Two Plus Two Publishing LLC Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Notices

Science, Math, and Philosophy Discussions regarding science, math, and/or philosophy.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-02-2009, 04:27 AM   #1
Zeno
Le Misanthrope
 
Zeno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Spitsbergen
Posts: 14,451
Book "Gems" for SMP

It would be useful, in my opinion, to have a general list of books that many here would consider 'Gems'. In this I mean books that deal with science, math, or philosophy that can inspire, explain, and otherwise be interesting and worthwhile to not just specialists but any intelligent layman. Of these, I am not just referring to books that popularize a particular subject but others also that tend to explore new things in themselves. Of course this is not to downplay such gems as say, A Brief History of Time.

To start the universe from nothing, I will mention a few books as much for example as to begin to populate the void:

Relativity The Special and the General Theory, by Albert Einstein

A Mathematician’s Apology, by G. H. Hardy

The Story of Philosophy, by Will Durant

What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger (this real gem of a book has an epilogue titled 'Determinism and Free Will' which is a wonderful Ferris wheel ride of thought).

If others take this seriously and add to it, I suppose it may be worthy of being a sticky. But that will depend on how this thread evolves.

I encourge all to participate and add their own suggestions of 'Gems'.

-Zeno
Zeno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 05:38 AM   #2
Piers
veteran
 
Piers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,450
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Gödel, Escher, Bach an eternal golden braid: Douglas Hofstadter. – Not to be missed. Has been recommended by others here.

Ending Aging: Aubrey de Grey with Michael Rae –A little biology would help. I must admit I find his method of curing cancer just a little scary.

The Mathematical Experience: Philip Davis, Reuben Herch. - In the style of Hofstadter's classic.

Last edited by Piers; 03-02-2009 at 05:43 AM.
Piers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 11:31 AM   #3
gumpzilla
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
gumpzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 13,973
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piers View Post
Gödel, Escher, Bach
The Mathematical Experience
These are both very solid choices.

Some others that I've particularly liked:

The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins

The Evolution of Cooperation, Robert Axelrod

Proofs and Refutations, Imre Lakatos
gumpzilla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
jason1990
old hand
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,876
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Gödel's Proof, Ernest Nagel, James R. Newman
jason1990 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
LongLiveYorke
grinder
 
LongLiveYorke's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 527
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, by Richard Feynman.
LongLiveYorke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 03:02 PM   #6
lastcardcharlie
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
lastcardcharlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: QED, I think
Posts: 7,335
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Engines of Logic by Martin Davis.
lastcardcharlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 04:03 PM   #7
Roland32
veteran
 
Roland32's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: out of position
Posts: 3,010
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Well here is a few of the more obvious:

Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking

On the Shoulders of Giants Ed. Stephen Hawking

Origin of Species Charles Darwin
Roland32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 04:06 PM   #8
Siegmund
Pooh-Bah
 
Siegmund's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,105
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Another very readable classic, for someone who has some basic math under his belt anyway: Mandelbrot's Fractal Geometry of Nature.

Emphasizing the layman's side, with almost no technical content at all, maybe Rudy Rucker's The Fourth Dimension -- and, of course, the ancient classic that inspired it, Flatland.
Siegmund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 04:11 PM   #9
Roland32
veteran
 
Roland32's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: out of position
Posts: 3,010
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Elegant Universe Brian Greene

The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins
Roland32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 05:00 PM   #10
Fancy Pants
grinder
 
Fancy Pants's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Tied to a stick
Posts: 569
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Metamagical Themas is another excellent Hofstadter book, if you've already read Goedel, Escher, Bach.

I also like The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker.

For an excellent history of math and a good 2 weeks of straight reading, get The World of Mathematics by James R, Newman. Many of the essays were written when mathematicians were still struggling with the implications of the early 20th century discoveries in foundations of their science and you really get a sense of the excitement this was causing. Don't be put off by the date of publication. If you pick up one of these volumes, you won't be able to stop yourself from reading all four!*

*offer only valid for SMP
Fancy Pants is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2009, 05:14 PM   #11
Phone Booth
veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,302
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Quote:
Originally Posted by gumpzilla View Post
The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland32 View Post
The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins
Also, The Extended Phenotype, probably not as widely read as the other two, but IMO, most interesting of the three.
Phone Booth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2009, 01:55 AM   #12
Hardball47
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: BET FLOP
Posts: 12,937
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Fiction, but still good:

The Last Question, by Isaac Asimov.
Hardball47 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2009, 02:16 AM   #13
Zeno
Le Misanthrope
 
Zeno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Spitsbergen
Posts: 14,451
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

The Demon-Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan. Not especially profound but it is an excellent defense of Science and Reason and Skepticism and is well written in an engaging style - A sober book for these un-sober times.

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, by David Hume. The great empiricist at his succint best. A shorter work than his other tomes and more easily digested.

The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, by that old aristocratic codger. This book offers a broad range of subjects covering science, philosophy, mathematics, logic and societal implications of each and branches into morals, ethics, religion, history, and other diverse topics. Russell is always lucid and interesting even when you disagree, and the essays are not as dated as some would think. If this book is too much Russell for some, then I suggest the short Unpopular Essays, as worthy of an afternoon's reading.

I will mention two other works that may seem out of place but do delve into the world of philosophy and life, and I think are worthy of attention by the SMP crowd: The Mediations by Marcus Aurelius and Letters from a Stoic, by Seneca. It is not just that these two books contain an ample balance of philosophical speculation, wisdom and sound advice; they are great works of prose literature, a fact too often under appreciated by many people. In addition, these works put a perspective on our Western Heritage and mode of thought. And offer a reflective pause to the temper of a hurried and impatient world - So much for my recommendations of a philosophic nature.

-Zeno
Zeno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2009, 12:08 PM   #14
fivefingers
newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: malta
Posts: 46
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Darwin´s Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett (all his books are worth reading however, except maybe his book on religion)

The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (also take a look at The Origins of Virtue)

Before The Dawn by Nicholas Wade (best book out there on human evolution)
fivefingers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2009, 07:09 AM   #15
teh_mewse
adept
 
teh_mewse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,026
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

There have been a lot of book threads lately, I think a sticky here would be great Zeno. It would condense the other book threads and fit nicely with the video sticky.

As an aside, I'd like to thank everyone for their incredible recommendations and enough reading to last me a lifetime. Over the past few months, I've scoured these book threads and bought roughly 65 books from amazon. It is a collection which will grow and I will have until my dying day. Even though I have only read 2 of the books so far, every time I pass my bookshelf I'm consumed with a mixture of excitement and intimidation.

I'm extremely happy that as a poker player I've spent roughly 1k on some of the most insightful books ever written instead of something like a watch.

Some of those watches are pretty balla though.

edit- Oh yeah and my recommendation is very popular but i'll list is here anyways.

The End of Faith by Sam Harris
teh_mewse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2009, 11:58 AM   #16
David Steele
adept
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,043
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch

http://www.amazon.com/Fabric-Reality.../dp/014027541X

Interesting stuff on the foundations of science as well
as an argument for the many worlds QM model.

The guy is some sort of genius too, see his TED talk on
global warming. I guess he also had something to do
with inventing quantum computing.

D.
David Steele is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2009, 11:25 PM   #17
Zeno
Le Misanthrope
 
Zeno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Spitsbergen
Posts: 14,451
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

I have not read the following work (always wanted to) but it receives universal praise and seems a worthy book to mention, Ants by Bert Hölldobler and E .O. Wilson: http://www.amazon.com/Ants-Bert-H%C3...567870&sr=8-11

From the above link:

"This is the definitive scientific study of one of the most diverse animal groups on earth; pretty well everything that is known about ants is in this massive work. But books do not win Pulitzer Prizes, as this one did in 1991, for exhaustiveness; besides being the last word in science, this work is beautifully written, and accessible to the lay reader. Wilson, of Harvard, and Holldobler of the University of Wurzburg, may inspire a whole new generation of budding entomologists. Every branch of biology is covered, from evolution to taxonomy to physiology to ecology. Lavishly illustrated, it is full of amazing facts, many concerning the incredible social behavior of these creatures. "


Stephen J. Gould should warrant mention so I'll recommend The Richness of Life a compilation of his best essays and other works:

http://www.amazon.com/Richness-Life-...6568349&sr=1-1

I don't have this volume but have read many of Gould's essays and they are packed with information and fun reads. I don't see how you could go wrong on this book.

On a side note, I think I will make this thread a sticky so it doesn't get buried and fossilized. I urge others to make contributions as they see fit for the benefit of all.

-Zeno

Last edited by Zeno; 05-07-2009 at 12:56 AM. Reason: Typo
Zeno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 09:37 AM   #18
oopsIpooped
centurion
 
oopsIpooped's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 138
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

The Cambridge Quintet is a really nice, soft introduction to some basic ideas behind artificial intelligence.
oopsIpooped is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 06:40 PM   #19
vhawk01
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
vhawk01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: GHoFFANMWYD
Posts: 31,866
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeno View Post
I have not read the following work (always wanted to) but it receives universal praise and seems a worth book to mention, Ants by Bert Hölldobler and E .O. Wilson: http://www.amazon.com/Ants-Bert-H%C3...567870&sr=8-11

From the above link:

"This is the definitive scientific study of one of the most diverse animal groups on earth; pretty well everything that is known about ants is in this massive work. But books do not win Pulitzer Prizes, as this one did in 1991, for exhaustiveness; besides being the last word in science, this work is beautifully written, and accessible to the lay reader. Wilson, of Harvard, and Holldobler of the University of Wurzburg, may inspire a whole new generation of budding entomologists. Every branch of biology is covered, from evolution to taxonomy to physiology to ecology. Lavishly illustrated, it is full of amazing facts, many concerning the incredible social behavior of these creatures. "


Stephen J. Gould should warrant mention so I'll recommend The Richness of Life a compilation of his best essays and other works:

http://www.amazon.com/Richness-Life-...6568349&sr=1-1

I don't have this volume but have read many of Gould's essays and they are packed with information and fun reads. I don't see how you could go wrong on this book.

On a side note, I think I will make this thread a sticky so it doesn't get buried and fossilized. I urge others to make contributions as they see fit for the benefit of all.

-Zeno
That book sounds awesome.
vhawk01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2009, 12:56 PM   #20
Zurvan
Retired
 
Zurvan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: On the front porch, yelling at kids
Posts: 32,281
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

The Lightness of Being by Frank Wilczek. A very readable and entertaining look at quantum physics. It was written in the last year, so it's very up to date, and talks about the current state of the theoris, and some about what they expect to find at the LHC.
Zurvan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2009, 06:02 PM   #21
Neverfeltme
grinder
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: This ain't a trick, baby
Posts: 416
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Robert Solomon - Continental Philosophy since 1750: The Rise and Fall of the Self.

I'd highly recommend this, a very engaging study of philosophical movements up until the 1950s. Definitiely a good starting point for anyone a bit lost on the intimidating maps of continental philosophy.
Neverfeltme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2009, 09:04 AM   #22
theBruiser500
banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 10,921
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Spinoza Ethics. First time I have ever used the word god without irony.

The Red Queen. Dense, evolutionary biology.
theBruiser500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2009, 02:31 PM   #23
uDevil
Pooh-Bah
 
uDevil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Cloudless climes and starry skies
Posts: 4,180
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Science:

Thinking Physics: Understandable Practical Reality, by Lewis Carroll Epstein. Quick/fun questions and answers for nonexperts. I especially liked the explanation of magnetism as a consequence of relativistic length contraction.

Vibrations and Waves, by A.P. French.

If you like Richard Feynman's autobiograhical stuff, try Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis. Dude is certifiable.

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan.

Math

Partial Differential Equations for Engineers, Stanley J. Farlow

Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus, by H. M. Schey.

Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem, by Simon Singh and John Lynch.

For mathematical boneheads like me, the following books by Ken Stroud use a programmed approach, which I like very much.

Fourier Series and Harmonic Analysis
Vector Analysis
Laplace Transforms
Complex Variables
Differential Equations
Engineering Mathematics
Further Engineering Mathematics


Philosophy:

A History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell.

Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl.
uDevil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2009, 05:06 AM   #24
MelchyBeau
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
MelchyBeau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Denver or Bust
Posts: 6,043
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Proofs from the BOOK is a very good book with some very good math proofs.
MelchyBeau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2009, 01:53 PM   #25
calm
banned
 
calm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,087
Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Here are all the books listed that I've found posted (legitimately) online.
Hopefully it's useful to some...

Relativity: The General and Special Theory

A Mathematician's Apology

What is Life?

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Origin of Species

Flatland

The Last Question

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

The Meditations

Spinoza's Ethics

History of Western Philosophy
(tons of Bernard Russell's stuff is online, check his Wikipedia for more links)
calm is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.33 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © 2008-2010, Two Plus Two Interactive
 
 
Poker Players - Streaming Live Online