Searching for some good popular science books

Hi all,

I read "The New World of Mr Tompkins" by George Gamov and Russell Stannard and "Flatland/Sphereland" by Edwin Abbott and Dionys Burger. Would any of you have some more very good and interactive vulgarization science books, mainly on physics? (I have a Master in Elec Eng and did a few course on Quantum, but I am also looking for story kind of books.)

Many thanks for your help :D



Gold Member
I enjoyed "The Stuff of Thought" by Steven Pinker.


More of a comic book kind of sci-fi guy. I highly recommend "MARVELS" with art by Alex Ross (the series, not just the company).

"Civil War" was very engaging too.

As far as the classics go, I like Flatter Land, The Time Machine, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.


Since you mention Gamow, I'll suggest his Thirty Years That Shook Physics, about the early days of quantum physics (basically 1900-1930), because he knew many of the key players.

I love the physicists' version of Goethe's Faust that appears as an appendix! :!!) It was actually written (not by Gamow) and performed at Niels Bohr's institute in Copenhagen, in the 1930s.


The THREE ARCHANGELS [Eddington, Jeans and Milne], THE LORD [Bohr], THE HEAVENLY HOSTS [everybody who can sing], and MEPHISTOPHELES [Pauli]

As well we know, the sun is fated
In polytropic spheres to shine;
Its journeys, long predestinated,
Confirm my theories down the line. [...]
(Google Books excerpt)
Last edited:


Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
Most of Gamow's books are great (1, 2, 3, ... Infinity, the Tompkins series, etc), as are Feynman's. Speaking of poetry, I particularly like this one (below) by Gamow's wife, Barbara:

"Your years of toil,"
Said Ryle to Hoyle,
"Are wasted years, believe me.
The steady state
Is out of date.
Unless my eyes decieve me,
My telescope
Has dashed your hope;
Your tenets are refuted.
Let me be terse:
Our universe
Grows daily more diluted!"
Said Hoyle, "You quote
Lemaitre, I note,
And Gamow. Well, forget them!
That errant gang
And their Big Bang --
Why aid them, and abet them?
You see, my friend,
It has no end
And there was no beginning,
As Bondi, Gold,
And I will hold
Until our hair is thinning!"​

The Physics Forums Way

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving