Friday, August 29, 2008

Science reading

Via Jim Lippard, Cocktail Party Physics is compiling a top science book list. The rules:

1. Highlight those you've read in full
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!
The list:

  • Micrographia, Robert Hooke
  • *The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin
  • Never at Rest, Richard Westfall
  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
  • Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney
  • The Devil's Doctor, Philip Ball
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes
  • Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, Dennis Overbye
  • Physics for Entertainment, Yakov Perelman
  • 1-2-3 Infinity, George Gamow
  • The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
  • Warmth Disperses, Time Passes, Hans Christian von Bayer
  • Alice in Quantumland, Robert Gilmore
  • Where Does the Weirdness Go?, David Lindley
  • *A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
  • A Force of Nature, Richard Rhodes
  • Black Holes and Time Warps, Kip Thorne
  • A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
  • Universal Foam, Sidney Perkowitz
  • Vermeer's Camera, Philip Steadman
  • The Code Book, Simon Singh
  • The Elements of Murder, John Emsley
  • *Soul Made Flesh, Carl Zimmer
  • Time's Arrow, Martin Amis
  • The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson
  • Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
  • *Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
  • The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, Lisa Jardine
  • A Matter of Degrees, Gino Segre
  • The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss
  • E=mc<2>, David Bodanis
  • Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife
  • Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman
  • A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, Janna Levin
  • Warped Passages, Lisa Randall
  • Apollo's Fire, Michael Sims
  • Flatland, Edward Abbott
  • Fermat's Last Theorem, Amir Aczel
  • Stiff, Mary Roach
  • Astroturf, M.G. Lord
  • The Periodic Table, Primo Levi
  • Longitude, Dava Sobel
  • The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg
  • The Mummy Congress, Heather Pringle
  • The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio
  • Math and the Mona Lisa, Bulent Atalay
  • This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin
  • The Executioner's Current, Richard Moran
  • Krakatoa, Simon Winchester
  • Pythagorus' Trousers, Margaret Wertheim
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson
  • The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios
  • The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, Sandra Hempel
  • Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Katrina Firlik
  • Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps, Peter Galison
  • The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
  • *The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
  • The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker
  • An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears
  • Consilience, E.O. Wilson
  • *Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould
  • Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard
  • Fire in the Brain, Ronald K. Siegel
  • The Life of a Cell, Lewis Thomas
  • Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris
  • Storm World, Chris Mooney
  • The Carbon Age, Eric Roston
  • The Black Hole Wars, Leonard Susskind
  • Copenhagen, Michael Frayn
  • From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne
  • Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson
  • *Chaos, James Gleick
  • Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos
  • The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky
  • Subtle is the Lord, Abraham Pais
My additions:

  • *Tower of Babel, Roger Pennock
  • *Expressions of Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin
  • *Mystery of Mysteries, Michael Ruse
  • *Defending Science - within Reason, Susan Haack
  • *The Value of Science, Henri Poincare
  • *Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper
  • The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins
  • No Turning Back, Richard Ellis
  • *The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond
  • Guns, Germs, and Steal, Jared Diamond
  • Fads & Fallacies, Martin Gardner
  • *Road to Reality, Roger Penrose
  • *Relativity, Albert Einstein
  • *Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel
  • The Scientists, John Gribbin
  • Field Notes from a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert
  • The Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan
  • What Evolution Is, Ernst Mayr
  • Voodoo Science, Robert Park
  • *Mind, John Searle
  • The Moral Animal, Robert Wright
  • Hitler's Scientists, John Cornwell
  • *The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
  • *Einstein, Walter Isaacson
  • Time, Clifford Pickover
  • The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks
Obviously, I'm biased by recent memory and the books I currently have on my bookshelf, so lots of great science books are going unmentioned. But for all time great science books there is Discover magazine's list of 25 Greatest Science Books of All Time.

And for the record, were it up to me I'd remove the fiction books from the list (Flatland and Neuromancer.) I'm not sure I'd even call Flatland a science book ... it's more like mathematical religious allegory, although conceptually a very neat book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife

This should be a must read.
"Before we can know anything, we first must know Nothing."