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Books for Christmas


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#1 Tormod

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 10:44 AM

Okay, it's getting a bit late for this but how about a thread with book recommendations for Christmas presents? Or for people to pick up for themselves?

Let's not limit this to science - SF, fantasy, fiction, philosophy...anything which you consider remotely interesting to the others at Hypography.

I'll start:

Sci-Fi:
Richard Morgan: Altered Carbon + Broken Angels
Peter F. Hamilton: Pandora's Star (if you liked the Federation trilogy you'll love this)

Science:
Marcus Chown: The Magic Furnace (about the evolution of stars)
Jeffrey Diarmuid: Aspirin - the remarkable story of a wonder drug
Marcus duSatoy: The Music of the Primes
Carl Zimmer: Soul made flesh (about the discovery of the brain!)

#2 Bo

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 02:24 PM

i can recommend:
-Bill bryson: "a short history of nearly everything" (nice overview of the universe, from the big bang to civilization. and most importantly: lots of anecdotes and bakcgroundstories)
-Martinus Veltman: "Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics" (very nice, easy to understand, colorfull overview of the 'standard model of elementary particles" by the (dutch) nobel laureate of 2001 (or so))
- Any book by Richard feynman.

Bo

#3 DivineNathicana

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 06:41 PM

Alright, let me make my diminutive contribution:

History
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (Basically sums up the course of human history - guns, germs, and steel being the lethal weapons that had claimed nations their status. Oddly enough, written by a physiologist and an evolutionary biologist.)

The Adventure of Archaeology by Brian M. Fagan (An amazing book for the ancient history/historical mysteries nut.)

Science
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley (Discusses the human genes and which specific aspects of human nature each dominates. Interesting chapter dealing with chimeras.)

The Five Ages of the Universe by Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin (Pretty self-axplanatory - describes the past , present, and future histories of our Universe (as hypothesized by some) by dividing them into five distinctive stages of development.)

The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, both by Brian Greene (Discuss issues such as TR, ST, time in general, and other paraphernalia of theoretical physics - WITHOUT the math. Clearly explained and very well written - easy for anyone to understand and yet detailed enough to offer satisfying insight into current developments.)

Anything by Stephen Hawking (preferably the illustrated editions). Bright and vivid illustrations. Very trippy. = ) Although, I am not particularly fond of his writing per se. It is best to combine a clear, in-depth, informative book, such as the former of the two I mentioned by Brian Greene, as a guide, and to use Hawking's illustrated editions as visual enhancers. I say this because I personally had trouble graspind certain concepts from his books, but was able to pick them up from Greene.)

Uhmm... Anything by Richard Feynman. (Very funny; very informative. The best of the best.)

Fantasy
Anything by Tolkien is a given.

I'm pretty sure that Lovecraft should go under fantasy. So Lovecraft for the lovers of the bizzare and eccentric horror scene. (By the way, my user name was derived from one of his poems. Muahahaha!)

Clive Barker for those who like porn with their grotesque... But just a warning - he's gay. = )

Anything from the DragonLance series for lovers of hard-core, cheesy type of good ol' bad Tolkien rip-off's. The writing itself is actually pretty good, but they seriously need an editor. I found myriads of stupid little grammatical errors, which I took the liberty to fix in bright, crimson ink. = )

Science Fiction
Anything by Isaac Asimov.

Anything by the Strugatsky Brothers. (Two amazing Russian authors. Futuristic setting. World renowned.)

Arthur C. Clarke's A Space Odyssey (About the endless journey of man.)

The Giver, by Lois Lowry (About the importance of emotions to staying human.)

The entire Dune series by Frank Herbert (Sandworms and Spice galore!)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hope I helped out, Tormod
More upon request...

- Alisa :wink:
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#4 Tormod

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 11:40 PM

The Five Ages of the Universe by Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin (Pretty self-axplanatory - describes the past , present, and future histories of our Universe as hypothesized by some by dividing the into five distinctive stages of development.)


Thanks Alisa. Great list! This book is one of my all-time favorites!
Review here: http://www.hypograph...le.cfm?id=29590 (3 yars old now).

Anything by Richard Feynman


Yeah! I'd recommend "The Pleasures of Finding Things Out" and "Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman! - Adventures of a curious character".

#5 TINNY

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 03:43 AM

How about Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islam by Syed Naquib Al-Attas; and Islam at the Crossroads by Muhammad Asad. Aww come on... don't let the word Islam deter you.

And Shantaram by Greg Roberts -please read it! (I haven't though :wink: )

My favorite novel is Angela's Ashes and the sequel 'Tis both by Frank McCourt. Really funny, this guy, you know. Might be sensitive to some about how it mocks Catholicism, though.

#6 Bo

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 06:25 AM

Some books of Gerrit Krol have been translated to english. If you ever see one; buy it. that is if you like literature, and science. He writes what i would call 'mathematical literature', not that his subjects have anything to do with science, but his way of writing is the same as my thoughts go, when working on mathematical problems (ok this is vague, but i don't know a better way to explain....) (see e.g. http://netherlands.p...wolk/view/15671 or http://www.nlpvf.nl/...hp?Author_ID=16)

Bo

#7 Tormod

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 06:51 AM

Talking about mathematics...I liked Mario Livio's book "The Golden Ratio : The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number". Very entertaining as well as educational.

#8 Stargazer

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 07:36 AM

Science Fiction:
Contact - Carl Sagan
Rama and the Space Odyssey series - Arthur C. Clarke

Non-Fiction:
Most anything by Carl Sagan, including Broca's Brain, Cosmos and Demonhaunted world
Three Roads to Quantum Gravity - Lee Smolin
The Collapsing Universe - Isaac Asimov

#9 Freethinker

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 09:30 AM

From the other direction, there was a book mentioned on this site a few months back. I can not find the post. It was a book with (if memory serves) three historical people's names, such as Einstein, Bach and Plato or such. It was highly recommended and I wanted to pick it up/ ask for it. But can't find it.

Any help?

As to reccomendations

Paul Kurtz, Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?

Anything Sagan, but Demon Haunted World is a MUST read.

And one of my most reccomended books of all times

The Final Superstition: A Critical Evaluation of the Judeo-Christian Legacy Joseph Daleiden

http://josephdaleiden.com/work3.htm

#10 Tormod

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 09:45 AM

It was a book with (if memory serves) three historical people's names, such as Einstein, Bach and Plato or such. It was highly recommended and I wanted to pick it up/ ask for it. But can't find it.


Ah, ya, it's called Encyclopaedia or something. :wink:

#11 Freethinker

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 04:12 PM

Erg, your not helping!

#12 Aki

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 12:39 AM

I know I'm getting Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. I've been looking for it in the library, but it's ALWAYS out.

#13 TINNY

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 12:54 AM

I find it so difficult to understand these books on science. Even more so if it's cosmology and astronomy. how come you young prodigies can read it like comic books? makes me jealous.

#14 Tormod

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 05:56 AM

I find it so difficult to understand these books on science. Even more so if it's cosmology and astronomy. how come you young prodigies can read it like comic books? makes me jealous.


If you read them you will see, Tinny. They're written for people like us.

Here are some more stuff I'd like to recommend:

Carl Sagan: Cosmos - the TV series (on DVD). Expensive but a must for anyone who remembers the original series (and wonder where Brian Greene learned his TV skills)

Julie Fenster: Ether Day (the discovery of anaesthetics)

Martin Rees: Our Cosmic Habitat (about how we study the universe)

Amir Aczel: Entanglement - The Greatest Mystery in Physics

Simon Winchester: The Map That Changed The World (about the birth of the science of geology)

Simon Winchester: Krakatoa - the day the world exploded (a chilling book about the greatest volcanic eruption in modern times)

#15 TINNY

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 07:32 PM

If you read them you will see, Tinny. They're written for people like us.

I know that you know; and you know that I know, that WE are NOT on the same level. ;)

#16 DivineNathicana

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 09:59 PM

TINNY, Tormod is right. I'm 15 right now. Do you think they teach me this stuff in high school? Of course not! They teach me useless boring stuff, like how to build a chair. I learned everything I know from these books, which means that I started reading them with zero knowledge of the topic. It's not like any of us just picked up Einstein's papers and understood them right away! In fact, many of us (like myself) still don't get his equations. However, we are working on it, by reading and learning more.

The books are written for the average reader... And most don't even use math! Like Brain Greene. I strongly suggest his books because they were easy to follow and had NO MATH (which I'm not particularly good at).

Happy reading = )

#17 Aki

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 11:10 PM

I find it so difficult to understand these books on science. Even more so if it's cosmology and astronomy. how come you young prodigies can read it like comic books? makes me jealous.


They're not hard at all to read. They are written for beginners, and they don't expect you to know relativity.