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Favorite books to read on subjects ranging from Astronomy

  1. Aug 9, 2008 #1
    What are your favorite books to read on subjects ranging from Astronomy, Physics, Astrophysics, Hard Sci-Fi, and many other books in the scientific arena? Even if you don't read any of those genres, what are you favorite books?

    I am a HUGE reader of Philosophy but lately, I have been getting into Physics and Astronomy. The wonder of the cosmos is making me extremely curious and I'll just about pick up any book that has something to do with space.

    I WAS reading The Fabric of The Cosmos by Brian Green but I had to put it back on the Border's bookstore shelf. Why? Cause it's 30 bucks to buy it, that's why. I was on page 30 and the book was pretty amazing.

    Other than that, I have been getting into some Arthur C. Clarke, some Stephen Hawking, and a college intro book on Astronomy by Roger B Culver (published in the 70's but nonetheless very good).

    So got any suggestions for even further reading? I really appreciate it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2008 #2
    Re: Books

    My favorites in my collection concentrate on the history of Physics and Astronomy. Never got much into Philosophy, though Synchronicity pushes that envelope a bit. In no particular order...

    Brian Greene: The Elegant Universe
    Brian Greene: Fabric of the Cosmos
    Michio Kaku: Hyperspace
    Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot
    Carl Sagan: Cosmos
    Kip Thorne: Black Holes and Time Warps
    John S. Lewis: Mining the Sky
    F. David Peat: Synchronicity
    Michael Zeilik: Astronomy (text book)
    Richard P. Feynman: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
  4. Aug 9, 2008 #3
    Re: Books

    Brian Greene: The Elegant Universe
    Brian Greene: Fabric of the Cosmos
    Stephen Hawking: Brief History of Time
    Niels Bohr: Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge
    Edward O. Wilson: Consilience (check out all his other books as well for good mix of science and philosophy)
    Capra: The Tao of Physics
    O'Murchu: Quantum Theology
    Huston Smith: Beyond the Post Modern Mind
    Richard P. Feynman: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
    Michio Kaku: Hyperspace
    Roger Penrose: Road to Reality

    A lot of books by Carl Sagan

    Dan Brown: Angels and Demons
    J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter 1-7
  5. Aug 9, 2008 #4
    Re: Books

    This one looks like a fun read, according to the feedbacks on amazon.com.
  6. Aug 9, 2008 #5


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    Re: Books

    :uhh: There is a place that you can go and read books for free, they even let you take them home, it's called a library. As opposed to a bookSTORE, where you are expected to pay for the book. :wink:
  7. Aug 9, 2008 #6


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    Re: Books

    I've read a few of Brian Greene's books, and I don't rate them that highly. His writing style just doesn't appeal to me, though I can't exactly say why.

    I would recommend the book by Simon Singh (called Bang, I think) as a good popular cosmology book.
  8. Aug 9, 2008 #7
    Re: Books

    Oh it's definitely a good book which I highly recommend. I also got his book The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist, but it doesn't flow as well as Surely You're Joking. It dips a bit into morality and religion which to me are subjects which have already been analyzed to Kookamunga and back. Got a bit bored with it actually. Took it with me on a trip to Florida (only book I took) and ended up putting to the side after only reading the first three chapters.

    Though it just could have been because of my friends who kept nagging, "Why are you reading a book? You're on the beach!"
  9. Aug 9, 2008 #8
    Re: Books

    I think I know what you mean. There were quite a few instances in his books where I had to back and reread a paragraph to try and make sense of it... or how it relates to the next paragraph. As if he could have made everything flow a bit better.
  10. Aug 9, 2008 #9


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    Re: Books

    When my 16 year old daughter polished off Elegant Universe in no time I realized just how pop-sci his books were and how lame I was to be reading the same book. :redface: Nothing wrong with him writing for beginners with no knowledge, everyone has to start somewhere, but they are not for people that have knowledge of the subject. (I am a beginner with no knowledge).
  11. Aug 9, 2008 #10
    Re: Books

    Neither of my local libraries have the book. :frown:
  12. Aug 9, 2008 #11
    Re: Books

    It's not that I rate Greene's books highly, it is just that it is interesting. As already someone stated, his paragraphs may not flow very well with each other.

    I'm still pretty new in the physics/space/astronomy side of things. For about 2.5 years now, I have been a big reader of philosophy.

    Thanks for the recommendation for Singh's book. I'll def check out all the books you guys have listed here on this thread.

    BTW, do any of you like to read any literary classics? I may go into some Tolstoy soon.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2008
  13. Aug 9, 2008 #12
    Re: Books

    That was the first physics book I ever read and I still think it's the best one I've ever read. I LOVED it.
  14. Aug 9, 2008 #13


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    Re: Books

    If you ask, they should be able to order it for you. They can't have all books at a branch, but will get them for you.
  15. Aug 9, 2008 #14
    Re: Books

    I'm going to be going to a new college soon (I'm a transfer) in the north Georgia mountains, so it wouldn't make sense for them to order it.

    The school I will be going to has a brand new library. It is pretty big. It has got a cafe on the first floor! YES!

    There is nothing like sitting in a comfortable chair, reading a great book, and having a cup of joe on the other hand.
  16. Aug 9, 2008 #15
    Re: Books

    Your town now is big enough for TWO library's and neither one has Fabric of the Cosmos? Did you really check or are you just saying you did?
  17. Aug 9, 2008 #16
    Re: Books

    Even though it's hard to pick out my number one favorite, if it came down to three, it would be that one, Mining the Sky, and Pale Blue Dot. I loved how Thorne incorporated so much history into the book and was able to integrate it with physics, black hole and spacetime evolution. I learned more about the history of modern Physics from that one book than I did in any other. (Einstein, Eddington, Bhor, Zwicky, Wheeler, Penrose, Schwarzschild, Chandrasekar, ect, ect.)

    It's the one book that deserves the distinction of resting under my bathroom sink.:biggrin:
  18. Aug 9, 2008 #17
    Re: Books

    I checked.
  19. Aug 9, 2008 #18
    Re: Books

    They still have those around? I thought they all 'went out of business' when the internet blew up? :uhh:
  20. Aug 9, 2008 #19


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    Re: Books

    As much as everyone here would like to think every neighborhood library has the latest books on physics and string theory. :tongue2: It is possible that some may not have them on the shelves (but they can be requested)

    You can sometimes even request somewhat rare books, but if you can get these sent to your library, you will not be able to take them home. Now, they have a lot digitized for viewing.
  21. Aug 9, 2008 #20
    Re: Books

    No kidding but I prefer the mobility of the book.
  22. Aug 10, 2008 #21
    Re: Books

    Brian Greene's two books where the first science related books I ever read and ultimately sparked my interest in Physics. In addition to those two (This will be a pretty long list as I have enjoyed a lot of books these past few years):

    Michio Kaku - Hyperspace, Parallel Worlds
    Lisa Randal - Warped Passages
    Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene, The Ancestors Tale
    Matt Ridley - Genome
    Micheal Shermer - Why Darwin Matters
    Neil Degrasse Tyson - Death by a Black Hole
    S. Hawking - A Brief History of Time/ Universe in a Nutshell
    Lee Smolin - The Trouble with Physics

    Sci Fi:
    Dan Simmons - Hyperion (First two, I'm waiting for the last two to arrive.)
    A.C. Clark - 2001 - 3001, Childhoods End, Rendezvous with Rama, Songs from Distant Earth
    Carl Sagan - Contact

    Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion
    Sam Harris - Letter to a Christian Nation
    Victor Stenger - God The Failed Hypothesis
    Christopher Hitchens - God is not Great, The Portable Atheist

    Spivak - Calculus (OK, I actually didn't read the whole thing. I have been on the first chapter for 3 months.:rofl:)
    Thompson - Calculus Made Easy
    Kline - Calculus an Intuitive approach

    Maybe a few others that I can't think of.
  23. Aug 10, 2008 #22
    Re: Books

    This book seems out of place with the others in your list.
  24. Aug 10, 2008 #23
    Re: Books

    The bookstores around here have easy chairs.
  25. Aug 10, 2008 #24
    Re: Books

    You can have my copy of The Fabric of The Cosmos by Brian Greene, I'm way too cranky to read it right now. Can always borrow a neighbors if I really want to read it.
  26. Aug 10, 2008 #25
    Re: Books

    I just finished reading Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama. I enjoyed both books tremendously.

    Have any of you ever wanted to be a writer?

    I'm currently reading Hawking's A Brief History of Time(1988 Edition). Great read thus far.
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