Search results: physics
***Shortlisted for the 2020 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize*** “This book is an ode to physics. I first fell in love with physics when I was a teenager” —Jim Al-Khalili. In The World According to Physics, theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili continues his mission to explain physics so that the rest […]
This is a completely popular book about quantum physics: there is not a single equation in there, I think. What he does is to go through all the major ways in which we try to understand quantum physics, all the major interpretations. I think it’s the best, probably my favourite, popular account of all the things we argue about on the fundamental side of quantum physics.
This is a work of fiction that weaves in the whimsy of Einstein’s days as a patent clerk in Switzerland and the types of dreams he may have had. They are little fables that come from his dreams and that relate the theory of relativity to real life.
Blaming “the quants” for the 2008 financial crisis is simplistic and short-sighted, says the author of The Physics of Wall Street. He picks five books showing the contribution physics has made to understanding financial markets.
What are the best books for getting a teenager into physics? Kate Lee, Head of Physics at St Paul’s Girls School, recommends books about NASA, space travel, and the Big Bang—and puzzles the question of why it is so hard for young women to stay in physics as a profession.
Contemporary physics is so complex that no single physicist can be said to have a decent grasp of the full picture. This makes communicating physics a formidable challenge. Acclaimed popular science writer, Jim Baggott, talks us through this challenge by discussing his favourite physics books.
Before Einstein, how the universe began was a question for theologians, not scientists. Over a century later, we know much more, but not enough to do more than guess at what happened at the moment of the Big Bang and immediately after. Astrophysicist Dan Hooper, author of At the Edge of Time—a book that explores dark energy, dark matter and other things we don’t yet understand—talks us through books about the Big Bang, and questions whether our entire understanding of the universe is about to be turned upside down.
This book is perhaps the public debut of string theory – an attempt to explain how the best theories of the big and the small theories might be linked to explain the entire universe. The reason I think this is such a good book is that Greene does a very good job of explaining the current understanding physicists have of the universe. In other words I wanted to include a readable book about the universe.
Quantum physics is deeply confusing and its relation to reality the cause of heated debate among physicists since its discovery. Here, science writer Jim Baggott—who has spent more than three decades thinking about quantum mechanics and written a number of books about it—recommends books for better understanding what it’s about, and explains why how physicists approach it is so crucial to science’s credibility.
I think of this book as the gold standard of what ideas from mathematics and physics can do. He takes an incredibly difficult problem and applies an entirely novel way of thinking about it and offers concrete mathematical tools coming out of physics to bring that problem under control.
We still understand very little about the workings of the brain, and yet we dismiss the tricks it can play on us as undeserving of the same sympathy as physical illness. Neurologist and author Suzanne O’Sullivan recommends the best books on psychosomatic illness.
The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin
His diagnosis about what’s happened in physics is that the string theory community became powerful when there was a lot of initial excitement about the programme, but then became entrenched and self-reinforcing.
At The Edge of Time by astrophysicist Dan Hooper is a popular science book that explains, in lay person’s terms, not only what we know out about the universe to date, but also what we don’t know about it. “Right now, there’s a culmination of mysteries in cosmology that need to be told as a […]
Postwar Europe was a scene of both physical and moral destruction. Keith Lowe, author of the award-winning Savage Continent, recommends essential reading for understanding the sheer scale of suffering, dislocation and fighting after the war was over.
About ten years before Watson and Crick, Shroedinger asked this question: can I take this very simplistic way we have of thinking in physics, namely that we like to reduce everything to a very simple mathematical formula (which seems to work actually pretty well) and take that over to biology and start to understand some more complicated processes in terms of physics? The interesting thing there is that he concludes somewhere that classical Newtonian mechanics is probably not sufficient to understand biological things, and we might have to use the full quantum mechanics to understand that.
Aah, the holidays! Time to lie on the grass and read the latest novel. Or are you looking for something more demanding? Physicist and popular science author Jim Al-Khalili, who has just written his first sci-fi thriller, Sunfall, suggests some highly readable science books for those who prefer their holiday reads to be nonfiction.