- "Big picture" books related to cosmology
- Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the
Universe, by Martin Rees. A short but stimulating
book that discusses how many details of the universe and
the existence of life itself depend on precise values of
certain constants of nature. Why are the properties of
the universe so sensitive to these constants and why is
it that the constants seem to have just the right
precise values for complicated structure, including
life, to arise?
- The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin
of the Universe, Second Edition by Steven Weinberg
(Basic Books, 1993).
- Two popular books related to frontiers of particle physics and
- The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden
Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by
Brian Greene. A popular non-technical book that tries to
explain string theory, one of the current attempts to
reconcile the physics of the small (quantum mechanics)
with the physics of the large (Einstein's theory of
gravity). Along the way you will learn why there may be
as many as ten spatial dimensions and that all known
particles possibly arise from vibrations of incredibly
tiny quantum strings. There is
television episode based on this book that you might
- Warped Passages: Unraveling The Mysteries Of The
Universe's Hidden Dimensions
Randall. Another popular book by a leading physicist
about the possibility and consequences of more than three
spatial dimensions existing.
- Some non-technical books related to nonlinear dynamics, pattern
formation, and networks (related to the question of how does
complex structure arise in the world and how does one describe
- Chaos: Making A New Science by James Gleick
- The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature by
- Linked: HOw Everyting is Connected to Everyting Else and
What it Means by
- The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock
the Secrets of the Universe by Anil Anathaswamy. Non-technical
book that gives a first-hand look at ten ongoing physics experiments
that are addressing the frontiers of physics.
- The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological
Approach by Christof Koch. How does one begin to
figure out how brains work and can one explain something
as ill-defined as "consciousness"? Theoretical physicist
Christof Koch gives a readable, interesting, and mainly
non-technical overview of how scientists are making
progress in understanding how brains work.
- Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of
Quantum Theory by Jim Baggott. One of the best non-technical
discussions about what is quantum mechanics.
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard
P. Feynman. Entertaining stories and musings by one of the great
theoretical physicists of the 20th century.
Energy--Without the Hot Air by David MacKay. One of the better
books on the quest for sustainble energy, a major physics challenge
for the next few decades. It is free to download from this site.