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Thread: Can you advise me on some books to read?

  1. #1 Can you advise me on some books to read? 
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    Hi,

    I am a 17 year old student from the UK and have just broken up for the summer holidays after finishing my AS exams. I am trying to get in to Oxford to read Physics and I would like some advice on what to read over the holiday. So far I have generated a short list of 12 books on Physics:

    Restless Atom by Alfred Sherwood Romer
    One, Two, Three...Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science by George Gamow
    Mr Tompkins: Comprising 'Mr Tompkins in Wonderland' and 'Mr Tompkins Explores the Atom' by George Gamow
    Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
    The Physics of Star Trek by Laurence Krauss
    QED: Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard Phillips Feynman
    Einstein's Mirror by Tony Hey
    The New Quantum Universe by Tony Hey
    The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene
    In Search of Schrodinger's Cat by John Gribbin
    Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: The Quantum Mysteries Solved by John Gribbin

    and a textbook:

    Advanced Physics (Advanced Science S.) by Steve Adams

    So, firstly, are there any good books that I have left out? In addition, are there an in the list that I should leave out? Are there any which cover the same topics, so it would be pointless reading both?

    As I am time limited, which would you recommend reading first?

    I also have realised that most popular books on physics tend to concentrate on the theoretical side (eg. relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory etc.) However, there are a number of sub-departments at Oxford which are not that well represented. Can you recommend me any books that introduce me to the basics of atomic and laser physics, condensed matter physics or particle physics?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore Absane's Avatar
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    How good are you with calculus and comprehending dense material? Good?

    Mathematical Physics By Donald H. Menzel. It's a 15$ Dover book. About 400 pages and covers newtonian physics to e-mag and relativity.

    Equations on every page. Lots of summations, integrals... differentiation.


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  4. #3  
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    Calculus by G.B Thomas and P.Finny is relly interesting. You better read it, you will start loving calclus.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor captaincaveman's Avatar
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    if you havent read em

    the life of the cosmos- lee smolin

    hawkings-brief history and universe in a nutshell are fun

    and an excellent lighter read

    e=mc2 by bodanis, fun book on the history of equation from einstein to hiroshima
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  6. #5 Re: Can you advise me on some books to read? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdave3003
    The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest
    I'm reading this book now, it seems nice so far (Although I already know the physics explained in the beginning).
    "In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite." (Paul Dirac)
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  7. #6  
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    Um you missed you the most important book of our modern age.

    BILL BRYSON's
    SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING


    Well not quite the most important, but it is a good read.
    And for that matter, not entirely on physics, but it has some good
    general knowledge you can impress you oxfordshire friends with.
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  8. #7  
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    'The life of the Cosmos' is supposed to be a great read, my mate picked it up and says it is very interesting.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Professor captaincaveman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nath
    Um you missed you the most important book of our modern age.

    BILL BRYSON's
    SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING


    Well not quite the most important, but it is a good read.
    And for that matter, not entirely on physics, but it has some good
    general knowledge you can impress you oxfordshire friends with.


    thats one of my favourites, got the book and audio book also, love it
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