• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Best Nontechnical Physics Books

  • Thread starter pzona
  • Start date
  • #1
232
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Best "Nontechnical" Physics Books

Does anyone have any suggestions on some good nontechnical books on physics? I want to know more about the history of science, lives of the scientists, etc., but I'm not necessarily opposed to something with equations and discussion on theories either. What I really mean by nontechnical is anything that isn't a formal paper or textbook. I'll read about any topic really, but right now I'm interested in the less mainstream type of theories. Not futuristic Kaku type science fiction-science, but just lesser known ideas. I know I could search on Amazon and get some good results, but I'm looking personal suggestions. Help me out?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
S_Happens
Gold Member
305
3


Physics, the Human Adventure: From Copernicus to Einstein and Beyond

Definitely one of my favorites. It reignited my passion for science, even after formal education. It has a little bit of everything, history of physics, philosophy, biographical info, formulas, etc. I pick it up from time to time to take a break from technical info and just read about physics for fun.
 
  • #3
549
28


Anything by John Gribbin, (no I'm not his agent or related to him in any way).
 
  • #4
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,706
1,720


Does anyone have any suggestions on some good nontechnical books on physics? I want to know more about the history of science, lives of the scientists, etc., but I'm not necessarily opposed to something with equations and discussion on theories either. What I really mean by nontechnical is anything that isn't a formal paper or textbook. I'll read about any topic really, but right now I'm interested in the less mainstream type of theories. Not futuristic Kaku type science fiction-science, but just lesser known ideas. I know I could search on Amazon and get some good results, but I'm looking personal suggestions. Help me out?
Coincidentally, I just (last night) bought a book entitled "The Age of Entanglement" by Louisa Gilder.

A review from Nature
http://www.ageofentanglement.com/review-in-nature-by-don-howard/

About 35 years ago, I read "Brighter than a Thousand Suns" by Robert Jungk, which delves into some of the background of the scientists and their discoveries that lead to the discovery of fission and nuclear weapons.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0156141507/?tag=pfamazon01-20

There are also numerous biographies on individual scientists. Last night I also picked up a copy of Graham Farmelo's biography of P. A. M. Dirac, "The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom". I heard an interview with Farmelo, and his comments about Dirac were quite interesting.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #5
32
0


Brian Greene is a great author, and is a bit more 'down to Earth' than Kaku...
 
  • #6
Integral
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,198
55


Anything by John Gribbin, (no I'm not his agent or related to him in any way).
This is exactly what I would have said, had you not beat me to it.
 
  • #7
18,058
7,429


I really enjoyed Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them
 
  • #8
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,706
1,720


I've browsed Hawking's book, but only heard about Bartusiak today.

Also - On the Shoulders of Giants (Hardcover)
~ Stephen Hawking
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0762413484/?tag=pfamazon01-20
In translation from the original Latin, Italian, or German, the revolutionary scientific writings of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein are here gathered into one monumental book. The texts appear to be unexpurgated, with little evidence of editing; Hawking's contribution is a biographical introduction to each of these icons of physics. The actual texts are largely unmediated by Hawking, so readers seriously willing to plunge into De revolutionibus or Principia mathematica would be well advised to be self-reliant, particularly in the mathematics absolutely central to understanding when reading the texts. This collection could be regarded as an intellectual fashion accessory for readers without the requisite mathematical ability, although some of the entries are more accessible, as with the Galileo offering, which Galileo wrote as a dialogue precisely for a general audience. . . .
The Day We Found the Universe (Hardcover)
~ Marcia Bartusiak
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0375424296/?tag=pfamazon01-20
On January 1, 1925, thirty-five-year-old Edwin Hubble announced findings that ultimately established that our universe was a thousand trillion times larger than previously believed, filled with myriad galaxies like our own. It was a realization that reshaped how humans understood their place in the cosmos. Six years later, continuing research by Hubble and others forced Albert Einstein to renounce his own cosmic model and finally accept the astonishing fact that the universe was not immobile but instead expanding. The story of these interwoven discoveries includes battles of will, clever insights, and wrong turns made by the early investigators in this great twentieth-century pursuit, from the luminaries (Einstein, Hubble, Harlow Shapley) to the lesser known: Henrietta Leavitt, who discovered the means to measure the vast dimensions of the cosmos . . . Vesto Slipher, the first and unheralded discoverer of the universe’s expansion... Georges Lemaître, the Jesuit priest who correctly interpreted Einstein’s theories in relation to the universe... Milton Humason, who, with only an eighth-grade education, became a world-renowned expert on galaxy motions... and others.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads for: Best Nontechnical Physics Books

  • Last Post
Replies
24
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
6K
Replies
0
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
18K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
13K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
7K
Top