. Apr 26, 2003 #10
    Oh, then in that case, Stephen Hawking is my choice.
  12. Apr 27, 2003 #11
    I'm kind of glad that you didn't include Michio Kaku, only because it would have been too hard for me to choose betwixt him and Brian Greene (I chose him, btw, because of his excellent manner of explaining advanced concepts of string theory for the layperson and mathematician alike).
  13. Apr 28, 2003 #12
    I voted for Stephen Hawking's books, since I didn't go through any advanced Math classes ever, and Feynmans books rely more on that than Hawkings.

    I still don't understand superstrings, no matter who explains them though...
  14. May 2, 2003 #13
    V. A. Tschernogorowa, Zagadki mikromira.
  15. May 12, 2003 #14
    If you've only read Hawking's explanation of Strings/branes, I can't blame you for not understanding them. I recommend "The Elegant Universe", by Brian Greene.
  16. May 18, 2003 #15
    The mathematics boggles me too Mentat, we are in similiar sinking boats, the dogmatic way I was taught math really turned me off to it's beauty. Yet mathematics is quatifiable and predictable logic, where logic alone came sometimes get a bit too fuzzy, mathematics gives precision to logic.
    I have to mention this book even though it is not on the list because I just found out about it and am really enjoying it but most importantly Thompson explains calculus to me in plain simple english that I can finally understand:
    Calculus Made Easy, by Silvanus P. Thomson
  17. May 19, 2003 #16
    Oh no, I have no problem understanding mathematics. I do quite well (up to Calculus and Analytic Geometry), in my opinion.

    When I said that joonior has a right to be confused, it's because Stephen Hawking (IMO) doesn't do a good job of explaining these topics.

    Brain Greene does much better, and Michio Kaku also does exceptionally well.
  18. May 20, 2003 #17
    Lol my mistake, anyone I recommend some book to someone.
  19. May 26, 2003 #18
    My vote went to penrose as it was a deep inightful book, which did not patronise me with the usual stuff about black holes and the like.
  20. Jun 18, 2003 #19

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    On the poll, I voted Feynman for the QED book, though I've only read that and Hawking's BHOT.

    However, if the poll were unrestricted, I would not choose any pop science book. My favorite author is J. J. Sakurai.
  21. Sep 18, 2003 #20
    Good topic!

    Of the five listed that I've read, I'm gonna have to vote for Feynman. I haven't read his Lectures on Physics, but I've read Six Easy Pieces and QED. The latter is probably my favorite physics book.

    The Elegant Universe was also good.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook