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Must read books

  1. Nov 1, 2007 #1
    Hi...I am talking about the nonmathematical conceptual books that no physicist or the person interested in physics should miss out. They have characteristics such as easy to follow, fundamental, "can't leave the book" effect, etc.

    1. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
    2. The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
    3. The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

    Now, I am sure I missed tons more....but I loved these...so tell me more guys.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2007 #2
    Most people have probably already read it.

    But I did enjoy Hawking's informative writing style in 'A brief History of Time'
  4. Nov 2, 2007 #3


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    "The book is considered by many to be an "unread bestseller"[1] which is a book many people own but few have finished."
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Brief_History_of_Time, quoting http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=95000946

    General Relativity from A to B by Geroch should be on the list... but it's apparent simplicity can be deceiving. It has one of the deepest conceptual presentations of relativity at this level.
  5. Nov 3, 2007 #4
    Space, Time and Things by B. K. Ridley.

    By now it probably looks like I get kickbacks from the publisher, but I don't, honest. You can probably get this book for not much more than the cost of shipping.
  6. Nov 3, 2007 #5

    Math Is Hard

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    Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
  7. Nov 3, 2007 #6
    Fermat's Last Theorem - Simon Singh (In some places it goes by the name Fermat's Enigma)

    Now, I know this book has nothing, at least directly, to do with physics, but I hope that by reading this book people without the training will become more interested in mathematics and go on to tackle the technical books and get a better idea of what physics is than what they would have got by reading popular books. (It worked for me! :smile: )
  8. Nov 3, 2007 #7
    GEB by whoever that guy is sounds cool
  9. Nov 3, 2007 #8


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    QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
    The Character of Physical Law
  10. Nov 4, 2007 #9
    The BrieFER History of time is like the third revisioned version of it(rerelease of the book by huge publicity) Even though the book is so old, by the time, it has become much more simpler and updated.

    Keep the list up guys, this is really good compilation of the best writings right here.

    Btw, does anybody know of a book which has tried to explain the whole physics conceptually from the most basic fundamental pov?(covered all the fields)
  11. Nov 4, 2007 #10
    Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstiens Outragous Legacy by Kip Thorne

    Great Book, It was one of those books that made me become a physics major.
  12. Nov 4, 2007 #11
    Programming the UNiverse : By seth lollyd

    Though I haven't really finished it I think he gives a nice glimspe on how quantum computers will revolutionize how we store information by storing information on molecules and atoms instead of silicon chips.
  13. Dec 29, 2007 #12
    This was a fantastic book.

    Two books that really influenced the way I think, How the Universe Got its Spots by Janna Levin & Three Roads to Quantum Gravity by Lee Smolin.

    Janna Levin's books is really great because it introduces the idea of topology, the idea of a finite universe, & most importantly, the trials & tribulations of being a physicist. Lee Smolin's book is a bit heady & I swear the average word must be 8 letters or more, but if you can get past that, its actually a really interesting book on the various ideas regarding quantum gravity & each of their pitfalls.
  14. Dec 30, 2007 #13
    I agree it's not as easy as other pop. sci. books out there. It's been a long time since I read that book (although I never completed reading it), and I may need to visit it again to try to understand what he was saying.
  15. Jan 6, 2008 #14
    The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose.
  16. Jan 6, 2008 #15


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    Anything by Carl Sagan (for the scientist in general).
  17. Jan 6, 2008 #16
    "Btw, does anybody know of a book which has tried to explain the whole physics conceptually from the most basic fundamental pov?"

    nah, the road to reality is tough and mathy, not really conceptual... I would say Feynman's lectures on physics, though niether of these are "cant put down" books, they're more like textbooks in a conversational tone

    does anyone know of a good book that ties in physics with experience... like how satellites turn because of cons. of angular momentum, sunsets are colorful or rainbows form from properties of light (those mirages of water in the distance you see if you're in the desert are caused by refraction), how a swing works because of resonance, how the v shaped path behind ducks in a pond is related to sonic booms in jets, etc... stuff like that usually hooks me
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
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