Best History of Physics Books?

  1. After reading the introduction of Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics, I found out about Whittaker's history of physics book History of the Theories of Aether & Electricity, Classical Theories, which covers physics from Plato to 1900, and the second volume of which 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
  2. jcsd
  3. George Jones

    George Jones 6,400
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  4. 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 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.
  5. Integral

    Integral 7,349
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    Read John Gribbin's InSearch of Schrodinger's Cat and Scrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality
  6. 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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