Things you should know

Science Book Meme

CocktailphysicsmoiMy friend Jen over at Cocktail Party Physics has jumped into the meme-creation business by posting this pop-sci book meme she created in response to a request for recommendations. Jen has become way geekier than I am in recent years, so she's read a lot of stuff I haven't (a perk of being a professional science writer) but the list she's come up with is great and totally puts me to shame. It's physics heavy, but part of the instructions include adding your own, so this gives us the opportunity to broaden out the base.  Here we go:

1. Bold 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 (leave links or suggested additions in the comments, if you prefer) so I can keep track of everyone's additions. Then we can compile it all into one giant "Top 100" popular science books list, with room for honorable mentions. (I, for one, have some quirky choices in the list below.) Voila! We'll have awesome resource for general readers interested in delving into the fascinating world of science!

0. Principia, Isaac Newton

Oh, just kidding. Granted, it's an influential work that pretty much founded modern physics, but has anybody read the Principia in its entirety lately? Really? How about De Revolutionibus? If so, do you not have a life? Seriously, Newton would turn over in his grave in horror at any inclusion of his masterpiece in a list of popular science books. Which is why I'm starting with....


1. Micrographia, Robert Hooke [I've looked at the pretty pictures, but that's not exactly "reading"]
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 (reading it now)
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 (own it but haven't gotten to it yet)
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. *Pythagorus' Trousers, Margaret Wertheim (in the reading pile)
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 (I tried, Lord, I tried. So boring.)
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 Lives 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

Here's my contributions, as along as we're allowed to add fiction:

76. Ringworld, Larry Niven (engineering & exobiology)
77. The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke (engineering)
78. Cyteen, C.J. Cherryh (cloning)
79. Cryptonomicron, Neal Stephenson (cryptology, computer science)
80. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks (neuro science)
81. The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould (biology, evolution, sociobiology)
82. The Double Helix, James Watson (biochemistry)
83. Woman, Natalie Angier (biology, medicine)
84. The White Plague, Frank Herbert (epidemiology)
85. The World Without Us, Alan Weisman (ecology)
86. The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (cosmology)
87. Dragon's Egg, Robert Forward (cosmology)
88. The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard (ecology)
89. Air, Geoff Ryman (AI, computer science)
90. The Number of the Beast, Robert A. Heinlein (physics)
91. Stardancer, Spider Robinson (cosmology, exobiology)
92. All Tomorrow's Parties, William Gibson (AI, VR)
93. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (physics)
94. Reinventing the Sacred, Stuart A. Kauffman (general science)
95. Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (biochemistry, ecology)
96. Sea Change, Sylvia Earle (oceanography, marine biology)
97. The Hungry Ocean, Linda Greenlaw (ocean ecology)
98. The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger (oceanography)
99. The Arcturus Adventure, William Beebe (oceanography, marine biology)
100. Dark Matter, Philip Kerr (biography of Isaac Newton)


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