1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

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
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2010 #2

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  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.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Sep 3, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    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...
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Best History Physics Date
Algebra Books Best for Mathematics & Algebra Self-Study with Proofs? Mar 1, 2018
Intro Math Best book for understanding arithmetic? Jan 9, 2018
Calculus *BEST* Calculus 3 Textbook for self study Jan 5, 2018
Relativity What's the best book to learn general relativity? Dec 22, 2017
Intro Physics Best books on electromagnetism, electricity and magnetism? Jun 11, 2015