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Best authors

  • Thread starter Zefram
  • Start date

Which practicing physicist wrote the best popular level theo. physics book?

  • Stephen Hawking with [i]BHOT[/i] or [i]UIANS[/i]

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Roger Penrose with [i]The Emperor's New Mind[/i]

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Kip Thorne with [i]Black Holes and Time Warps[/i]

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Richard Feynman with his collected [i]QED[/i] lectures

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Lee Smolin with [i]Three Roads to Quantum Gravity[/i]

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Alan Guth with [i]The Inflationary Universe[/i]

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Brian Greene with [i]The Elegant Universe[/i]

    Votes: 14 40.0%
  • George Gamow with [i]Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland/Explores the Atom[/i]

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Someone I forgot (specify the author and book)

    Votes: 4 11.4%

  • Total voters
    35
55
0
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:
55
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It just occurred to me that I probably should have included Kaku in the list. So if any moderator happens to read this...:smile:
 
656
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the only book like that i ve ever read was kaku, hyperspace.

so i can t vote.
 

RuroumiKenshin

Originally posted by Zefram
It just occurred to me that I probably should have included Kaku in the list. So if any moderator happens to read this...:smile:
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?
 
17,538
7,139
Paul Davies is my choice!
 

jammieg

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.
 
50
0
What where the "books" that were by Stephen Hawking's choice
Brief History of Time
Universe in a nutshell
 
50
0
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...
 
55
0
Originally posted by jammieg
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.
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).
 

RuroumiKenshin

Originally posted by Stranger
Brief History of Time
Universe in a nutshell
Oh, then in that case, Stephen Hawking is my choice.
 
3,754
2
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).
 

joonior

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...
 
44
1
V. A. Tschernogorowa, Zagadki mikromira.
 
3,754
2
Originally posted by joonior
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...
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.
 

jammieg

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
 
3,754
2
Originally posted by jammieg
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
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.
 

jammieg

Lol my mistake, anyone I recommend some book to someone.
 
167
1
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.
 

Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,475
20
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.
 
5
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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.
 
90
0
Kip Thorne, all the way. While his book isn't quite the bestseller that Hawkings' are, I much prefer it to any of Stephen's works. I think it boils down to that fact that I prefer Kip as a writer over Mr.Hawking. Perhaps something is lost in the dictation for Hawkings', I don't know, but I enjoy Thorne's more.
 
6
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I really enjoyed Kaku's Hyperspace... I picked up his Visions book and so far I'm not really into it. Just wondering if anyone has read it...
 
90
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I'm nearly done with Visions, actually, and I'm preferring it to Hyperspace. I love how it's written, and how so much information is presented, but he still makes it clear this isn't everything. He comes across in both books equally as seriously knowing his subject, and he has a nice fluid style (which is always good in science-related books). I'm loving the book.
 
Michio Kaku is my favorite author, Hyperspace and Visions are great reads :smile:
 
163
0
I would choose two that are not in the list:

Edward Harrison (Cosmology: The Science of the Universe)
David Mermin (Boojums All The Way Through)
 

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