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Best Books in Light Science Reading

We read a limited number of physics and scientific books each year. Those we feel are best will be showcased here.

Einsteins Cosmos book cover
Einsteins Cosmos by Michio Kaku- 5 Star Science Reading (buy from Barnes & Nobel, Amazon or other on line sources)

Physicist Michio Kaku brilliantly portrays the life of the world's most famous scientist Albert Einstein. Einstein's personal life, the professional challenges he faced and his ultimate success in creating brilliant science all come to life.

Kaku, himself a brilliant scientist, communicates the soul and consequences of Einstein's theories in a way that non scientists can easily understand. Kaku explains the far reaching results of Einstein's work from Astrophysics to Atom Bomb.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book is the portrayal of Einstein as a humble and decent man who was approachable by children, kings and famous scientists alike. Einstein's Cosmos is a wonderful little book that was enjoyable from the first page to the last.

We Have No Idea book cover
by Cham and Whiteson 5 Star Physics

Since the days of Isaac Newton, Physics books usually present the triumphs of brilliant men over the enigmas of nature. Not so with "We Have No Idea".

Physicist and Cartoonist have teamed up to create a very readable account that concentrates on what we still don't understand about the cosmos. Example: During the rotation of galaxies, centrifugal force of rotation must balance the gravitational pull of the galaxy to avoid collapse of the structure; but, during the last 25 years, convincing evidence has come to light that these two quantities are not balanced. It is evident that some form of invisible matter must be present and hence the term "dark matter". We know it exists, we know it represents about 27% of matter in the universe but we have no idea what it is.

From Astrophysics to atomic physics "We Have No Idea" explains and illustrates the mysteries that keep Physicists awake at night-- and believe me, there are enough of these issues to keep them pacing the floor for a long time.

Clearly and well written, this is a very understandable and enjoyable way to get your daily dose of physics, I recommend "We Have No Idea" highly.

The Trouble with Physics book cover
The Trouble with Physics by Dr. Lee Smolin- 5 Star Light Physics Reading (buy from Barnes & Nobel, Amazon or other on line sources)

Since Isaac Newton the world's physicists have delivered an uninterrupted stream of scientific breakthroughs. That is, until the year I graduated in 1976. Maxwell's theory of light, Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics were all birthed in a few short years. Yet, the holy grail of a single, unifying theory has remained illusive. String Theory seems the leading contender to integrate the lot, and yet after 35 years of research, String Theory has, in the words of Lee Smolin, failed to deliver a single testable prediction.

Dr. Smolin's book discusses a variety of foundational issues with String Theory as well as its schizophrenic ability to morph into multiple theories depending on the number of fundamental dimensions assumed.

I believe anyone interested in science , string theory or cosmology would find this book interesting. But it would be particularly valuable to someone considering graduate school in physics. We were all young once, and understood little of how the world works. A frank discussion of the interaction of Post Doc positions, granting of Professorships and graduate areas of focus in an age where String Theory dominates key positions in every major University is valuable.

Contact the author paul@dionysus.biz by e-mail.
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Paul F. Watson

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