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Recommend me Physics/Philosophy Books?

  1. Jan 17, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm looking for some new books to get my teeth into that are physics/philosophy based. Currently i'm confined to my local Waterstones which dedicates about 3 metres of shelf space to science books... but hopefully when I start getting some money rolling in, amazon shall be my oyster. Recommend anything along the lines of these books i've already read:

    A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson: probably the first popular science book I ever read, very informative and funny.

    A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking: is there anyone who hasn't read this?

    The Elegant Universe - Brian Greene
    The Fabric of the Cosmos - Brian Greene: two interesting books, the first focusing on string theory and the unified theory, and the second being a bit more general.

    Principia - Isaac Newton

    Why I am not a Christian - Bertrand Russell: such a great book.

    The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins: similar to Russell's book but slightly more modernised.

    Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You - Marcus Chown

    Quantum Reality - Nick Herbert: fairly old book from my school's library, still interesting though

    Feynman Lectures on Physics vol.1: again from my school's library, vol.2 and vol.3 are currently out at the moment... but I will hopefully snatch them up when I can.

    I'm interested in buying Plato, Nietzche and Machiavelli, but I have no real idea where to look for any more books.

    Cheers, Matt
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2010 #2
    "The Road to Reality" by Roger Penrose
  4. Jan 17, 2010 #3
    I do not like most of the books on your list. Try:
    Black Holes and Time Warps- Kip Thorne
    The Flying Circle of Physics- Walker
    Unified Grand Tour of Theoretical Physics-Lawrie (a bit advanced)
    Disturbing the Universe or Infinite in All Directions - Freeman Dyson
  5. Jan 18, 2010 #4
    Thanks, i'll check them out.

    @Pinu7: What was it that you didn't like about them? I know most of them are popular science books so I guess you have to take some of it with a pinch of salt... but I enjoyed them.
  6. Jan 19, 2010 #5
    The Feynman Lectures are excellent, but they are an actual calculus based introductory physics course. You're looking for more like 'interested layman' type texts correct?

    Isaac Asimov 'Understanding Physics' (3 Volumes)

    Albert Einstein 'Relativity'

    Steven Weinberg 'Dreams of a Final Theory' and 'The First Three Minutes'

    Martin Rees 'Just Six Numbers'

    Timothy Ferris 'The Red limit'

    Thomas Kuhn 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions'

    Charles Darwin 'On the Origin of Species'

    Galileo Galilei 'Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems'

    Nicolaus Copernicus 'On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres'

    George Gamow 'One, Two, Three... Infinity'

    Erwin Schrodinger 'What is Life'

    Edward Wilson 'The Insect Societies'

    Steven J. Gould 'The Mismeasure of Man'

    Victor Stenger 'God: The Failed Hypothesis'

    David Peat 'From Certainty to Uncertainty, The Story of Science and Ideas In the 20th Century'

    Werner Heisenberg 'Physics and Philosophy

    Robert Kaplan 'The Nothing that is a Natural History of Zero'

    John Derbshire 'Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra'

    Everything by Carl Sagan and Bertrand Russell.
    And of course the four horsemen: Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, and Harris

    Most of those are entry/layman level books. There are many more excellent technical writings.
  7. Jan 19, 2010 #6
    Well the thing is, I'm 17 and heading off to uni in about a year and a half (fingers crossed) and I am pretty damn sure that I will be applying to do physics (maybe with astronomy/mathematics/philosophy, undecided on this matter) and I am just looking for some books to introduce me into the sort of university level physics i'd have to deal with, so the Feynman Lectures really were excellent. So I would partially agree that I am looking for more layman type texts, as I don't want to attempt to do the course before I get to uni, as I will probably get some perceptions of certain topics incorrect... but then again I don't want to just be reading overblown popular science books, no matter how enjoyable they may be at the moment...

    THIS. How could I forget Carl Sagan in my list?! Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot are both excellent.

    Thanks a lot for the masses of great books you have recommended, I will be sure to check them out when I can :)
  8. Jan 20, 2010 #7


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    Crimes Against Logic - Jamie Whyte

    It's a short and easy read, but I think it has a very important message that everyone should at least consider..
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