Good spare time reading books, not textbooks!

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Im finishing off my 1st year of general sciences in university, and I'm really interested in the first year courses I took and am thinking about perhaps making physics my major next year.

Any recommendations on some good physics books to read during the summer? Not physics textbooks, I already have a (very heavy) textbook, just stuff more along the lines of general reading. So far I've bought and have briefly started A Students Guide to Maxwell's Equations after reading about that somewhere on the forums here.
 

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  • #2
Fredrik
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"QED: The strange theory of light and matter", Richard Feynman
"Black holes and time warps: Einstein's outrageous legacy", Kip Thorne

Feynman's autobigraphical books are surprisingly entertaining, so I recommend those too.
 
  • #3
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I will second Black Holes and Time Warps.
 
  • #4
Ackbach
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N. David Mermin's Boojums All the Way Through. It's a book about writing science well. There's loads of good stuff in there, ranging from why we have far too many research journals, to the de-humanization of writing that goes on, to explanations of quantum mechanics and relativity. Highly recommended!
 
  • #5
Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven Strogatz is really good. Very informative as well as entertaining.

and of course the classic The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. The second half of it is all just string theory though. If you haven't seen the PBS documentary based on this book it's quite entertaining as well, but the book has about 100x as much info than that documentary series.
 
  • #6
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I just wanted to recommend A Students Guide to Maxwell's Equations after reading the title..but it seems you already knew about the book..

As Frederik mentioned Feynman books are entertaining..
You can also try to read Feynman Lectures on Physics of course..

Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus also discuss the vector calculus with EM theory..
 
  • #7
A. Neumaier
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Any recommendations on some good physics books to read during the summer? Not physics textbooks, I already have a (very heavy) textbook, just stuff more along the lines of general reading. So far I've bought and have briefly started A Students Guide to Maxwell's Equations after reading about that somewhere on the forums here.
http://www.motionmountain.net/
 
  • #8
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An oldie but goody:

The Quest For Absolute Zero
the meaning of low temperature physics
Author....K Mendelssohn

The only problem is that I don't know if the book has been updated.
 
  • #9
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An oldie but goody:

The Quest For Absolute Zero
the meaning of low temperature physics
Author....K Mendelssohn

The only problem is that I don't know if the book has been updated.
Hah, coincidentally, I just started reading that as part of preparation for summer research :smile:
 
  • #10
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I recently bought Feynmans 6 Not-So-Easy Pieces and plan on reading that in my spare time. Thanks for the suggestions, and especially that website, free stuff is great (when legal)!
 
  • #12
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Pretty much anything by John Gribben
 

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