Recommend your favorite Science or Technology book.

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by TerriO, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. TerriO

    TerriO Writer-type human Premium Member

    Dec 13, 2001
    Doing a little bit of writing
    Of course the writer's going to come up with this one. :)

    Right alongside the websites, it occurs to me we should have a thread where we can recommend science and technology books for our fellow posters to read. So, here goes. If you'd like to recommend a book, please feel free to give us the title, author, and a brief summary of why you're recommending the book. :)

    Roving Mars by Steve Squyres--an excellent look into the genesis and development of the MER program, written by the principal investigator (and, in truth, the public face) of MER. If you've ever wondered just what it takes to get a project like MER off the ground, you should read this. Squyres' style is very conversational and accessible.

    Parallel Worlds : A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku--Kaku has, IMO, an astonishing ability to make quantum theory accessible to the average person. I just tend to recommend his books in general, but I found this one particularly fascinating on the subject. :)

    Feel free to add more, guys. :)
  2. Jenee

    Jenee Dancing Goddess Premium Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    In the park
    I'm still trying to get through A Brief History of Time and I've had it for almost a decade.

    But, I do like 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Science.

    I'm really kind of a simple-minded science geek.
  3. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Lost in a temporal and spacial anomaly
    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.
  4. Ruaidhri

    Ruaidhri Commodore Commodore

    Jun 27, 2001
    Ruaidhri...Toronto in body, Philly in spirit!
    The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen. Great look at evolution, touching, of course, quite a bit on Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace- who developed the theory independently.

    I also really enjoy a book called The Control of Nature by John McPhee. Three stories about how humans are resisting natural geologic forces, like the natural tendency of a river system to change it's course (in this case, the Mississippi trying to shift into the Atchfalaya).
  5. Rosalind

    Rosalind TrekLit's Dr Rose Mod Admiral

    Mar 30, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    ^ I've read that, and it's excellent! He made the subject of quantum theory, relativity and string theory seems so easy!

    DNA by James Watson, published in 2003 as a celebration of 50 years since the 'discovery' of DNA. My biology is limited to Year 10 high school stuff, yet I found the book not only interesting, and at times exciting to read, all the technical details were pretty easy to understand.

    Will go through my library for other books later...
  6. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

    Nov 3, 2001
    OSF Headquarters
    Dinosaur Heresies by Bob Bakker

    Lucy and Lucy's Child by Don Johannsen

    The entire Space Science Series put out by the University of Arizona Press.

    The Viking Rocket Story by Milt Rosen--great rocket history.

    Anything under the byline of Gideon Marcus.. (me.. hoping to be published soon, somewhere)
  7. Jepp5

    Jepp5 Commodore Commodore

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
  8. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2004
    The Elegent Universe by Brian Greene. Great book on the basics of relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory using little to no math, so it's really accessable.
  9. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

    Nov 3, 2001
    OSF Headquarters
    Yeah--that's a good one.
  10. Trek Terp

    Trek Terp Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 17, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    also The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
    and a multitude of nonfiction too numerous to recount by Asimov.
  11. FatherRob

    FatherRob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    All this and no one has mentioned Sagan's Cosmos? I mean, the show was great, but the book is really good too... even if elements of it are dated.

    That being said, I tend to be a retro reader... I have Clarke's Man and Space that he did for Time-Life before the Saturn I series had finished the unmanned test flights. I also have Powers' Shuttle from 1978... talk about your OPTIMISTIC predictions!

    Any astronomy book by Patrick Moore is good, particularlly his Night Sky with Binoculars volume.

  12. Sparky

    Sparky Commodore Commodore

    Nov 10, 2001
    Calgary, Alberta. Canuckistan
    Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris

    It's a bit old, but it is a great tale of how our understanding of the world and the universe has progressed over the last 3000-4000 years.
    Jim Klag likes this.
  13. Naraht

    Naraht Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 14, 2004
    Oxford, UK
    Here are a few of my top picks. More to follow, probably. (My favourite spaceflight books will be in a different list.)

    The New Physics, edited by Paul Davies, is a brilliant one-volume reference work, written at a fairly detailed but still readable level. It has chapters on astrophysics, cosmology, chaos, low temperture physics, and other hot topics. Unfortunately, it's fifteen years old now, and there's a new version out, but I haven't read the new one yet.

    Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter, won the Pulitzer Prize and is simply one of the most brilliant books written on any subject ever. It explores the intersection between artificial intelligence, creativity, logic, music and art. This is the sort of book that permanently changes the way you look at the world.

    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.

    The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte. It's about charts and graphs, and how to design them properly. That might not sound interesting, but this is one of the more beautiful and elegant books that I've ever read. Don't believe me? Take a look at his website.

    The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution by Stuart Kauffman. This is a tough book, and I'm not sure that I ever completely understood it. But those moments where I thought I did were intellectually exhilarating. It takes a perspective on evolution that Darwin could only have dreamt of, using insights from theories of complexity and information. He argues that complex systems have self-organizing properties, and that thus natural selection may not have played as big a role in evolution as we might have thought.
  14. ScarletBea

    ScarletBea Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 25, 2003
    now, Switzerland
    I second this one.
    I'm not a person with a science background, just an interest, and I absolutely love this book, it's opened my eyes to so many things!

    I still haven't read 'The Elegant Universe', but I want to.
  15. Peregrine

    Peregrine Captain Captain

    May 4, 2004
    Right now I'm really into "Warped Passages" by Lisa Randal. Published sometime last year. I picked it up on a day trip to Fredericton. I used to read it on the bus on the way to work before I got my car, so I haven't had a spare chance to get past Chapter 7 since November.
  16. 1001001

    1001001 I Like the Nightlife, Baby! Moderator

    Nov 3, 2001
    Beyond the Gilded Cage
    I haven't read the book, but the documentary was fascinating. It did a good job introducing difficult concepts, like 11 dimensions and membrane universes.

    Great stuff. I'll have to pick up the book.
  17. Turbo

    Turbo Anthro Hawk Admiral

    Jun 1, 2004
    I feel dumb now...I must remember to pick up one of these books.
  18. 20-Backwards

    20-Backwards Commodore Commodore

    Dec 27, 2005
    National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe by Roy A. Gallant and Margaret Sedeen. A sizeable hardback. This was my favorite childhood book and is mainly responsible for my passion for astronomy. It's a great read for children of all ages, beautifully illustrated and engrossing in the tapestry it weaves between sci-fi supposition (it was written in 1980 after all) and science fact. In fact, I bought the 1980 version (for all of $1.50) and now I read it to my little daughter. If you have kids, buy this book.
  19. Naraht

    Naraht Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 14, 2004
    Oxford, UK
    This list will focus on my favourite books about NASA and the American space program.

    Apollo: The Race to the Moon by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox.
    If you only read one book about the space program, this should be the one, even though it only focuses on the Apollo program. Its style, brilliance and insight put it head and shoulders above any competitors. Murray and Cox see the space program as a whole, and offer so much more than a bland recitation of mission details. Their book has been recommended by several former flight controllers, and has been used fairly intensively by NASA historians. The website is good too.

    The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA by Diane Vaughan.
    A very insightful and densely written book that cuts through many of the myths surrounding the Challenger accident. Before reading this book, I thought that I understood what had happened to Challenger. I was wrong.

    Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins.
    This is the only astronaut memoir that I have any time for (although I haven't read as many as I should). Collins is much more eloquent and reflective than the typical Apollo-era astronaut.

    Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith.
    At a basic level, this is an account of has what happened to the men who walked on the moon in the nearly forty years since it happened. It is also a very subtle study of how what they did affected them, how it affected all of us, and what the moon landings really meant to the world. This is a very accessible and non-technical book, but I found it stayed with me for a long time.

    Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module by Thomas Kelly.
    The development and construction of the lunar module, as narrated by its chief engineer. This book hits the perfect balance between autobiography and historical narrative, and between technical detail and readability. It is also very fluidly written. Tom Kelly, sadly no longer alive, was a remarkable man.
  20. syc

    syc Captain Captain

    Aug 6, 2005
    Bases that Belong to Us
    I got Parallel Worlds by Michio and Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian, for christmas last year and I haven't found the time to read either. I recieved Hyperspace for christmas the year before and really enjoyed it. I love Michio Kakus views of theoretical physics and cosmology. I highly recommend any of Michio's books.