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What are some fun or offbeat physics books that are still high quality physics?

  1. Oct 10, 2009 #1
    I know this is a little strange to ask on a forum but... I don't know where else to ask! My boyfriend is a physicist and I want to get him some fun book relating to it for his birthday, but most of the books I found looked like they were poor quality ("New York Times bestsellers" written by non-physicists, or really vague and sensationalistic books about time travel).

    I want something that is higher-quality, and it can be at an advanced level. Can you think of any bizarre, lighthearted or off-topic books that are still true physics books, books that you would approve of or enjoy?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2009 #2
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  4. Oct 10, 2009 #3
    Evolution of Physics by Einstein and Leopold Infeld. It can be read by everyone and yet manages to be no-nonsense.
  5. Oct 10, 2009 #4
  6. Oct 10, 2009 #5
    Kip Thorne's book "Black Holes and Time Warps" is very good. It is not a book devoted to time travel. Kip Thorne is a legendary physicist on the level of Stephen Hawking. I have read this book numerous times. One of the best.

  7. Oct 10, 2009 #6
    Thank you all so much! These look good, I'm buying three of them. Maybe someday I'll read them too, but I'm a little busy with ochem and biochem right now... :(
  8. Oct 10, 2009 #7


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    You say he's a physicist; is he a student, Phd, or... ?
  9. Oct 10, 2009 #8


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    Any Book my Philip Ball! I haven't read his latest one, but e.g. H2O is a very good book.
  10. Oct 10, 2009 #9
    I have to second "Black Holes and Time Warps."

    But he might have it.
  11. Oct 10, 2009 #10
    Anything by George Gamow! Very entertaining but enlightening at the same time. Plus, his books are very cheap. Just do a quick search on Amazon (note all the extremely high reviews). I recommend:
    1) Gravity
    2) Thirty Years That Shook Physics
    3) One Two Three ... Infinity
    4) Any of the Mr. Tompkins books

    Gamow was one of the top physicists of the 20th century, but had a fantastic sense of humor. His writing is very fun and easy to read, but contains lots of information.

    Another suggestion is Understanding Physics by Isaac Asimov (the author of I, Robot).
  12. Oct 11, 2009 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    The Flying Circus of Physics, by Jearl Walker.
  13. Oct 11, 2009 #12

    George Jones

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  14. Oct 12, 2009 #13
    I second this one. Simply fantastic book, going over a large variety of topics found in the usual undergrad syllabus. Quite entertaining to read.
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