Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pop science book meme

This I have to do! It's a book meme version from Coctail Party Physics.

The rules:

  1. Highlight those you've read in full
  2. Asterisk those you intend to read
  3. Add any additional popular science books you think belong on the list
  4. Link back to me (i. e. link to Jennifer, she wants to use the additions and comments to make a top hundred list)

Turns out I'm not doing so well on this one. There are many on the list that I don't recognize at all. There are some that I'm not sure I would classify as popular science at all, like Neuromancer. What is that one doing here? Well, more comments after the list.

  1. Micrographia, Robert Hooke

  2. The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin

  3. Never at Rest, Richard Westfall

  4. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman

  5. Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney

  6. The Devil's Doctor, Philip Ball

  7. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes

  8. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, Dennis Overbye

  9. Physics for Entertainment, Yakov Perelman

  10. 1-2-3 Infinity, George Gamow

  11. The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene

  12. Warmth Disperses, Time Passes, Hans Christian von Bayer

  13. Alice in Quantumland, Robert Gilmore

  14. Where Does the Weirdness Go? David Lindley

  15. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

  16. A Force of Nature, Richard Rhodes

  17. Black Holes and Time Warps, Kip Thorne

  18. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

  19. Universal Foam, Sidney Perkowitz

  20. Vermeer's Camera, Philip Steadman

  21. The Code Book, Simon Singh

  22. The Elements of Murder, John Emsley

  23. Soul Made Flesh, Carl Zimmer

  24. Time's Arrow, Martin Amis

  25. The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson

  26. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman

  27. *Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter

  28. The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, Lisa Jardine

  29. A Matter of Degrees, Gino Segre

  30. The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss

  31. E=mc<2>, David Bodanis

  32. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife

  33. Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman

  34. *A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, Janna Levin

  35. Warped Passages, Lisa Randall

  36. Apollo's Fire, Michael Sims

  37. Flatland, Edward Abbott

  38. Fermat's Last Theorem, Amir Aczel

  39. Stiff, Mary Roach

  40. Astroturf, M.G. Lord

  41. The Periodic Table, Primo Levi

  42. *Longitude, Dava Sobel

  43. The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg

  44. The Mummy Congress, Heather Pringle

  45. The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio

  46. Math and the Mona Lisa, Bulent Atalay

  47. This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin

  48. The Executioner's Current, Richard Moran

  49. Krakatoa, Simon Winchester

  50. *Pythagoras' Trousers, Margaret Wertheim

  51. Neuromancer, William Gibson

  52. *The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios

  53. The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, Sandra Hempel

  54. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Katrina Firlik

  55. Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps, Peter Galison

  56. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan

  57. The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins

  58. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker

  59. An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears

  60. Consilience, E.O. Wilson

  61. Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould

  62. Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard

  63. Fire in the Brain, Ronald K. Siegel

  64. The Life of a Cell, Lewis Thomas

  65. Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris

  66. Storm World, Chris Mooney

  67. The Carbon Age, Eric Roston

  68. The Black Hole Wars, Leonard Susskind

  69. Copenhagen, Michael Frayn

  70. From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne

  71. Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson

  72. Chaos, James Gleick

  73. *Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos

  74. The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky

  75. Subtle is the Lord, Abraham Pais

The Janna Levin book listed here is a novel. I have read her How the Universe Got Its Spots, which was not bad -- maybe I would substitute that one on the list. Instead of Neuromancer I would put a novel with higher science content, for example the latest trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. I haven't yet read Longitude by Dava Sobel, but I recently finished her Galileo's Daughter which I can recommend. By Stephen Pinker I would be tempted to put How the Mind Works before The Language Instinct, but perhaps that is because I read it more recently.

Now to my additions:

  • The Quark and the Jaguar, Murray Gell-Mann

  • The New World of Mr Tompkins, George Gamow and Russell Stannard (updated version of the classic)

  • The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris

  • Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond

  • *The World Without Us, Alan Weisman

  • *The Physics of the BuffyVerse, Jennifer Ouellette

There are two on the list I haven't read yet. I just started reading The World Without Us, and like it so far. The Physics of the BuffyVerse seems interesting, and I know from the blog that she can write.

I might add more to this if something pops up in my mind today.

(The next chapter about the PICASSO detector will come within a few days.)

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