Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays

Stephen Hawking - 1993
    13 extraordinary essays shed new light on the mysteries of the universe & on one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time.In his phenomenal bestseller A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking literally transformed the way we think about physics, the universe, reality itself. In these thirteen essays and one remarkable extended interview, the man widely regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein returns to reveal an amazing array of possibilities for understanding our universe. Building on his earlier work, Hawking discusses imaginary time, how black holes can give birth to baby universes, and scientists’ efforts to find a complete unified theory that would predict everything in the universe. With his characteristic mastery of language, his sense of humor and commitment to plain speaking, Stephen Hawking invites us to know him better—and to share his passion for the voyage of intellect and imagination that has opened new ways to understanding the very nature of the cosmos.

Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy

Kip S. Thorne - 1994
    In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know? Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component.

The Science Class You Wish You Had

David Eliot Brody - 1997
    For everyone interested in science, history and biographies of extraordinary people - or anyone who wants to understand the workings of the physical world - this thorough and authoritative book is a perfect introduction to science's most profound discoveries, and a testament to the triumph of human knowledge.

Why Does E=mc²? (And Why Should We Care?)

Brian Cox - 2009
    Breaking down the symbols themselves, they pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass? In answering these questions, they take us to the site of one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted. Lying beneath the city of Geneva, straddling the Franco-Swiss boarder, is a 27 km particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider. Using this gigantic machine—which can recreate conditions in the early Universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang—Cox and Forshaw will describe the current theory behind the origin of mass.Alongside questions of energy and mass, they will consider the third, and perhaps, most intriguing element of the equation: 'c' - or the speed of light. Why is it that the speed of light is the exchange rate? Answering this question is at the heart of the investigation as the authors demonstrate how, in order to truly understand why E=mc2, we first must understand why we must move forward in time and not backwards and how objects in our 3-dimensional world actually move in 4-dimensional space-time. In other words, how the very fabric of our world is constructed. A collaboration between two of the youngest professors in the UK, Why Does E=mc2? promises to be one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of the theory of relativity in recent years.

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

Michio Kaku - 2011
    The result is the most authoritative and scientifically accurate description of the revolutionary developments taking place in medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy production, and astronautics.In all likelihood, by 2100 we will control computers via tiny brain sensors and, like magicians, move objects around with the power of our minds. Artificial intelligence will be dispersed throughout the environment, and Internet-enabled contact lenses will allow us to access the world's information base or conjure up any image we desire in the blink of an eye.Meanwhile, cars will drive themselves using GPS, and if room-temperature superconductors are discovered, vehicles will effortlessly fly on a cushion of air, coasting on powerful magnetic fields and ushering in the age of magnetism.Using molecular medicine, scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases. Millions of tiny DNA sensors and nanoparticles patrolling our blood cells will silently scan our bodies for the first sign of illness, while rapid advances in genetic research will enable us to slow down or maybe even reverse the aging process, allowing human life spans to increase dramatically.In space, radically new ships—needle-sized vessels using laser propulsion—could replace the expensive chemical rockets of today and perhaps visit nearby stars. Advances in nanotechnology may lead to the fabled space elevator, which would propel humans hundreds of miles above the earth's atmosphere at the push of a button.But these astonishing revelations are only the tip of the iceberg. Kaku also discusses emotional robots, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life-forms, and he considers the development of the world economy. He addresses the key questions: Who are the winner and losers of the future? Who will have jobs, and which nations will prosper?All the while, Kaku illuminates the rigorous scientific principles, examining the rate at which certain technologies are likely to mature, how far they can advance, and what their ultimate limitations and hazards are. Synthesizing a vast amount of information to construct an exciting look at the years leading up to 2100, Physics of the Future is a thrilling, wondrous ride through the next 100 years of breathtaking scientific revolution. (From the Hardcover Edition)(Duration: 15:39:15)

Einstein's Universe

Nigel Calder - 1979
    It far surpasses any previous explanation of Relativity for laypersons.

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

Sean Carroll - 2009
    In the hands of one of today’s hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself, a period modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though, physicists are going out into realms that make the theory of relativity seem like child’s play. Carroll’s scenario is not only elegant, it’s laid out in the same easy-to- understand language that has made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most popular physics blog on the Net. From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of spacetime before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction. It’s an ambitious, fascinating picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale, one that will captivate fans of popular physics blockbusters like Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.

When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought

Jim Holt - 2018
    With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites us to consider why the greatest logician of the twentieth century believed the U.S. Constitution contained a terrible contradiction--and whether the universe truly has a future.

Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

Albert Einstein - 1916
    Having just completed his masterpiece, The General Theory of Relativity—which provided a brand-new theory of gravity and promised a new perspective on the cosmos as a whole—he set out at once to share his excitement with as wide a public as possible in this popular and accessible book.Here published for the first time as a Penguin Classic, this edition of Relativity features a new introduction by bestselling science author Nigel Calder.

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

Richard P. Feynman - 1985
    QED--the edited version of four lectures on quantum electrodynamics that Feynman gave to the general public at UCLA as part of the Alix G. Mautner Memorial Lecture series--is perhaps the best example of his ability to communicate both the substance and the spirit of science to the layperson.The focus, as the title suggests, is quantum electrodynamics (QED), the part of the quantum theory of fields that describes the interactions of the quanta of the electromagnetic field-light, X rays, gamma rays--with matter and those of charged particles with one another. By extending the formalism developed by Dirac in 1933, which related quantum and classical descriptions of the motion of particles, Feynman revolutionized the quantum mechanical understanding of the nature of particles and waves. And, by incorporating his own readily visualizable formulation of quantum mechanics, Feynman created a diagrammatic version of QED that made calculations much simpler and also provided visual insights into the mechanisms of quantum electrodynamic processes.In this book, using everyday language, spatial concepts, visualizations, and his renowned "Feynman diagrams" instead of advanced mathematics, Feynman successfully provides a definitive introduction to QED for a lay readership without any distortion of the basic science. Characterized by Feynman's famously original clarity and humor, this popular book on QED has not been equaled since its publication.

The Case for Mars

Robert Zubrin - 1996
    The planet most like ours, it has still been thought impossible to reach, let alone explore and inhabit.Now with the advent of a revolutionary new plan, all this has changed. leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin has crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct, presented here with illustrations, photographs, and engaging anecdotes.The Case for Mars is not a vision for the far future or one that will cost us impossible billions. It explains step-by-step how we can use present-day technology to send humans to Mars within ten years; actually produce fuel and oxygen on the planet's surface with Martian natural resources; how we can build bases and settlements; and how we can one day "terraform" Mars--a process that can alter the atmosphere of planets and pave the way for sustainable life.

Chaos: Making a New Science

James Gleick - 1987
    From Edward Lorenz’s discovery of the Butterfly Effect, to Mitchell Feigenbaum’s calculation of a universal constant, to Benoit Mandelbrot’s concept of fractals, which created a new geometry of nature, Gleick’s engaging narrative focuses on the key figures whose genius converged to chart an innovative direction for science. In Chaos, Gleick makes the story of chaos theory not only fascinating but also accessible to beginners, and opens our eyes to a surprising new view of the universe.


Piers Bizony - 2004
    Its tale is one riddled with jealousy, rivalry, missed opportunities and moments of genius. Piers Bizony tells the story of the young misfit New Zealander, Ernest Rutherford, who showed that the atom consisted mainly of empty space, a discovery that turned 200 years of classical physics on its head, and the brilliant Dane, Niels Bohr, who made the next great leap into the incredible world of quantum theory. Yet he and a handful of other Young Turks in this revolutionary new science weren't prepared for the shocks that Nature had up her sleeve. At the dawn of the Atomic Age, a dangerous new force was unleashed with terrifying speed...

Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Carl Sagan - 1977
    Dr Carl Sagan takes us on a great reading adventure, offering his vivid and startling insights into the brains of humans & beasts, the origin of human intelligence, the function of our most haunting legends and their amazing links to recent discoveries.

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Neil deGrasse Tyson - 2006
    "One of today's best popularizers of science." —Kirkus Reviews.Loyal readers of the monthly "Universe" essays in Natural History magazine have long recognized Neil deGrasse Tyson's talent for guiding them through the mysteries of the cosmos with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. Here, Tyson compiles his favorite essays across a myriad of cosmic topics. The title essay introduces readers to the physics of black holes by explaining the gory details of what would happen to your body if you fell into one. "Holy Wars" examines the needless friction between science and religion in the context of historical conflicts. "The Search for Life in the Universe" explores astral life from the frontiers of astrobiology. And "Hollywood Nights" assails the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its night skies right. Known for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while simultaneously sharing his infectious excitement about our universe.