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Books that explain physics thoroughly?

  1. Apr 26, 2015 #1
    I'm looking for physics books that explain beginner concepts, their history, and how they came to be thoroughly. I thought of Newton's mathematica but I heard it's super complicated and the notations are difficult to understand. I was recommended "On the Shoulders of the Giants" by Stephen Hawking and I think some Feynman books , but I'm not sure about them, are they worth reading? What else would you recommend?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2015 #2
    Einstein's written theory of relavity book
  4. Apr 27, 2015 #3
  5. Apr 27, 2015 #4
    By Stephen Hawking there's The Grand Design, both A Brief and Briefer History of Time, and The Universe in a Nutshell.

    I can also recommend Thirty Years That Shook Physics by George Gamow, Einstein by Walter Isaacson (bio of einstein), Never at Rest by Richard S Westfall (bio of Newton, very long and not totally focused on Physics), Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein by George Gamow, The Evolution of Physics by Einstein and Leopold Infeld, and for a very broad description of the history of science, which is good for seeing Physics' relation to other fields, there's Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.
  6. Apr 27, 2015 #5
    Thanks, I know these books, but I what I want is something that's more detailed and thorough. It's more like Newton's Principa, but explained in modern terms. I have a physics textbook but it doesn't explain the concepts very well, and there is no history of how they came to be.
  7. Apr 27, 2015 #6
    What you're looking for is something like Leonard Susskind's "Theoretical Minimum".
  8. Apr 27, 2015 #7
    I've just googled it, thanks, it seems much like what I want.
    I don't know if you have read it, but would you also recommend Hawking's "On Shoulders of the Giants"?
  9. Apr 28, 2015 #8
    I would not recommend any pop sci book if you want a serious knowledge of physics.
  10. Apr 28, 2015 #9
    I own a copy of "On the Shoulders of Giants" and it is a great read. It obviously isn't meant as a serious academic text, but it is in fact very informative and very not popular science as it contains a collection of English translations of important papers in the history of physics. Go for it.
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