FelixTheKat
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Hello,

I am hoping to study physics or natural sciences for a 2015 entry, and so was looking to do some wider reading over the holidays.

Does anyone have any suggestions for books to read over this period. I was looking particularly at elements not in the a-level specification (eg Chaos theory) or looking at ideas in a more fundamental, or applied setting. However if anyone has any suggestions for books on maths, chemistry or computer science, as well as physics I'd be very grateful.

Thank you
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Joinedup
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(Original post by FelixTheKat)
Hello,

I am hoping to study physics or natural sciences for a 2015 entry, and so was looking to do some wider reading over the holidays.

Does anyone have any suggestions for books to read over this period. I was looking particularly at elements not in the a-level specification (eg Chaos theory) or looking at ideas in a more fundamental, or applied setting. However if anyone has any suggestions for books on maths, chemistry or computer science, as well as physics I'd be very grateful.

Thank you
Are you hoping for more of a pop-sci selection to keep the brain ticking over or first year undergrad text books to start the work early?
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FelixTheKat
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(Original post by Joinedup)
Are you hoping for more of a pop-sci selection to keep the brain ticking over or first year undergrad text books to start the work early?
I was looking for the kind of books which might look good mentioned in a personal statement. So probably books which don't look at it from the perspective of a curriculum.
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Joinedup
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(Original post by FelixTheKat)
I was looking for the kind of books which might look good mentioned in a personal statement. So probably books which don't look at it from the perspective of a curriculum.
a couple of my favourites are...

QED - Richard Feynman
Does god play dice? - Ian Stewart

tbh you'll probably enjoy reading any book by feynman
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AlesanaWill
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I liked John Gribbin's books when I was doing A Level Physics. He's written quite a few. Brian Greene has written 3 books covering a wide range of things like string theory.

Don't buy Roger Penrose's "The Road to Reality" though. I thought it was popular science, but trust me it is not.
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interstitial
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Brian Greene - The Elegant Universe
Roger Penrose - Cycles of Time, The Emperor's New Mind (not quite as maths heavy as TRTR but still pretty challenging tbh)
Michio Kaku - Physics of the Future, Physics of the Impossible, Hyperspace, Beyond Einstein
George Gamow - Mr Tompkins in Paperback
Richard Feynman - Feynman Lectures, QED
John Gribbins - In Search of Schrödinger's Cat
James Gleick - Chaos
Jim Al Khalili - Quantum - A Guide for the Perplexed
Most of the 'A Very Short Introduction' books are also very good

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Claree
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(Original post by FelixTheKat)
Hello,

I am hoping to study physics or natural sciences for a 2015 entry, and so was looking to do some wider reading over the holidays.

Does anyone have any suggestions for books to read over this period. I was looking particularly at elements not in the a-level specification (eg Chaos theory) or looking at ideas in a more fundamental, or applied setting. However if anyone has any suggestions for books on maths, chemistry or computer science, as well as physics I'd be very grateful.

Thank you
Physics
To add to those above: (these are all books I read for the same purpose)
Roger Penrose - don't try reading The Road to Reality (you might have more hope reading this after your degree!! though that said I really enjoyed reading the sections of this book that I could understand), I really enjoyed the Emperor's New Mind; Shadows of the Mind; The Large, the Small and the Human Mind (in brief, they argue why science will never be able to explain/emulate human consciousness, and they also cover areas of compsci as well as maths and physics) - this is what I put on my PS

Feynman - anything, 6 Easy pieces and 6 Not So Easy Pieces, The Character of Physical Law (for general interest, I enjoyed reading The Meaning of it All though maybe it's not the most ideal book for a PS)

Brian Cox - Why e=mc2; The Quantum Universe

Brian Greene - The Elegant Universe; The Hidden Reality; The Fabric of the Cosmos

Lee Smolin - Three Roads To Quantum Gravity
-The Trouble with Physics

Personally I found James Gleick - Chaos really boring (mainly due to being overly wordy/story-telling like), but I think most people do enjoy reading it!

Chemistry
James Keeler, Peter Wothers - Why Chemical Reactions Happen (most people recommend this upon the mention of chemistry!)

Maths
Gowers - Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction

Ian Stewart - Seventeen Equations that Changed the World (lots of his books are interesting to read/browse through e.g. Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities but not)

Simon Singh - Fermat's Last Theorem (personally I found this boring!)
- The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking

(Pickover - The Maths Book is interesting for general interest)

These lists may also be of use to you:
http://www.natsci.tripos.cam.ac.uk/p...udents/reading
http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/study/und.../nat-phys.html
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lerjj
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(Original post by Claree)
Physics

(Pickover - The Maths Book is interesting for general interest)
Don't have anything really to add, but Pickover also wrote The Physics Book, which is pretty similar for general knowledge (no depth at all though).
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