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If I had the time I wish I could read most of the books you've listed here. Sigh, college life doesn't leave room for any extra-reading.

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth by Paul Hoffman

My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos by Bruce Schechter

The Murderous Maths series of books by Kjartan Poskitt
The Horrible Science series of books by Nick Arnold

The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim
The Story of Science: Newton at the Center by Joy Hakim
The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension by Joy Hakim

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

Descartes' Dream: The World According to Mathematics by Philip J. Davis & Reuben Hersch

A Tour of the Calculus by David Berlinski

any book by Theoni Pappas

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures by Malba Tahan

From your list, I've read all of these:

4. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
5. Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney
7. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes
18. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
21. The Code Book, Simon Singh
27. *Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
37. Flatland, Edward Abbott
51. Neuromancer, William Gibson
57. The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
70. From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne
72. Chaos, James Gleick
74. The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky

In addition, I might add a few to the list:

Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh
The Emperor's New Mind, Roger Penrose
Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, John Derbyshire
Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

For Feynman there's a recent hardback that contained both Surely You're Joking and What Do You Care What Other People Think? which is a really good deal. Also, depending on the age of the granddaughter, if she's really interested in physics I'd highly recommend Feynman's QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. This book really shows Feynman's genius as a teacher. He explains the theory of quantum electrodynamics using no more math than an average high school student should understand. There are basically no equations in the entire book. It's really not a Pop-Sci book as such, but I honestly don't think that Feynman would have been offended for it to be included on the list.

Oh, and I'd also probably want to add at least one of the books from Martin Gardner's 'Mathematical Games' series. They're excellent reading, containing his columns from Scientific American back when it was a science magazine and not a political advocacy one.

I've read The Demon-Haunted World, Stiff, Teaching a Stone to Talk, and, um, most of The Language Instinct.

I'd add to the list: Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals, by Frans de Waal, and The Ape and the Sushi Master, by Frans de Waal.
Also, The Variety of Life, by Colin Tudge. Contains a good rundown of cladistics.
If we're including Annie Dillard (and why not, though her theological musings may be off-putting to some,) how about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek?

Here's 25 more from me, too:

Master of the science essay at a turning point in history
Thomas Huxley-Method and Results- Essays

On the subject of bio books, I thought Gleick's "Genius" was really good and "A Beautiful Mind" is a classic. Beyond that, I thought Steven Strogatz's "Sync" was excellent.

How about Oliver Sachs? Not physics/math kind of science, but very popular...

Good job, Jen. I'd add
Beak of the Finch, Richard Weiner
The Selfish Gene, Dawkins
The Coming Plague, Laurie Garrett
QED, Richard Feynman
The Moral Animal, Robert Wright
Man's Place in Nature, Thomas Huxley
The Myth of Monogamy, Barash and Liptin
The Evolution of Religion , Edward Caird
The Astonishing Hypothesis, Francis Crick
Consilience, E.O. Wilson
Phantoms in the Brain, Ramachandran

Some non-physics suggestions:
"Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sachs is awesome.
You should read "Basin and Range" and "Assembling California" by John McPhee, preferably before the next earthquake.
"Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams.

Nice list! I would add, "Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened," by Chris Turney. I also suggest, "The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science," by Robert Crease (i.e. the other book about 'beautiful experiments').

Oh, I missed Lab Lemming's recommendation of "Last Chance to See." Highly seconded!

Thank you for compiling this list of books. This is by far the most exhaustive list of general physics literature available.
I would add
The character of Physical Law, Feynman
even if it might scare the layman.

I just posted a list with about 40+ more at A hearty second to these posted earlier in this string:

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth by Paul Hoffman

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry

Oh my gosh, I need to get reading. To the collected lists I'll add:

The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus, Owen Gingerich (more a history of science, but wonderfully researched & written)
The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction, David Quammen
Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind, David Quammen
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, Richard Dawkins
The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, Charles Wohlforth

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, by Richard Feynman
The Character of Physical Law, by Richard Feynman
The Cartoon Guide/Cartoon History series by Larry Gonick and co-authors
Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery, by Isaac Asimov
Atom, by Isaac Asimov
The Book of Numbers, by John Conway and Richard Guy
Connections, by James Burke

I'm midway through Douglas Hofstadter's I Am A Strange Loop, and I'm enjoying it much more than Godel, Escher, Bach. I mean, I'm motivated to finish this one, when I never bothered to go all the way through the other. The recent anthology edited by Dawkins, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, has many strong selections, although it's pretty heavy on biology and physics.


I certainly don't read enough science books, but ones that I'd add:

The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes
both Guns Germs and Steel and The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond
anything by Bruno Latour
The Science of the Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen

(I almost missed that The Language Instinct was on your list and was going to tentatively suggest it since I wasn't sure if the subject matter was suitably scientific, guess my question's been answered!)

@Ken -- I just read Gingerich's "The Book That Nobody Read" last week! What an amazing career he has had. And a great suggestion.

I offer a healthy serving of space books for el listo by referencing this post:

If Neuromancer made it, I'd also include:

* Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

When I was in junior high school, being an avid science fiction fan led me to a series of books that had a huge impact on my life -- "popular science" books written by Issac Asimov. I'm pretty sure they were out of print when I was reading them -- I found most of them at a used book store I used to frequent -- but they were terrific! He did a number of them on a wide variety of science topics, and I remember they were engaging, clear without being sophomoric, and fun to read. If I could find them again I'd love to have a set for my daughter -- and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone!

Newton's "Principia" is indeed anything but popular but you could have included his "Optics" which is a great read and is regarded as a classic of English literature. As a lady I'm surprised that you didn't include Patricia Fara's "Pandora's Breeches: Women: Science and Power in the Enlightenment". Equally good on demolishing the solitary genius myth is Clifford D. Conner's "A People's History of Science. Miners, Midwives and 'Low Mechanicks'".Two great reads are Matthew Cobb's "The Egg & Sperm Race: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth" and Peter Gallison's "Einstein's Clocks and Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time". Last but not least, and I could go on for hours, is an absolute classic Jacob Bronowski's "The Ascent of Man".

Since TrackBack seems to be comprehensively broken, here's a manual ping:

Great list. I'd add these:
Woman: An Intimate Geography, by Natalie Angier (biology)
The Power of Babel, by John McWhorter (linguistics)
Genes, Peoples, and Languages, by Luca Cavalli-Sforza (the controversial intersection of biology and linguistics!)
The Decipherment of Linear B, by John Chadwick (little-known but excellent linguistic mystery/novel/biography)

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    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
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      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
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      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
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      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
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      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.