JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 239
Here’s a list of books and a challenge to think about from Cocktail Party Physics by Jennifer Ouelette It’s a good solid list of popular (save for the first two milestones) books in the history of science (mostly physics). Looks like I’ve read only a third of them—some just aren’t up my alley.
So if any out there would like to participate, please do, and send back a link to your comments.
1. Highlight THE NUMBER those you've read in full--comment if you'd like.
2. Asterisk those you intend to read
3. Add any additional popular science books you think belong on the list
4. Link back to me (leave links or suggested additions in the comments, if you prefer) so I can keep track of everyone's additions. Then we can compile it all into one giant "Top 100" popular science books list, with room for honorable mentions. (I, for one, have some quirky choices in the list below.) Voila! We'll have awesome resource for general readers interested in delving into the fascinating world of science!
Before I get to the CPP list, I'd like to suggest a few odd books that I quite like and don't seem to see very often:
A. Defining the Wind. Scott Huler.
B. Buried Alive, the Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear. Jan Bondeson.
C. A Social History of Madness, the World Through the Eyes of the Insane. Roy Porter.
D. Wanderlust, a History of Walking. Rebecca Solnit.
E. The Strange Story of False Teeth. John Woodforde.
F Traces on the Rhodian Shore. Clarence Glacken.
G. Human Dissection, its Drama and Struggle. A.M. Lassek
H. A History of Reading.
I. A History of Bombing. Sven Lindqvist.
J. The Elizabethan Zoo, a Book of Beasts Fabulous and authentic.
There is above all the lovely work of Arthur I. Miller, who with Abraham Pais are my favorite semi-popular writers on the history of science. His works include: Empire of the Stars: Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes (Little Brown, UK edition; Houghton Mifflin, USA edition, 2005); Einstein and Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that Causes Havoc (Perseus Books, 2001). Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; ***Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art (Springer-Verlag, 1996 cloth, MIT Press, 2000 paperback). Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity: Emergence (1905) and Early Interpretation (1905-1911) (Addison Wesley, 1981: new edition SpringerVerlag, 1998); ***Imagery in Scientific Thought: Creating 20th-Century Physics (Birkhäuser, 1984; MIT Press, 1986; reprinted 2003, Dover Publications) Frontiers of Physics: 1900-1911 (Birkhäuser, 1986); *Early Quantum Electrodynamics: A Source Book (Cambridge University Press, 1994) Editor, *Sixty-Two Years of Uncertainty: Historical, Philosophical and Physical Inquiries into the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Plenum Press, 1990)
Lastly, before we get to Jennifer's list, I must point out the work of archaeo-imagist Barabara Maria Stafford (U Chic) who has produced: Symbol and Myth:
Humbert de Superville's Essay on Absolute signs in Art.
And now the Cocktail Party Physics List. (Thanks Jennifer!)
1. Micrographia, Robert Hooke [I've looked at the pretty pictures, but that's not exactly "reading"] DITTO—the pictures were basically from outer space to the 17th century reader. Phenomenal.
2. *The Origin of the Species,
3. Never at Rest, Richard Westfall
4. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman. What we need is a stellar intellectual biography of the man… And also of Johnny von Neumann,m btw
5. Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney—read a little, didn’t much like…
6. The Devil's Doctor, Philip Ball
7. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes—Terrific accomplishment
8. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, Dennis Overbye
9. *Physics for Entertainment, Yakov Perelman
10. 1-2-3 Infinity, George Gamow—Read this a long time ago, very subtle.
11. The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
12. Warmth Disperses, Time Passes, Hans Christian von Bayer
14. Where Does the Weirdness Go? David Lindley
15. *A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryso
16. A Force of Nature, Richard Rhodes
17. Black Holes and Time
Warps, Kip Thorne
18. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
19. Universal Foam, Sidney Perkowitz
20. Vermeer's Camera, Philip Steadman I kinda don’t like following this discussion on the use of the camera obscura by the greats. As my brilliant, very published wife has said, “so what?”
21. The Code Book, Simon Singh. Okay book.
22. The Elements of Murder, John Emsley
23. *Soul Made Flesh, Carl Zimmer
24. Time's Arrow, Martin Amis Enjoyed this as the first to the trough.
25. The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson
26. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
27. *Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter. Smarty pants.
28. The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, Lisa Jardine Enjoyed this tremendously; maed me appreciate Sir Isaac ever more.
29. A Matter of Degrees, Gino Segre
30. The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss Glad he did it; don’t wanna read it. Would be fun to teach it.
31. E=mc<2>, David Bodanis
32. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife
33. *Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman
34. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, Janna Levin
35. Warped Passages, Lisa Randall
36. *Apollo's Fire, Michael Sims
37. Flatland, Edward Abbott. Read it every ten years.
38. Fermat's Last Theorem, Amir Aczel
39. Stiff, Mary Roach Wish I wrote it.
40. Astroturf, M.G. Lord
41. The Periodic Table, Primo Levi
42. Longitude, Dava Sobel
43. The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg
44. The Mummy Congress, Heather Pringle
45. The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio
*46. Math and the Mona Lisa, Bulent Atalay
47. *This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin
48. The Executioner's Current, Richard Moran
49. Krakatoa, Simon Winchester
50. *Pythagorus' Trousers, Margaret Wertheim
51. Neuromancer, William Gibson
*52. The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios
53. Broad StreetThe Strange Case of the
54. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Katrina Firlik
55. Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps, Peter Galison Like Gallison’s works allot.
56. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
57. The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
58. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker. He’s reading inAsheville in a few days and hope to hear him.
59. An Instance of the
Fingerpost, Iain Pears
60. Consilience, E.O. Wilson
61. Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould
62. Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard
63. Fire in the Brain, Ronald K. Siegel
64. The Life of a Cell, Lewis Thomas
65. Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris
66. Storm World, Chris Mooney
67. The Carbon Age, Eric Roston
68. The Black Hole Wars, Leonard Susskind
69.Copenhagen, Michael Frayn
70. From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne
71. Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson
72. Chaos, James Gleick
73. *Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos
74. The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky
75. Subtle is the Lord, Abraham Pais. One of my favorite “popular” books on Einstein’s intellectual history. Inward Bound is another terrific work by Pais on modern phys. Also his Einstein Lived Here is excellent.
Just for the record--for me--the best biography of a Manhattan Project member is Kai Bird's Oppenheimer.