Science or maths book recommendations.

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Deliciate
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Has anyone read a really interesting science or maths book (fiction or non-fiction)? Not sci-fi per se or pseudoscience but real scientific books that have had a long-lasting impression on you. One that you'd really recommend for further reading about any scientific topic that really takes science to another level. Any area of science that includes maths, biology or chemistry, preferably not physics but I may still check it out.

Thank you!
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the bear
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am currently reading The Man Who Loved Only Numbers about Paul Erdős.

he was a Hungarian mathematician. he is famous for his eccentric lifestyle as well as his astounding achievements in number theory.

i have just started The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann; the 1969 Nobel Laureate for Physics. he has deliberately aimed the book at the non-specialist so it is an enjoyable read for those of us who do not quite get quantum mechanics :teehee:
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artful_lounger
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For more textbook like resources, Richard Feynmann's "The Feynmann Lectures" should be broadly accessible to a 6th form student (the last book requires complex numbers and matrices, so if you're not doing Futher Maths you may not get that far with it, but I don't think they come up in the first two as I recall) and develops a great deal of physical intuition in the core topics you're already familiar with. It won't teach you how to solve problems or do physics but it does teach you how to think about it in different ways which make it more intuitive on the whole.

A more classically designed textbook which is always recommended for Mathematics students and would be useful for budding physicists and potentially other physical sciences and engineering, is Michael Spivaks "Calculus". The book reintroduces the calculus you'll be familiar with from A-level (and then some) in a rigorous formal way - building up to elements of analysis. It's a good reference if you're considering studying mathematics at university, as it's similar in the style (albeit a slightly gentler introduction than most first year courses in calculus/analysis) and even if not, understanding the inner workings of the calculus you use and take for granted will improve your intuition in developing and solving mathematical problems and models.
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Deliciate
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(Original post by the bear)
am currently reading The Man Who Loved Only Numbers about Paul Erdős.

he was a Hungarian mathematician. he is famous for his eccentric lifestyle as well as his astounding achievements in number theory.

i have just started The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann; the 1969 Nobel Laureate for Physics. he has deliberately aimed the book at the non-specialist so it is an enjoyable read for those of us who do not quite get quantum mechanics :teehee:
bear I'm a huge fan of yours! :laugh: I'll check out the first rec -- looks really good. However I'm unsure about The Quark and the Jaguar since I don't study physics. :unsure: Might still be an informative read nonetheless. Any bio or chem recommendations?
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Deliciate
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
For more textbook like resources, Richard Feynmann's "The Feynmann Lectures" should be broadly accessible to a 6th form student (the last book requires complex numbers and matrices, so if you're not doing Futher Maths you may not get that far with it, but I don't think they come up in the first two as I recall) and develops a great deal of physical intuition in the core topics you're already familiar with. It won't teach you how to solve problems or do physics but it does teach you how to think about it in different ways which make it more intuitive on the whole.

A more classically designed textbook which is always recommended for Mathematics students and would be useful for budding physicists and potentially other physical sciences and engineering, is Michael Spivaks "Calculus". The book reintroduces the calculus you'll be familiar with from A-level (and then some) in a rigorous formal way - building up to elements of analysis. It's a good reference if you're considering studying mathematics at university, as it's similar in the style (albeit a slightly gentler introduction than most first year courses in calculus/analysis) and even if not, understanding the inner workings of the calculus you use and take for granted will improve your intuition in developing and solving mathematical problems and models.
Thank you! Definitely going to check out 'Calculus' since I'm studying A-Level maths. I'm unsure as to whether 'The Feynmann Lectures' will be applicable since I'm not studying further maths or physics. I was looking for more medicine-esque books since that's the career path I'm looking to pursue.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Deliciate)
bear I'm a huge fan of yours! :laugh: I'll check out the first rec -- looks really good. However I'm unsure about The Quark and the Jaguar since I don't study physics. :unsure: Might still be an informative read nonetheless. Any bio or chem recommendations?
'Microbes and Man' or 'The Pasteurization of France' might be a good start from the "popular science" biological side. 'Genes: A Very Short Introduction' might be also be of interest.

I'm not really sure what you can in terms of chemistry that isn't going to be a textbook fundamentally. You could try Linus Pauling's 'General Chemistry', which is probably accessible to a 6th form student with calculus under their belt - it'll cover broadly the same topics as A-level Chemistry but go into greater depth in some I imagine, and probably with some more mathematical sophistication. This is purely in the tradition of reading the masters rather than the students, so I can't comment on how good of an educator he is, and it's quite possible it'll be very dry as it is fundamentally a textbook (albeit an old one - and bear that in mind as some areas will have progressed since it was written).

Something about Materials Science or Materials in human experience/culture might be of interest and be vaguely chemically related.
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Deliciate
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
'Microbes and Man' or 'The Pasteurization of France' might be a good start from the "popular science" biological side. 'Genes: A Very Short Introduction' might be also be of interest.

I'm not really sure what you can in terms of chemistry that isn't going to be a textbook fundamentally. You could try Linus Pauling's 'General Chemistry', which is probably accessible to a 6th form student with calculus under their belt - it'll cover broadly the same topics as A-level Chemistry but go into greater depth in some I imagine, and probably with some more mathematical sophistication. This is purely in the tradition of reading the masters rather than the students, so I can't comment on how good of an educator he is, and it's quite possible it'll be very dry as it is fundamentally a textbook (albeit an old one - and bear that in mind as some areas will have progressed since it was written).

Something about Materials Science or Materials in human experience/culture might be of interest and be vaguely chemically related.
ooooo, thank you very much! Yeah, I know what you mean about the difficulty of finding a chemistry book that isn't essentially a textbook.
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Plagioclase
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Probably the three most influential science books I've read are The Two-Mile Time Machine, Global Catastrophic Risk, and The Selfish Gene. They're all very different but act as brilliant introductions to the fields of climate change, existential risk, and genetics respectively.
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Deliciate
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Probably the three most influential science books I've read are The Two-Mile Time Machine, Global Catastrophic Risk, and The Selfish Gene. They're all very different but act as brilliant introductions to the fields of climate change, existential risk, and genetics respectively.
yes, yes and yes! These are all topics that massively interest me (well perhaps climate change less so) but they look like really good reads.
thank you!
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by Deliciate)
yes, yes and yes! These are all topics that massively interest me (well perhaps climate change less so) but they look like really good reads.
thank you!
I'd still really recommend The Two-Mile Time Machine though precisely because it's completely different from anything you would have learned about climate change before. It's specifically looking at the (relatively recent) evidence for abrupt, extreme climate change as evidenced in ice cores (the title referring to the two-mile long ice cores that record these incredible events). That was the book that made me decide on my degree and, probably, my career so I would absolutely recommend it!

But yes, all great reads!
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the bear
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(Original post by Deliciate)
bear I'm a huge fan of yours! :laugh: I'll check out the first rec -- looks really good. However I'm unsure about The Quark and the Jaguar since I don't study physics. :unsure: Might still be an informative read nonetheless. Any bio or chem recommendations?
for Chemistry definitely: The Periodic Table by Primo Levi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pe...ry_collection)
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Dysf(x)al
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I read "We Have No Idea" by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. It's very good at explaining ideas about physics such as relativity, quantum physics and the universe. If you like XKCD, you'll love this book .
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Deliciate
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(Original post by the bear)
for Chemistry definitely: The Periodic Table by Primo Levi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pe...ry_collection)
i'm a bit of a periodic table nerd so this is great, thank you
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Deliciate
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(Original post by TheMindGarage)
I read "We Have No Idea" by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. It's very good at explaining ideas about physics such as relativity, quantum physics and the universe. If you like XKCD, you'll love this book .
ahaha, wow so many books to read, i wish I could just freeze time and read for ages then get back to school work thanks for the rec!!
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