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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old March 21 2006, 09:26 PM   #31
Fox Mulder
Location: Nowhere near you
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman? by Richard Feynman. One of the most brilliant physicists of the 20th century, he was also one of its greatest characters. This is part of his autobiography
My vote goes to this as well, assuming we aren't restricted to popular science books by Hawwking and Greene...

When reading Feynman's books you really get a feeling that he's reading out loud to you. I've always found a lot of the pop science books painful to read in places, particularly Hawking's.
I even made my parents call me Mulder
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Old March 21 2006, 11:14 PM   #32
John O.
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Not to specifically defend Hawking, but isn't there usually a reason "popular" science books become popular? Do you dislike it b/c it's bad writing or simply b/c it's popular? I thought BHOT was great, the rest of his stuff is pretty much the same thing rehashed (universe in a nutshell, blackholes and baby universes, etc) but I found it pretty easy to read. I can only take so much qualitative stuff though, I was reading Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics by Martinus Veltman for awhile and then put it down for several months. I came back to it recently after studying more phys in college and it just seems so dry now. I have a QFT textbook at my rents' house I need to pickup though. I got it in a bookclub a few years back thinking it was just another layman book cuz that's all I understood at the time, then was disappointed to find it was an actual QFT textbook. I'm sure it will be much more challenging, I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Old March 22 2006, 09:18 AM   #33
TrekLit's Dr Rose Mod
Location: Sydney, Australia
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

I can't believe I forgot this book:

The Invisible Universe by David Malin -- it's a big book: 34 x 41cm (13.5 x 16 inches), each page has a full page colour image of astronomical images (no borders) facing non-technical captions. It's absolutely gorgeous, and well worth the money for anybody who loves the night sky.

For those ppl who don't know the name David Malin, he is one of the best scientific photographer in the world, and spent 30 years in atronomical photography. He has two galaxy types named after him: Malin-Carter 'shell' galaxies, and Malin-1 galaxies both discovered by him through his unique techniques of astronomical photography. Considering there are only three types of galaxies being taught in schools: elliptical, spiral and irregular; and these two Malin galaxy types are not part of these is what makes the name Malin so special.
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Old March 26 2006, 07:07 AM   #34
Location: Ontario, Canada
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Emh said:
The Universe in a Nutshell by Steven Hawking is a fun read.

One of my physics professor is always recommending Brian Greene's iThe Elegant Universe, so someday I'm going have to check it out.
Excellent book. I'm not sure if anyone's brought up the 'sequel' yet. The Fabric of the Cosmos was as engaging, if not more, than The Elegant Universe.

For anyone interested in quantum physics, check out In Search of Schrodinger's Cat by John Gribbin.
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Old March 27 2006, 01:27 AM   #35
Location: Dominion space
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

I really like a lot of the science/engineering books published by Dover Publications. They seem to specialize in republishing books originally published prior to 1980. The books are well-bound paperbacks, and are really low-cost. There are books on astrodynamics, space dynamics, mechanics, electromagnetism, chemistry, etc.

The few downsides are that the paperback covers themselves tend to be a tad flimsy. Also, as the contents are somewhat old, it is possible that they contain out-of-date information, though for many of the more fundamental subjects (esp. mathematics) this is not a problem. Finally, some of the books simply have higher-quality content than others.

I'm currently reading Principles of Electrodynamics by Melvin Schwartz [1], which the author wrote in response to what he felt was a trend of textbooks writing about electricity and magnetism as if they were separate subjects (sadly, this is how I learned about electricity and magnetism). In this book, he uses special relativity to show how intimately the two subjects are tied together. I haven't gotten very far, but what I've read so far is quite interesting.

[1] Principles of Electrodynamics, by Melvin Schwartz
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Old April 10 2006, 04:12 PM   #36
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Location: America
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

A Brief History of Time was pretty good book.
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Old April 10 2006, 05:26 PM   #37
Fleet Captain
Location: Delta Quadrant
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Hyperspace by Michio Kaku.

Very easy read, even for a non genius
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Old April 21 2006, 10:29 PM   #38
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

pff, all these "science light" books

I recommend Voet & Voet's Biochemistry, Ege's Organic Chemistry, Lodish et al.'s Molecular Cell Biology and Eckert's Animal Physiology.

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Old April 21 2006, 11:05 PM   #39
TrekLit's Dr Rose Mod
Location: Sydney, Australia
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

in that case, let me recommand Strang's introduction to Linear Algebra, Russell & Norvig's Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach.
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Old June 16 2006, 02:04 AM   #40
Scott Pearson
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

A big yes to the Sagan books and Dinosaur Heresies. Now I'll throw out some more (some of these are leaning toward history, but with strong scientific elements):

Einstein's Universe by Nigel Calder. Very accessible.
The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker. Very interesting and multidisciplinary.
Mosquito: The Story of Man's Deadliest Foe by Andrew Spielman and Michael D'Antonio. Yikes! Is that a mosquito on me?!
Longitude by Dava Sobel. One of those things you don't think about, but someone had to be the first to get it to work.
Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It by Gina Kolata. Very timely. My grandmother and her family barely survived it. I grew up hearing stories about it.

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Old August 1 2006, 08:31 PM   #41
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

[i]Billions and Billions[/b] by Carl Sagan

I'd also like to second (or third) The Demon Haunted World also by Carl Sagan. I read both of these books over the course of two nights, one right after the other. I enjoyed these books tremendously and highly recommend them to laypersons of all scientific persuasions.


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Old August 2 2006, 06:05 PM   #42
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Maybe an odd choice, but I got a lot out of The Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswami. It's a bit out there on the edge of Quantum physics, where it can evaporate into philosophy. Or maybe it's a philosophy text that takes Quantum physics and Mind/brain theory seriously. But it's a good book.
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Old August 4 2006, 11:41 PM   #43
Location: Science & Technology
Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

The Singularity Is Near: By Ray Kurzweil - the coming age of Strong A.I.

Programming the Universe: By Seth Lloyd - The universe is a quantum computer.

When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people:
Those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.
~ John M. Richardson, Jr.
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Old August 5 2006, 03:03 AM   #44
Trek Terp
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

The Fabric of the Cosmos - Brian Greene
Big Bang - Simon Singh
IDIC, keep it in mind...
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Old August 8 2006, 06:50 AM   #45
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Re: Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Likely some of you have experienced that somewhat exasperated look that strikes the face of your friend or loved one when you try to talk physics. Or maybe I have just been unlucky to have not met many others who get so excited about an electron being everywhere at once. I have just joined this forum -- I can't believe what I have been missing!
On to books: I agree! Fabric of the Cosmos is lovely! Brian Greene has a wonderful way of dealing with those inevitable first few chapters of a pop-sci book that reiterate the basics. He manages to explain relativity in such fun ways.
Roger Penrose's Emperor's New Mind is truly remarkable. His thoughts on AI are increasingly relevant.
And of course, The Physics of Star Trek! I laughed reading this book, as Krauss alternately praised and and poked fun at the show that first got me interested in physics as a child.
And lastly, although it doesn't technically qualify as sci-tech literature, Einstein's Dreams. In my opinion, the loveliest book ever written, connecting art and science in a n alomost painfully beautiful way. It doesn't teach anything new about theory, but it certainly makes you wonder about the actual nature of time and the universe and how our existence has been shaped.

Happy reading everyone, and thanks for being physics groupies too!

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