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Favorite popular science books

  • Jun 14, 2011
I never quite decided if I was going to be a pure mathematician or an applied one. Real scientists have to be applied, or so my husband said. So I guess I must be a fake (or semi-fake) scientist and here's a list of my favorite popular science books--the ones that make real science make sense to people who aren't real scientists.
The Grand Design
"You know there's really eleven dimensions now" said a friend one day. I didn't know, but now I've read The Grand Design I at least know where the idea comes from. Some great illustrations (and pictures), and really fascinating ideas. Wave-particle physics plus much much more.
A Brief History of Time
I read this quite a while ago. Just picked it up off my bookshelf again and can't wait to read it again. It's a history of science as well as of time. It's readable, fascinating, really well illustrated, and Hawking has such a fun sense of humor too, so the science never bogs you down.
The Universe in a Nutshell
Einstein, Star Trek and Hawking. What more could you want?
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of
Read it slowly, a section at a time. Amazing, fascinating... so many creatures, so many histories...
The Greatest Show on Earth
Okay, so he keeps reminding us he doesn't believe in God. But apart from some occasionally unscientific observations about what he doesn't believe, this has to be one of the best books on evolution--makes it make sense, makes you realize how much you didn't know (if like me, you're not a real scientist), makes you see how beautiful it is.
The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence
This one's for anyone who thinks Christians can't believe in evolution. It's also a fascinating story of fascinating discoveries and scientists.
A History of Pi
Well, there's lots of math in science. So I have to include this one. It's the book that told me pi is in the Bible. Not a lot of people know that!
See the full review, "Whoever knew math had so much history".
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition
Memes instead of genes, and selfish in a whole new way. Definitely intriguing.
Godel Escher Bach
So much variety, and it all fits together beautifully
The Mathematical Experience
I read this at college. It made me realize I wasn't mad to love math.
See the full review, "Yes, math really is enthralling".
The Language of Science and Faith: Straight
Very nicely explained science--some wonderful arguments from common experience.
See the full review, "Easy reading, history faith and science".

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June 22, 2011
You make me want to read more science and math books when I see a list like this, or read some of your math/science related reviews. That's rather impressive because I'm scared of those subjects, lol! Great job, Sheila! I can't wait to feature this one in the newsletter. Congrats on being featured on the Lunch homepage too!
June 21, 2011
Great list and congrats on being featured in the homepage message and on the homepage!
June 22, 2011
Thanks for the heads-up. I don't think I've ever been featured before!
June 20, 2011
To my mind, a real mathematician investigates the reasons we can arrive at an answer in every instance. There is an emphasis on proving theorems and investigating the boundaries for solutions. Applied science emphasizes how mathematics can be utilized to solve real world problems faced everyday. Mathematicians should have some exposure to both parts of the spectrum.
About the list creator
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #41
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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