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Best History of Physics Books?

  1. Apr 14, 2010 #1
    After reading the introduction of Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics, I found out about Whittaker's history of physics book http://libsysdigi.library.uiuc.edu/ilharvest/BrittleBooks_Open/Books2009-06/whited0001histhe/whited0001histhe.pdf" [Broken] 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
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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  3. Apr 15, 2010 #2

    George Jones

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  4. Sep 3, 2011 #3
    Re: History of Physics Books? Fizz...

    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 http://www.fizz-book.com" [Broken]). 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.
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  5. Sep 3, 2011 #4


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    Read John Gribbin's InSearch of Schrodinger's Cat and Scrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality
  6. Sep 4, 2011 #5
    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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