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Interesting Pop Science Books

  • 27-06-2005 4:40pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 27,645 ✭✭✭✭nesf


    Just thought a list of decent books of this type might be of interest to a few people.

    I want titles and then a description of why you recommend it. I'll post up more later if I get a chance etc.


    To start the ball rolling

    "In Search of Schroedinger's Kittens"/"In search of Schroedinger's Cat" - John Gribbon.

    Excellent books, simple language used to roughly sketch out difficult concepts. I personally loved his approach of descrining experiments and their results. The books give a nice picture as to what experiments underly most of the main theories. Perhaps a little outdated now, but I'd still recommend them to anyone looking for a solid introduction to quantum. No substitute for tackling the maths, but hey, I can appreciate people not wanting to do that!


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,659 ✭✭✭Shabadu


    Bill Bryson : A Short History of Nearly Everything

    For bringing popular science to the masses, making it fun and easy to read, and instilling a sense of wonder in joe public for the universe and some of the things that have happened in it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,519 ✭✭✭✭dudara


    Anything written by Feynman. If you've ever read any of his memoirs, you'll come away with wonder at his appetite for science. He was a truly great educator and communicator of physics, as well as being a world-class physicst. Trust me, those two commodities rarely meet.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 915 ✭✭✭ArthurDent


    How to Tell a Proton from a Crouton: An Amateur's Guide to Science Author: Judith Stone
    ISBN: 0207168768


    not sure if its still in print, but well worth picking up second hand, very light, but funny and interesting


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 915 ✭✭✭ArthurDent


    dudara wrote:
    Anything written by Feynman. If you've ever read any of his memoirs, you'll come away with wonder at his appetite for science. He was a truly great educator and communicator of physics, as well as being a world-class physicst. Trust me, those two commodities rarely meet.
    Agree totally with this - anyone that goes off to teach in Brazil mainly to learn the the drums is fine by me.

    Would also recommend anything by Primo Levi - chemist and concentration Camp survivor , books aren't very "science" but very interesting none the less


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,501 ✭✭✭Delphi91


    "Five equations that changed the world" by Michael Guillen, published by Abacus


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 413 ✭✭spooydermot


    Shabadu wrote:
    Bill Bryson : A Short History of Nearly Everything

    For bringing popular science to the masses, making it fun and easy to read, and instilling a sense of wonder in joe public for the universe and some of the things that have happened in it.

    seconded, wish I'd read something like this when I was in school, I would have had a much greater interest in science as a whole.

    Also: The Code Book by Simon Singh, a fantastic introduction to Cryptography


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 213 ✭✭wavin


    Supernature By Lyall Watson

    A bit dated by now but still one of the best reads of my life


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,259 ✭✭✭starn


    Roger Penrose's the Emperors new Mind or as mentioned above anything written by Feynman. Can't recommend his Complete lectures on Physics enough, as a great starting point for anybody with a intrest in Physics


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,259 ✭✭✭starn


    I've found this great and Free Feynman Sampler
    http://www.lulu.com/content/144107


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 218 ✭✭book smarts


    Any of the Aventis prize winners or shortlists. Philip Ball- Critical Mass, Jared Diamond- Collapse, Dawkins, Bryson etc, checkout the website


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 667 ✭✭✭aequinoctium


    'mr. tompkins gets serious' by G. Gamov - fantastic.
    introduces ideas of nuclear physics, atomic physics, particle physics and quantum mechanics and relativity.
    it's very well written.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,870 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    several by paul davies - the last three minutes for example, is superb.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭dan719


    Derinately feynman(made calatech seem so cool!!!). And also Hawking is a must, for the seriously interested/nerdy Road to reality by roger penrose is an amazing introduction to mathematical physics. QUantum Mechanics for dummies is also a great book!!!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 54 ✭✭syberspud


    Paul Davies all the way - such a great writer. The Origin of Life and The Mind of God are both spectacular!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,550 ✭✭✭victor8600


    This book is more about the influence of technology, than science per se:

    "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond.

    Short review citation:
    Life isn't fair--here's why: Since 1500, Europeans have, for better and worse, called the tune that the world has danced to. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond explains the reasons why things worked out that way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,550 ✭✭✭victor8600


    Richard Dawkins writes very good popular books on evolution, incorporating new research results in newer editions. The last book I have read:

    "The Ancestor's Tale" by Richard Dawkins

    The only thing that I didn't like too much is that Dawkins always criticizes believers in "intelligent design". I mean, the people who read books on evolution rarely care about these crazy ID theories anyway.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 667 ✭✭✭aequinoctium


    roger penrose's 'road to reality' may be a bit difficult for an introduction to mathematical physics

    richard dawkins-comes with a warning...i fear that he is putting spin on the facts albeit that his science is correct


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭Son Goku


    roger penrose's 'road to reality' may be a bit difficult for an introduction to mathematical physics
    Did you enjoy it? There are better books on individual subjects but I think it's possibly the best book available on how higher maths and physics link together.

    Not to mention, the section on Complex Analysis is very good for getting your head around the concepts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21 hallsp


    Road to Reality is simply brilliant. Just finished Dawkins' 'The Ancestor's Tale' which was very interesting. Carl Sagan is another author worth mentioning. Cosmos is excellent or Billions and Billions.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 667 ✭✭✭aequinoctium


    i havent fully completed 'Road to Reality' despite having it for quite some time but i have certainly enjoyed it so far


    i agree with the recommendation of Feynman. he is brilliant at explaining concepts


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,870 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    starn wrote:
    as mentioned above anything written by Feynman. Can't recommend his Complete lectures on Physics enough, as a great starting point for anybody with a intrest in Physics
    for more on feynman, james gleick's biography of him, genius is one of the best biographies i've ever read.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 10,075 Mod ✭✭✭✭marco_polo


    The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene is a pretty good introduction to physics for the non scentific minded.

    The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins by Robert Hazen is also a very decent pop science book about the very interesting yet underresearched topic of the chemical origins of Life on Earth (A fairly sketchy ).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 862 ✭✭✭cautioner


    Shabadu wrote: »
    Bill Bryson : A Short History of Nearly Everything

    For bringing popular science to the masses, making it fun and easy to read, and instilling a sense of wonder in joe public for the universe and some of the things that have happened in it.
    Thirded. That book has influenced me greatly. I want to shake Bill Bryson's hand some day.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3 Chocolate frog


    I really enjoyed "Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sacks! Fantastic description of growing up in a chemistry/medicine orientated family.


  • Registered Users Posts: 48 timbrophy


    I think the best account of Relativity for the layman is "black holes and time warps: EINSTEIN'S OUTRAGEOUS LEGACY" by Kip S. Thorne (of Misner, Thorne and Wheeler). It is so good that I include its ISBN number: 0 333 63969 3


  • Registered Users Posts: 48 timbrophy


    How could I have forgotten "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" by Gary Zukav as the best introduction to Quantum Physics for the layman ever written. Sell your children, if you need to, to get the funds to buy this!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 134 ✭✭Kareir


    Eeem..

    The Trouble With Physics - Lee smolin
    Mostly about string theory and alternatives, plus comments on trouble in physics administration.


    I'm guessing A Brief History Of Time is already here?

    Oh, and i'm fourthing the Bill Brison book.


    _Kar.


  • Registered Users Posts: 89 ✭✭astroguy


    "The Infinite Book" by John.D.Barrow is well worth a read. It's pretty light, there isn't any maths in it but it is a very good introduction to the concept of infinity. It might sound silly but before I read this I probably had some sort of idea of infinity as just an extremely large number, this book gives the reader an excellent introduction to the strange consequences of infinity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23 Pipee


    Hey i've been reading alot of books and articles by Isaac Asimov lately and was wondering if anyone has read any of his books on different fields of science. Thinking about buying Asimov on chemistry soon, i enjoy his style of writing, and his concepts facinate me. I realise the book is probably fairly out of date now but if any one has read any of them or knows where i could get a copy of one (local) then id like to hear about it.
    Thanks


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  • Registered Users Posts: 259 ✭✭HIB


    Another Simon Singh one. "Fermat's Last Theorem". A very good read. Simply explained but really gets you thinking as well.


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