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!

Good book for a professor

  1. Nov 29, 2011 #1
    I'm looking to get one of my professors a book/gift as a thank you, as he's helped me a lot with my undergraduate studies over the past two years. I was thinking about getting him an interesting book, so I was wondering if anyone knew of some good ones (preferably physics/science related). He specializes in gamma ray astronomy and supernovas, and astrophysics in general. I thought about getting him a copy of Newton's Principia, but I'm not sure. Any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2011 #2
    Hi there,

    that sounds like a super nice thing to do. Not to be rude, but are you committed to buying him a book? Especially one that is in the same field as his doctorate?

    I have an idea, I'm not sure you'd be too fond of it. But nowadays they are selling lasers for a pretty reasonable price online. If he's into astronomy maybe he'd like to point out stars or something like that. Besides, lasers are awesome regardless of who you are.
  4. Nov 29, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  5. Nov 29, 2011 #4

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    The Principia is a far a better bet than a book on his specialty. He has all the good ones on his specialty on his bookshelf already. There's no professional need for the Principia, but it has huge historical value. If there's a way you can sneak a peek at his bookshelf, see if he already has a copy. If he does you'll have to find something else. If he doesn't, he might well put your copy there, not so much for its technical value but for its sentimental value. And that sentimental value is exactly why you are thinking of this gift.

    Lasers are a dime a dozen. He may well have a bunch of those already, too.
  6. Nov 30, 2011 #5
    Good quality green astronomical lasers (i.e. something at least 40mw) are not as cheap. However, they may not be legal in some places.

  7. Nov 30, 2011 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    when i graduated with my phd from Utah in 1977 and moved away, I lightened my load by selling my copy of the principia for 10 cents to a local bookstore. I have always wanted it back. So I think that would be a wonderful gift, but again it relates somewhat to whether he already has it. It is pointless to give him a book in his own specialty as you most likely end up somewhat like bringing a grocery store wine to a wine expert.

    But to a scientist, the immortal work of a genius easily trumps an electronic gadget.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook