Main Question or Discussion Point
I'm aiming to make a list of popular science books to read along the year. Can you recommend some?
Not really. Those books are written to explain complicated math in a common language understood by as many people as possible, or as Hawking had put it: "Each formula costs you 10,000 potential readers." Unfortunately, the real physical implications cannot be told without those formulas. As a consequence really many simplifications and metaphors have to be made. The result are many false assumptions and images in people's mind which pop up e.g. here on PF and make it more difficult to learn the actual stuff, as first already learnt has to be forgotten again. We have many articles in our insights blog which deal with things like: the rubber sheet model of gravity, virtual particles, black hole concepts, the balloon analogue of an expanding universe etc., which are practically all wrong. And even our section about quantum mechanics is full of endless discussions among experts about interpretations, which are to be distinguished from the mathematical background, for which there is little dispute about.Humm, I actually don't ...
Isn't it knowledge?
Sure. I mentioned the two I have read and can recommend. I find Douglas Hofstadter better than Hawking, because he didn't had to make so much severe compromises, on the other hand it's more about mathematics and the symmetries in this world. In a way the latter is physically again, although a bit indirect. But as I usually don't read those books in English, I'm probably of not much help here. However, the questions I posed had to be cleared anyway.Thank you for explaining your point.
And I just want some thing to help me expand my imagination and something I can enjoy reading in a casual situation. I'm looking for these "must-have-read" books, can we talk about them here?
I was floored by Road to Reality - That is the book that made realize I didn't know much physicsI haven't read all of it (who has?) but Road to Reality by Penrose is a popular science book that covers some topics pretty seriously. It's not exactly casual reading though. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! isn't strictly about physics, but is a must-read anyway.
I also second @fresh_42's recommendation of GEB.
No, one just have to be aware of it.Why all that attitude against popular physics books? Some people are simply not good in math and will never be. Yet reading popular physics books will give them some idea of what physics is about. Of course, in this way they will never understand physics truly and deeply. Yet at least they will have a clue, which is certainly better than nothing. Besides, some of those readers may be politicians who make decisions about financing physics research. Do you really want that such decisions are made by people who don't even have a clue?
The list of such books, concerning physics, is rather short. It is very difficult to write such books without making things wrong, and thus only the real masters can write such books. Some of these rare books areI'm aiming to make a list of popular science books to read along the year. Can you recommend some?