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Hi Neil.

Have a look at Timothy Ferris's "The Whole Shebang" and "Coming Of Age In The Milky Way". Both are brilliantly written, and very readable, even though they're a few years old now. He is a superb writer who is able to tell a fascinating story whilst educating you without you realising it.

Also good are "Parallel Worlds" by Michi Kaku, and "The Fabric Of The Cosmos" by Brian Greene, although these are slightly more theoretical and need some degree of imagination to get the concepts clear in your mind.

Regards, Dave

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Try The God Particle, by Leon Lederman (director of Fermilab). It's a good overview of particle physics research and is (and I find this hard to believe even as I write it) hilarious. Brilliantly written, entertaining, still very informative. "The God Particle" refers to the Higgs Boson, one of the current elusive targets in particle physics (and which the new LHC is hoping to find).

- Richard

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If it's cosmology you're after, you won't go far wrong with Bang! by Patrick Moore et al. A cracking, readable and suprisingly detailed and clear account. I didn't expect very much (thinking it was aimed at the populist market) and was very pleasantly surprised.

Regards, Martin

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Yes, I'd recommend BANG! also. Been reading Brien Greene's Elegant Universe too, much easier to read than Hawking's books but the subject matter is just a tad beyond me.

Paul

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  • 2 months later...

I've recently finished The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra , A Briefer history of time, by Stephen Hawking and I'm now 1/2 way through Death by black hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries written by Neil deGrasse Tyson , and 1/4 way through Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions by Lisa Randall. (All the above authors are theoretical physicists.)

I'm really enjoying Tyson 's Death by black hole . Tyson' style of writing feels just like having a conversation with him at your kitchen table over dinner. He has this rare quality of making even the most tedious, or difficult, topics of physics and chemistry, relativity and the Drake equation sound so matter of fact that one just wants to explore more rather than feel totally overwhelmend by it. And he's funny :) I rally recommend it.

Lisa Randall's Warped Passages is also a very good and fascinating read about the cosmological theories of parallel universes, multiverses and string theory. I can't wait to sit for this flipping maths exam just to finish reading this book.

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Hi all,

I used 'The Whole Shebang' by Ferris for my university studies and I thought it was a little lacking in substance. Don't get me wrong, the complexity of Hawkings work is overwhelming for some, but Ferris' book in my opinion is a bit basic. Its like those Horizon programs or those natural history ones the BBC show, they spend and hour of your time covering the major points but don't give any depth and often repeat all that is being said. By the end of it your wondering, have I learnt anything new here?

Just my opinion. Cosmology by Michael Rowan Robinson is a detailed little book. Not very explaining in parts but holds all the main formulae etc.

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Yes, I'd recommend BANG! also. Been reading Brien Greene's Elegant Universe too, much easier to read than Hawking's books but the subject matter is just a tad beyond me.

Paul

BANG! is a BIG book with lots of pictures, making a nice bed time read :) when I need something gentle to sleep with :undecided:

Brian Greene is a lively speaker. You can watch him here

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/brian_greene_on_string_theory.html

Quite a few posters haven mentioned Elegant Universe and I'm trying hard not to surf to Amazon, as I have 5 (more, perhaps...) books awaiting my attention sitting on the shelf :)

Hi all,

I used 'The Whole Shebang' by Ferris for my university studies and I thought it was a little lacking in substance. ........

Just my opinion. Cosmology by Michael Rowan Robinson is a detailed little book. Not very explaining in parts but holds all the main formulae etc.

'The Whole Shebang' rings a bell, but 'Cosmology ' I'm not familiar with it. Something to look at next time I'll pop in Waterstones, as they seem to have a few confey chairs now :D

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Waterstones might have it, if not try the web, abebooks.com is a good place to try, as is amazon but don't buy direct from amazon, try one of their 'new & used' suppliers, ususally you can get books for less than £1!

Of course if your after one specific thing (i.e. the name or date of something, or a law or theory) then try a journal, saves buying the book!

I use ads-abstract (URL is adsabs.harvard.edu or something similar), or arXiv.org. Some journals you have to have an access code for (via subscriptionfee) but the majority you can download in .pdf file type. If you find you have to subscribe then just take the name of the article/journal and whack it into Google, that way you should find someone that hosts it for free.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

I've tried to read A Brief History of Time and The Trouble with Physics to some degree of understanding can anyone recommend a book that is easier to digest?

Neil

The last part of the book A Briefer History of Time is dedicated to Quantum Mechanics and it does get my attention, for the 2nd time :) I'll have to compare it with A Brief History of Time and see if there are any differences. Just wandering...

For something a bit lighter, I'm now listening to audiobook The Planets by Dava Sobel (the unabridged version). She's a brilliant writer who knows how to turn a scientific chapter into captivating paragraphs. Galileo's Daughter was very pleasant to listen to and I read also Longitude, both by Dava Sobel. One day I found the book version of Galileo's Daughter and is now on my book shelf next to Longitude (I had to buy that one too :D ).

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Try the Space Odyssey Quadrilogy by Arthur C Clarke. Everyone knows of 2001 "A Space Odyssey" and the sequel 2010 "The year We Made Contact" which were both made into fantastic movies. The other 2 books are 2061 & 3001 which kind of bring the whole sage to an end but on the whole the last 2 books lack the punch and drama of the first 2. Apparently Tom Hanks has plans to make 2061 into a film but having read the book i couldnt see it working.

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I'm now reading Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku and after going throught all the preliminaries in Part One (Newtonian Physiscs, Einstein theory, who stated what in the world of Theoretical Physics, quantum particles etc, etc, etc), it's now hard to put down in Part 2. In fact, this book goes pretty where I go, even to the Post Office :) There's always such a long queue....

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