From Cocktail Party Physics, via Pharyngula comes another book meme, this one about popular science books. The rules are:

  1. Highlight those you’ve read in full
  2. Asterisk those you intend to read
  3. Add any additional popular science books you think belong on the list
  4. Link back to the great pop-sci book project

  1. Micrographia, Robert Hooke
  2. The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin
  3. Never at Rest, Richard Westfall
  4. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
  5. Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney
  6. The Devil’s Doctor, Philip Ball
  7. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes
  8. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, Dennis Overbye
  9. Physics for Entertainment, Yakov Perelman
  10. 1-2-3 Infinity, George Gamow
  11. The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
  12. Warmth Disperses, Time Passes, Hans Christian von Bayer
  13. Alice in Quantumland, Robert Gilmore
  14. Where Does the Weirdness Go? David Lindley
  15. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
  16. A Force of Nature, Richard Rhodes
  17. Black Holes and Time Warps, Kip Thorne
  18. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
  19. Universal Foam, Sidney Perkowitz
  20. Vermeer’s Camera, Philip Steadman
  21. The Code Book, Simon Singh
  22. The Elements of Murder, John Emsley
  23. Soul Made Flesh, Carl Zimmer
  24. Time’s Arrow, Martin Amis
  25. The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson
  26. Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman
  27. Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
  28. The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, Lisa Jardine
  29. A Matter of Degrees, Gino Segre
  30. The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss
  31. E=mc², David Bodanis
  32. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife
  33. Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman
  34. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, Janna Levin
  35. Warped Passages, Lisa Randall
  36. Apollo’s Fire, Michael Sims
  37. Flatland, Edward Abbott
  38. Fermat’s Last Theorem, Amir Aczel
  39. Stiff, Mary Roach
  40. Astroturf, M.G. Lord
  41. The Periodic Table, Primo Levi
  42. Longitude, Dava Sobel
  43. The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg
  44. The Mummy Congress, Heather Pringle
  45. The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio
  46. Math and the Mona Lisa, Bulent Atalay
  47. This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin
  48. The Executioner’s Current, Richard Moran
  49. Krakatoa, Simon Winchester
  50. Pythagorus’ Trousers, Margaret Wertheim
  51. Neuromancer, William Gibson
  52. The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios
  53. The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, Sandra Hempel
  54. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Katrina Firlik
  55. Einstein’s Clocks and Poincare’s Maps, Peter Galison
  56. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
  57. The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
  58. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker
  59. An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears
  60. Consilience, E.O. Wilson
  61. Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould
  62. Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard
  63. Fire in the Brain, Ronald K. Siegel
  64. The Life of a Cell, Lewis Thomas
  65. Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris
  66. Storm World, Chris Mooney
  67. The Carbon Age, Eric Roston
  68. The Black Hole Wars, Leonard Susskind
  69. Copenhagen, Michael Frayn
  70. From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne
  71. Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson
  72. Chaos, James Gleick
  73. Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos
  74. The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky
  75. Subtle is the Lord, Abraham Pais

PZ Meyers felt there wasn’t enough biology and so added these:

  1. Basin and Range, John McPhee
  2. Beak of the Finch, Jonathan Weiner
  3. Chance and Necessity, Jacques Monod
  4. Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation, Olivia Judson
  5. Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Sean Carroll
  6. Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, Carl Zimmer
  7. Genome, Matt Ridley
  8. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
  9. It Ain’t Necessarily So, Richard Lewontin
  10. On Growth and Form, D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
  11. Phantoms in the Brain, VS Ramachandran
  12. The Ancestor’s Tale, Richard Dawkins
  13. The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution, Elisabeth Lloyd
  14. The Eighth Day of Creation, Horace Freeland Judson
  15. The Great Devonian Controversy, Martin Rudwick
  16. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Oliver Sacks
  17. The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould
  18. The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment, Richard Lewontin
  19. Time, Love, Memory, Jonathan Weiner
  20. Voyaging and The Power of Place, Janet Browne
  21. Woman: An Intimate Geography, Natalie Angier

And I’ll chuck in a few suggestions of my own to bring it to a round one hundred.

  1. Cosmos, Carl Sagan
  2. Life: An Unauthorized Biography, Richard Fortey
  3. The Dinosaur Heresies, Robert T. Bakker

No Comments

  1. JackP says:

    Neuromancer? Popular science? Shirley some missteak? We’re not that short of decent quality science books that we need to throw in a few fiction ones just to fill up the numbers, are we?

    I’m also surprised there’s no place for The Extended Phenotype, which I think is one of Dawkins’ best. Or ‘The Selfish Gene’. But what about stuff like ‘Faster’, ‘The Tipping Point’, ‘A Briefer History of Time’ (actually readable!), or indeed some of the more speculative stuff, like ‘The Never Ending Days of Being Dead’ or ‘The Universe Next Door’. Fascinating, and not fiction…

  2. Steve Pugh says:

    I know what you mean, however the line between science-fiction and popular-science is not always clear cut. What about “Flatland”? How about “The Science of Discworld”?

    The originator of the meme says the list contains “a few notable fictional works that have a history of inspiring present and future scientists”.

    “Neuromancer” is still an odd choice, because its version of cyberspace was a very unlikely prediction even in the mid-1980s!

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