ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Top Science Books

Updated on March 24, 2013

What I Like

Here are listed some science books I have read and I believe they should have a place in your library.

These books are not top books in the terms of sale, they are simply books I like and I recommend to others interested in science.

All books contain brilliant ideas, approaches and solutions that can help you to think differently.

"Read Euler, read Euler. He is the master of us all."

Laplace

Euler: The Master of Us All

Read Euler. Do I need to add something?

Euler: The Master of Us All (Dolciani Mathematical Expositions, No 22)
Euler: The Master of Us All (Dolciani Mathematical Expositions, No 22)

An ideal book for enlivening undergraduate mathematics...he {Dunham} has Euler dazzling us with cleverness, page after page. -- Choice

Mathematician William Dunham has written a superb book about the life and amazing achievements of one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Unlike earlier writings about Euler, Professor Dunham gives crystal clear accounts of how Euler ingeniously proved his most significant results, and how later experts have stood on Euler's broad shoulders. Such a book has long been overdue. It will not need to be done again for a long long time. -- Martin Gardner

William Dunham has done it again! In "Euler: the Master of Us All", he has produced a masterful portrait of one of the most fertile mathematicians of all time. With Dunham's beautiful clarity and wit, we can follow with amazement Euler's strokes of genius which laid the groundwork for most of the mathematics we have today. -- Ron Graham, Chief Scientist, AT&T

William Dunham has written a superb book about the life and amazing achievements of one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Unlike earlier writings about Euler, Dunham gives crystal clear accounts of how Euler ingeniously proved his most significant results, and how later experts have stood on Euler's broad shoulders. Such a book has long been overdue. It will not need to be done again for a long, long time.Martin Gardner

Dunham has done it again! In "Euler: The Master of Us All," he has produced a masterful portrait of one of the most fertile mathematicians of all time. With Dunham's beautiful clarity and wit, we can follow with amazement Euler's strokes of genius which laid the groundwork for most of the mathematics we have today.

 

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

If you are interested in codes, cracking, hacking and the history of cryptography then this is the book for you.

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

People love secrets. Ever since the first word was written, humans have sent coded messages to each other. In The Code Book, Simon Singh, author of the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, offers a peek into the world of cryptography and codes, from ancient texts through computer encryption. Singh's compelling history is woven through with stories of how codes and ciphers have played a vital role in warfare, politics, and royal intrigue. The major theme of The Code Book is what Singh calls "the ongoing evolutionary battle between codemakers and codebreakers," never more clear than in the chapters devoted to World War II. Cryptography came of age during that conflict, as secret communications became critical to both sides' success.

 

The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science

This book describes ten carefully selected experiments performed in the history, dealing with macro and micro objects. A great confirmation that imagination is the only limit.

The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science
The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science

Is science beautiful? Yes, argues acclaimed philosopher and historian of science Robert P. Crease in this engaging exploration of history's most beautiful experiments. The result is an engrossing journey through nearly 2,500 years of scientific innovation. Along the way, we encounter glimpses into the personalities and creative thinking of some of the field's most interesting figures.

We see the first measurement of the earth's circumference, accomplished in the third century B.C. by Eratosthenes using sticks, shadows, and simple geometry. We visit Foucault's mesmerizing pendulum, a cannonball suspended from the dome of the Panthéon in Paris that allows us to see the rotation of the earth on its axis. We meet Galileo-the only scientist with two experiments in the top ten-brilliantly drawing on his musical training to measure the speed of falling bodies. And we travel to the quantum world, in the most beautiful experiment of all.

We also learn why these ten experiments exert such a powerful hold on our imaginations. From the ancient world to cutting-edge physics, these ten exhilarating moments reveal something fundamental about the world, pulling us out of confusion and revealing nature's elegance. The Prism and the Pendulum brings us face-to-face with the wonder of science.

 

Flight - My Life in Mission Control

Being interested in space exploration I liked this book as it describes best years of NASA and missions seen from flight director who later worked as manager.

Flight: My Life in Mission Control
Flight: My Life in Mission Control

On July 20, 1969, near the end of a great decade of near-space exploration, a small craft called Eagle landed on the moon's surface. As anyone who watched the televised broadcast of the landing might recall, the astronauts aboard Eagle were guided to their objective by a capable ground crew headed by Chris Kraft, whom his colleagues had long called "Flight." Kraft was unflappable on the surface, but, as he writes in this memoir, the Eagle's landing had moments of drama that gave him pause, and that few outside NASA knew about--including baleful alarms from the ship's on-board computer that warned of imminent disaster.

For Kraft, frightening moments were part of his job as director of Mission Control. He encountered many of them in the early years of the space program, when failures were commonplace and all too often caused not by mechanics but by politics. We learn of many in Kraft's pages. One such failure was the Soviet Union's Sputnik launch, about which Kraft thunders, "We should have beaten them.... We were stopped by anonymous doctors in the civilian world who didn't know what they were talking about, by a bureaucrat in the White House who'd been stung when JFK shot down his position on manned space flight, and by our friend the German rocket scientist, who got cold feet when he should have been bold."

 

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

John F. Kennedy

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

This is another great book about NASA and early missions including the legendary mission of the Apollo 13. Fantastic reading if you are interested in space flights.

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

In 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik and the ensuing space race. Three years later, Gene Kranz left his aircraft testing job to join NASA and champion the American cause. What he found was an embryonic department run by whiz kids (such as himself), sharp engineers and technicians who had to create the Mercury mission rules and procedure from the ground up. As he says, "Since there were no books written on the actual methodology of space flight, we had to write them as we went along."

Kranz was part of the mission control team that, in January 1961, launched a chimpanzee into space and successfully retrieved him, and made Alan Shepard the first American in space in May 1961. Just two months later they launched Gus Grissom for a space orbit, John Glenn orbited Earth three times in February 1962, and in May of 1963 Gordon Cooper completed the final Project Mercury launch with 22 Earth orbits. And through them all, and the many Apollo missions that followed, Gene Kranz was one of the integral inside men--one of those who bore the responsibility for the Apollo 1 tragedy, and the leader of the "tiger team" that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts.

Moviegoers know Gene Kranz through Ed Harris's Oscar-nominated portrayal of him in Apollo 13, but Kranz provides a more detailed insider's perspective in his book Failure Is Not an Option. You see NASA through his eyes, from its primitive days when he first joined up, through the 1993 shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, his last mission control project. His memoir, however, is not high literature. Kranz has many accomplishments and honors to his credit, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but this is his first book, and he's not a polished author. There are, perhaps, more behind-the-scenes details and more paragraphs devoted to what Cape Canaveral looked like than the general public demands. If, however, you have a long-standing fascination with aeronautics, if you watched Apollo 13 and wanted more, Failure Is Not an Option will fill the bill.

 

The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue

If you like calculus like I do then you should read this book`.

The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue
The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue

More than three centuries after its creation, calculus remains a dazzling intellectual achievement and the gateway into higher mathematics. This book charts its growth and development by sampling from the work of some of its foremost practitioners, beginning with Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the late seventeenth century and continuing to Henri Lebesgue at the dawn of the twentieth--mathematicians whose achievements are comparable to those of Bach in music or Shakespeare in literature. William Dunham lucidly presents the definitions, theorems, and proofs. "Students of literature read Shakespeare; students of music listen to Bach," he writes. But this tradition of studying the major works of the "masters" is, if not wholly absent, certainly uncommon in mathematics. This book seeks to redress that situation.

Like a great museum, The Calculus Gallery is filled with masterpieces, among which are Bernoulli's early attack upon the harmonic series (1689), Euler's brilliant approximation of pi (1779), Cauchy's classic proof of the fundamental theorem of calculus (1823), Weierstrass's mind-boggling counterexample (1872), and Baire's original "category theorem" (1899). Collectively, these selections document the evolution of calculus from a powerful but logically chaotic subject into one whose foundations are thorough, rigorous, and unflinching--a story of genius triumphing over some of the toughest, most subtle problems imaginable.

Anyone who has studied and enjoyed calculus will discover in these pages the sheer excitement each mathematician must have felt when pushing into the unknown. In touring The Calculus Gallery, we can see how it all came to be.

 

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

This book describes in chronological order the events and discoveries that led to the Big Bang theory. Great book on cosmology.

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe
Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

It was cosmologist Fred Hoyle who coined the term "big bang" to describe the notion that the universe exploded out of nothing to kick-start space and time. Ironically, Hoyle himself espoused the steady state theory, positing that the universe is eternal and never really changes. Former BBC producer and science writer Singh (Fermat's Enigma) recounts in his inimitable down-to-earth style how the big bang theory triumphed. Readers will find here one of the best explanations available of how Cepheid stars are used to estimate the distance of other galaxies. Singh highlights some of the lesser-known figures in the development of the big bang theory, like Henrietta Leavitt, a volunteer "computer" at the Harvard College Observatory who in 1912 discovered how Cepheid stars can be used to measure galactic distances. Singh shows how the creation of the heavier elements was a major stumbling block to widespread adoption of the big bang until Hoyle (once again boosting the theory that he so fervently opposed) proved that they were created in stars' nuclear furnaces and strewn throughout the universe via supernova explosions. Readers who don't need a review of the early development of cosmology may wish that Singh had adopted a somewhat less leisurely pace. But his introductory chapters hold a lot of worthwhile material, clearly presented for the science buff and lay reader. There's no better account of the big bang theory than this.

 

Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools

This book was my first step into compilers. I am a big fan of Pascal programming language and was always interested in how compilers work and how they optimize code. Additional motivation that helped me to start studying compilers was the fact that I was working with 8051 microcontrollers and I wanted to have a good Pascal compiler that would be similar to Turbo Pascal for PC. This interest in compilers later resulted in Turbo51 - Pascal compiler for 8051 microcontrollers which is now released as freeware.

Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (2nd Edition)
Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (2nd Edition)

This book provides the foundation for understanding the theory and pracitce of compilers. Revised and updated, it reflects the current state of compilation. Every chapter has been completely revised to reflect developments in software engineering, programming languages, and computer architecture that have occurred since 1986, when the last edition published. The authors, recognizing that few readers will ever go on to construct a compiler, retain their focus on the broader set of problems faced in software design and software development. Computer scientists, developers, and aspiring students that want to learn how to build, maintain, and execute a compiler for a major programming language.

 

The Feynman Lectures on Physics including Feynman's Tips on Physics

If you are interested in physics and you know who Feynman was then Lectures on Physics are mandatory. Feynman had a fantastic skill to beautifully explain complex things.

The Feynman Lectures on Physics including Feynman's Tips on Physics: The Definitive and Extended Edition
The Feynman Lectures on Physics including Feynman's Tips on Physics: The Definitive and Extended Edition

Richard P. Feynman was born in 1918 in Brooklyn and received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1942. Despite his youth, he played an important part in the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos during World War II. Subsequently, he taught at Cornell and at the California Institute of Technology. In 1965 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Sin-Itero Tomanaga and Julian Schwinger, for his work in quantum electrodynamics.

Dr. Feynman won his Nobel Prize for successfully resolving problems with the theory of quantum electrodynamics. He also created a mathematical theory that accounts for the phenomenon of superfluidity in liquid helium. Thereafter, with Murray Gell-Mann, he did fundamental work in the area of weak interactions such as beta decay. In later years Feynman played a key role in the development of quark theory by putting forward his parton model of high energy proton collision processes.

Beyond these achievements, Dr. Feynman introduced basic computational techniques and notations into physics, above all, the ubiquitous Feynman diagrams that, perhaps more than any other formalism in recent scientific history, have changed the way in which basic physical processes are conceptualized and calculated.

Feynman was a remarkable effective educator. Of all his numerous awards, he was especially proud of the Oersted Medal for Teaching which he won in 1972. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, originally published in 1963, were described by a reviewer in Scientific American as "tough, but nourishing and full of flavor. After 25 years it is the guide for teachers and for the best of beginning students." In order to increase the understanding of physics among the lay public, Dr. Feynman wrote The Character of Physical Law and Q.E.D.: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. He also authored a number of advanced publications that have become classic references and textbooks for researchers and students.

 

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

This book explains the science from ancient times to the latest discoveries. Last chapters are maybe difficult to read but I enjoyed it reading very much because Penrose like Feynman knows how to explain mathematics and physics.

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

At first, this hefty new tome from Oxford physicist Penrose looks suspiciously like a textbook, complete with hundreds of diagrams and pages full of mathematical notation. On a closer reading, however, one discovers that the book is something entirely different and far more remarkable. Unlike a textbook, the purpose of which is purely to impart information, this volume is written to explore the beautiful and elegant connection between mathematics and the physical world. Penrose spends the first third of his book walking us through a seminar in high-level mathematics, but only so he can present modern physics on its own terms, without resorting to analogies or simplifications (as he explains in his preface, "in modern physics, one cannot avoid facing up to the subtleties of much sophisticated mathematics"). Those who work their way through these initial chapters will find themselves rewarded with a deep and sophisticated tour of the past and present of modern physics. Penrose transcends the constraints of the popular science genre with a unique combination of respect for the complexity of the material and respect for the abilities of his readers. This book sometimes begs comparison with Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, and while Penrose's vibrantly challenging volume deserves similar success, it will also likely lie unfinished on as many bookshelves as Hawking's. For those hardy readers willing to invest their time and mental energies, however, there are few books more deserving of the effort.

 

Top Science Projects

Here are listed few big science projects currently running or in preparation.

Any comment?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is a neat list, so angel blessings for you from the squid angel of reference books. I shall pass this list on to my grandson who spouts mathematics like most people discuss the weather. I've read Simon Singh, he's great, but I don't know the others.

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

      Great list! (although if you got all the way through the Feynman Bibles, you're tougher than us). Also recommended: anything by Paul Nahin (Dueling Idiots is a fav). Thumbs up!