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Old 01-01-2010, 12:15 AM   #76
BTirish
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Leisure, the Basis of Culture; Josef Pieper. For a long time this has been my favorite book.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:53 AM   #77
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Are there any layman introductory books on quantum mechanics and super/string theory?
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:57 PM   #78
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

hardball...elegant universe and fabric of the cosmos by brian greene...
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:06 PM   #79
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

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hardball...elegant universe and fabric of the cosmos by brian greene...
Ty.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:09 PM   #80
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

BBC's The Secret Life of Chaos
Probably one of the most interesting things I've ever seen.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...4F2AE1160FF884

Any books that offer an introduction to this kind of stuff for someone with no more than high school math?
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:28 PM   #81
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik W View Post
This one is amazing but very technical.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Roa...f_the_Universe
Quote:
Originally Posted by thylacine View Post
Agreed.
I've been reading this for the past 2 weeks on recommendation of this thread and I gotta say...its starting to really kick my ass. I'm the type of guy who learns best through illustrative examples and Penrose is stingy with them. Even his examples are a bit esoteric and abstract. I'm really enjoying the book, but I feel like I'm only understanding about 10% of it.

Still havent gotten through the math primer part of it, though, so maybe it gets easier? Thats probably wishful thinking. Maybe this book is just for those with a stronger math background than me.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:43 PM   #82
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is an unavoidable classic. It explains how all sorts of things, especially scientific inquiry, do not progress steadily, incrementally. Knowledge has periodic revolutions of growth, not smooth evolution. http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Scie...4437403&sr=8-1

The Sacred Depths of Nature is a favorite of mine. It argues that humans are wired to ponder the sublime, and that nature and science are appropriates choices for sacralization if you lack religious faith. http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Depths-...8&sr=1-1-spell
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:11 PM   #83
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre takes a shot as sudo-scientific claptrap, such as homeopathy. It's well worth a read.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Science-...4554603&sr=1-1
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:33 PM   #84
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

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I've been reading this for the past 2 weeks on recommendation of this thread and I gotta say...its starting to really kick my ass.
Yeah, with that book I don't think it's enough to just be an intelligent, patient reader. You prob need detailed experience with the relevant math.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:35 PM   #85
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

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Yeah, with that book I don't think it's enough to just be an intelligent, patient reader. You prob need detailed experience with the relevant math.
Yeah, I think so. At the very least, I feel like I need a friend or something who is expert so that I can just have him illustrate a few concepts for me. So for now I'm just sort of forcing my way through, still learning and enjoying it.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:16 PM   #86
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

I paged through that book and read maybe the first eight chapters a while back. I would say my impression of it is that it is written to show logical progression and highlight unity among ideas to those who are already largely familiar with them. I recently acquired the Princeton Companion to Mathematics, and in the introduction there was a comment that in the editor's opinion Road to Reality was the closest analogue he could think of in the physical sciences to his goals for the Companion (which looks like a pretty sweet book but I haven't dipped into it yet.)
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:20 PM   #87
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

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I paged through that book and read maybe the first eight chapters a while back. I would say my impression of it is that it is written to show logical progression and highlight unity among ideas to those who are already largely familiar with them. I recently acquired the Princeton Companion to Mathematics, and in the introduction there was a comment that in the editor's opinion Road to Reality was the closest analogue he could think of in the physical sciences to his goals for the Companion (which looks like a pretty sweet book but I haven't dipped into it yet.)
Well, from where I'm sitting it hardly seems like an analogue, at least through Ch. 14.
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:47 PM   #88
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Gotta recommed Snake Oil Science by bausell. It's nominally about alternative medicine, and fairly scathing in it's treatment thereof, but really it's about how one shoul properly do science and the pitfalls o medical research. Guy is brilliant and clear and honest.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:01 AM   #89
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Thinking about giving this a go. Anyone read it?

The Web of Life: A new Scientific Understanding of Living Systems by Fritjof Capra

He's author of the popular book Tao of Physics which I haven't read either.
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:42 AM   #90
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik W View Post
This one is amazing but very technical.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Roa...f_the_Universe
When you say very technical, do you think an undergraduate physics student who has completed both halves of undergraduate QM and E&M courses as well as an undergraduate GR course could meander his way through this book?

Since I'm posting this I will leave a suggestion even though I mostly read fiction.

For those wanting a lighter introduction to Nietzsche then Zarathustra I enjoyed On the Genealogy of Morality. For some truly bizarre (in my opinion of course) philosophy that I nonetheless found thought provoking look no further than Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.

I also echo many of the above of course.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:13 AM   #91
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

My brother loaded a ton of PDF's on my laptop. Some of them have been mentioned itt. Has anybody read any of these 3?

A Brief History of Nearly Everything, Bryson
The Ethics of Killing, McMahan
Why Sex Matters, Low

Lemme know if any are worthwhile.
Oh right keep in mind I'm a layperson.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:10 PM   #92
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Bryson's Brief history is great for sweeping overview of alot of science and history of science, awesome, well worth the read.
Havent read the rest.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:42 PM   #93
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

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Bryson's Brief history is great for sweeping overview of alot of science and history of science, awesome, well worth the read.
Havent read the rest.
Yes I'm almost done with this book. Very well written.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:28 AM   #94
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

2 excellent maths books (readable by maths nerds and non maths nerds alike)

Music of The Primes by Marcos du Satuoy
Fermat's Last Theorem by Andrew Wiles

1 AutobiographyThe Strangest Man (Paul Dirac) by Graham Farmelo

Biography on some of the best work by Leonhard Euler (a bit maths this one but amazing)
Leonhard Euler: The master of us all by William Dunham

Popular Science Book
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:47 PM   #95
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Meh, I thought Bryson's book was a little middle-school for my taste.

Anyone read/have any opinion on The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life by Len Fisher? Pretty new I think. Nature had a review this week, but not much to it.
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:11 PM   #96
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Science:
Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:45 AM   #97
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

I finished The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? by Leon Lederman not too long ago.

In the physics department, it was a little basic for me, but it was an awesome read. Lederman does a good job mixing humor and science.

Highly recommended.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:56 PM   #98
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Got The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God for $3.99 at Borders. Can't go wrong with Sagan. Based on his 1985 Gifford Lectures.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:37 PM   #99
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions
By Lisa Randall, one of the top theoretical physicists.
The author does a great job of explaining the perplexing queries about our universe that modern scientists deal with these days.

From the New Yorker:
"Randall, a professor of physics at Harvard, offers a tour of current questions in particle physics, string theory, and cosmology, paying particular attention to the thesis that more physical dimensions exist than are usually acknowledged. Writing for a general audience, Randall is patient and kind: she encourages readers to skip around in the text, corrals mathematical equations in an appendix at the back, and starts off each chapter with an allegorical story, in a manner recalling the work of George Gamow. Although the subject itself is intractably difficult to follow, the exuberance of Randall's narration is appealing. She's honest about the limits of the known, and almost revels in the uncertainties that underlie her work—including the possibility that some day it may all be proved wrong."
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:32 PM   #100
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Re: Book "Gems" for SMP

Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (2003), by John Derbyshire

Deals with the history, math, and implications of the Riemann Hypothesis. You don't need a high-level math background to appreciate the book.
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