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We Should Work on Complining Book Lists

  1. Jun 26, 2004 #1
    We need to compile some good book lists for all memebers in different levels of each subject. For example I am reading The elegant Universe right now then moving on to some other books, but I am think it would be helpful if we could compile it somehow. If you wanted to I will compile responses into excel spreadsheet and host it on my site.


    So far my current book list to read for the summer is:
    The Fabric of the Cosmos
    The Hammer of God
    Big questions in Science
    Quantum Theory a very short Introudction
    Quantum A guide for the perplexed
    A breif history of time
    Just 6 numbers
    The music of primes why an unsolved problem in mathematics matters

    not sure I will read the last one... got it from a lecture I went to
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2004 #2
    One addtional note- I will be on vacation for the next 2 weeks so I won't be able to compile it until my return, unless I find internet somehow in a log cabin resort.
  4. Jun 26, 2004 #3

    Just saying that if wud b useful if u cud include authors in ur list and perhaps a desc. of how hard they look etc. (as am only a beginner really in Physics really) tho wud really appreciate a list of books to read.
    Have read:
    Brief History of time by Stephen Hawking (V.good tho had to give it back to library before could read it again and remember more of its contents, covers black holes, relativity , time dilation and wormholes are the topics I can remember)
    How The Universe Got its Spots by Janna Levin (basically read this book cos I liked the title, but turned out to be pretty good, its more personal than most Physics books so it gives u an idea of what it may b like to be a Physicist and breaks up the pure physics a little, basically talks about the shape of the universe and discusses whether it is finite or not)
    In Search of Schrodingers Cat by John Gribben (quite good, went over some of the topics we've done in AS-level Physics (am now doing A level Physics) and expanded upon them as well as talking about some Paradoxes (can remember EPR (tho it isnt really a paradox) and discusses Copenhagen Interpretation vs. Many World Theory (which he is in favour of)) (sequel called In Search of Schroedingers Kittens which I havent read but my Physics teacher said is good)
    Tried reading Theories of Everything and the Artful Universe by John Barrow but unfortunately was doing AS levels at the time and spent most of time doing panic revision so had to give back to library before I finished tho was finding them hard to read as ToE is pretty heavygoing I found.
    Am now reading the Cosmic Code by Heinz Pagels (looking pretty good so far tho am only bout halfway thru will let u no how I get on)
    Incidentally have also seen the Elegant Universe programme by Brian Greene which I 4t was very good for some1 of my level, think u can still get it on some website
    Also my Physics teacher recommended oddly a Biology book, The Genome by Matt Ridley I think which I am trying to find so any Biologists may b interested, will let u no how I get on here.

    Alliance xxx
  5. Jun 26, 2004 #4
  6. Jun 27, 2004 #5


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    The address is correct.
  7. Jul 7, 2004 #6
    yeah, i think there should be a sticky topics here with different types of physics books.
  8. Jul 9, 2004 #7
    The Radioactive Boy Scout - just skimmed through it in the bookstore. It's about a kid who built a nuclear reactor in his backyard.
  9. Jul 9, 2004 #8

    Math Is Hard

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    For physics: "Six Easy Pieces" by Feynman is a good one. I also like the Janna Levin book "How the Universe got it's Spots" and Kaku's "Hyperspace".
    For math fans: "Chaos" by James Gleick is a must.
    All these books are good for a layperson or beginner.

    I am really curious about The Radioactive Boy Scout now. That sounds fascinating.
  10. Jul 9, 2004 #9


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    My final word : The Second Creation, by Robert Crease & Charles Mann.

    My post-final words : Other pop-sci books I've enjoyed are

    Gleick's 'Chaos',
    Simon Singh's 'Code Book',
    Marcus du Sautoy's 'Music of the Primes',
    Paul Davies' (et al) 'The New Physics'
    Heinz Pagels' 'Cosmic Code'
    Feynman's 'Six Not So Easy Pieces'
    Gamow's 'Mr Tompkins in Paperback' and 'One Two Three Infinity'
    and Martin Gardner's 'Science Fiction Puzzle Tales', among others that don't come to mind immediately.
  11. Jul 12, 2004 #10
    Well, here are a few I've read this year, or am reading, and recommend:

    Consciousness Explained, by Daniel Dennett.*
    Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds, by Daniel Dennett.
    A Brief History of the Paradox, by Roy Sorensen.
    Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits, by John Barrow.
    Forever Undecided: A puzzle guide to Godel, by Raymond Smullyan.*
    Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter.*

    The Concise Encyclopedia of Robotics, by Stan Gibilisco.
    Natural-Born Cyborgs, by Andy Clark.
    Stem-cell Biology, edited by Daniel R. Marshak, Richard L. Gardner, and David Gottlieb.
    The Bit and the Pendulum, by Tom Siegfried.*
    Strange Matters, by Tom Siegfried.

    Mathematics (note, I don't know how to use the math symbols):
    The Joy of Pi, by David Blatner
    An Imaginary Tale: the story of the square root of -1, by Paul Nahin.
    Zero: the biography of a dangerous idea, by Charles Seife.
    Euclid's Window, Leonard Mlodinow.*
    The Golden Ratio, Mario Livio.

    *Had read previously, but they were good enough to re-read.

    Books that I plan to read:

    The Conscious Mind: in search of a fundamental theory, by David Chalmers.
    Show Me God, by Fred Heeren.
    Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Godel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and other mathematical and pseudo-scientific topics, by Martin Gardner (just figured I'd include the whole, long-winded title).
    The Birth of the Mind, by Gary Marcus.
    The Facts on File dictionary of biotechnology and genetic engineering, by Mark L. Steinberg and Sharon D. Cosloy.
    Clones and clones : facts and fantasies about human cloning, edited by Martha C. Nussbaum and Cass R. Sunstein.
  12. Jul 12, 2004 #11
    The Elegant Universe is a awsome book, and you don't need a PHS to read it.
  13. Jul 12, 2004 #12

    Math Is Hard

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    what's a PHS?
  14. Jul 12, 2004 #13
    i ment to say PHD
  15. Jul 12, 2004 #14

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    Oh, thank goodness. I thought you meant I'd need a Pointy-Headed Sibling to help me read it!! :biggrin: :rofl: :tongue2:
  16. Jul 13, 2004 #15
    That's very true. I read that one last year, and have read a few pop-sci books since then, but am still convinced Greene's is the best I've ever read. He's clear, concise, and does a reasonable job of not misleading the layman reader by focusing only on the philosophical implications of a theory. Instead, he gets in as much of the scientific and mathematical explications of the theories as well, without ever using an equation (actually, there may have been one or two, I'm not sure; I know there were some in the "notes") or bogging one down in technical vernacular.
  17. Jul 29, 2004 #16
    The radioactive boy scout!! wow! Its on a true story?? I am gonna faint!!
  18. Oct 5, 2004 #17
    I think categories such as "Textbooks", "Introductory Physics", "Intermediate Physics", "Advanced Physics", "Just for fun" (fiction books, something you can read in bed), "Other Sciences", etc.

    That way you can just look up a book depending on what you're in the mood for.
  19. Oct 30, 2004 #18
    It would certainly be a good idea to compile a list. I found as a result of visiting other libraries and Universities that there was some very good writing available that I would never have known about if I didn't travel and browse the shelves or ask people in other locations about. Living in North America, I've also found that there are a lot of quality writings available in English in England and Australia that don't get published in North America or are no longer in print and sit unknown on a shelf. Then there are the foreign language publications some of which are excellent but will remain unknown to me unless translated. I've read a few pidgin english books.
    At the moment, I think I would recommend "How to read a book" by M.J. Adler (1940,1972) as a very first book in any list.
    What about essays and journal articles? Would you list the essays on science and physics by Dr. Einstein in "Ideas and Opinions" , the essays in "THE WORLD OF PHYSICS" or the essays on probability by Edwin Jaynes on the web and in E. T. Jaynes: Papers on Probability, Statistics and Statistical Physics, R. D. Rosenkrantz (ed.), D. Reidel, Dordrecht? What about some of Dr. Hestenes essays on 'Physics as Modeling' such as the chapter on physics as modelling that he removed in the second edition of "New Foundations for Classical Mechanics" or Patrick Reany's essays in the Arizona Journal of Philosophy?
    What about a section for books on thinking and discovering like SPARKS OF GENIUS and DISCOVERING by Robert Scott Root-Bernstein? I'd really like to find more of this kind of writing as it pertains to how physicists think and even act.
    Personally, I would want "Similarities in Physics" on my shelf because it takes a unique approach to thinking about physics. I also liked "Einstein vs. Bohr" by Mendel Sachs because regardless of how rightly or wrongly Dr. Sachs interpreted Quantum Mechanics, he presented the subject of physics in a dialectic format that gets the reader involved in the discussion. "The EVOLUTION OF PHYSICS" by Einstein and Infeld and Poincare's "SCIENCE AND HYPOTHESIS (THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCIENCE) and Mach's "THE SCIENCE OF MECHANICS" also get one involved in the big questions in a way that makes one think. There are a lot of popular titles I wouldn't give 15 zloty for but there are people who consider them to be very good and for me it's more a case of different strokes for different folks. I liked "Surely you're Joking Mr. Feynman!" but I don't understand why people rave about Feynman's lectures. I am somewhat wary of book reviews but it's a good place to start if you don't want to scour the journals. I would like some kind of comments column for each book. The reading lists and bibliographies in some books are more than a dozen pages long and it's hard to judge from titles what one is seeking or what level a book has been written at. What attracts people to "How the Universe got it's spots"? I 've never heard of it and now will be trying to find it since more than one person has listed it here. The title reminds me of a paper by Turing and COBE. What's the book about? Is it a historical work?
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