100 popular science books you won't regret gifting the geeks in your life

Because science never fails to be cool!
Time's Arrow
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Time's Arrow

by Martin Amis

About the book:  In Time's Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense."The narrative moves with irresistible momentum.... [Amis is] a daring, exacting writer willing to defy the odds in pursuit of his art."--Newsday

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The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition
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The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Richard Rhodes

About the book:  Twenty-five years after its initial publication, The Making of the Atomic Bomb remains the definitive history of nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project. From the turn-of-the-century discovery of nuclear energy to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan, Richard Rhodes’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book details the science, the people, and the socio-political realities that led to the development of the atomic bomb.This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence. From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bomb provides a panoramic backdrop for that story. Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.

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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

by Carl Sagan,Ann Druyan

About the book:  "A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought." *Los Angeles Times"POWERFUL . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing." *The Washington Post Book WorldHow can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms."COMPELLING." *USA Today"A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity." *The Sciences"PASSIONATE." *San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

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Black Holes and Time Warps
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Black Holes and Time Warps

by Kip S. Thorne

About the book:  Examines such phenomena as black holes, wormholes, singularities, gravitational waves, and time machines, exploring the fundamental principles that control the universe.

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Neuromancer
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Neuromancer

by William Gibson

About the book:  The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel. William Gibson revolutionised science fiction in his 1984 debut Neuromancer. The writer who gave us the matrix and coined the term 'cyberspace' produced a first novel that won the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards, and lit the fuse on the Cyberpunk movement. More than three decades later, Gibson's text is as stylish as ever, his noir narrative still glitters like chrome in the shadows and his depictions of the rise and abuse of corporate power look more prescient every day. Part thriller, part warning, Neuromancer is a timeless classic of modern SF and one of the 20th century's most potent and compelling visions of the future.

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The Fabric of Reality
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The Fabric of Reality

by David Deutsch

About the book:  An extraordinary and challenging synthesis of ideas uniting Quantum Theory, and the theories of Computation, Knowledge and Evolution, Deutsch's extraordinary book explores the deep connections between these strands which reveal the fabric of realityin which human actions and ideas play essential roles.

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A Short History of Nearly Everything
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A Short History of Nearly Everything

by Bill Bryson

About the book:  In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds.

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Gödel, Escher, Bach
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Gödel, Escher, Bach

by Douglas R. Hofstadter

About the book:  'What is a self and how can a self come out of inanimate matter?' This is the riddle that drove Douglas Hofstadter to write this extraordinary book. In order to impart his original and personal view on the core mystery of human existence - our intangible sensation of 'I'-ness - Hofstadter defines the playful yet seemingly paradoxical notion of 'strange loop', and explicates this idea using analogies from many disciplines.

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Micrographia
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Micrographia

by Robert Hooke

About the book:  I could also presently judge of any small filament of glass whether it were hollow or not which would have been exceeding tedious to examine by looking on the end.

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The Origin of Species
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The Origin of Species

by Charles Darwin

About the book:  The Origin of Species is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation. Darwin's aims were twofold: to show that species had not been separately created, and to show that natural selection had been the chief agent of change.

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Never at Rest
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Never at Rest

by Richard S. Westfall

About the book:  This richly detailed 1981 biography captures both the personal life and the scientific career of Isaac Newton, presenting a fully rounded picture of Newton the man, the scientist, the philosopher, the theologian, and the public figure. Professor Westfall treats all aspects of Newton's career, but his account centres on a full description of Newton's achievements in science. Thus the core of the work describes the development of the calculus, the experimentation that altered the direction of the science of optics, and especially the investigations in celestial dynamics that led to the law of universal gravitation.

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Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman
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Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman

by Richard P. Feynman,Ralph Leighton

About the book:  Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, Richard Feynman was one of the world's greatest theoretical physicists, but he was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure. An artist, safecracker, practical joker and storyteller, Feynman's life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism. Over a period of years, Feynman's conversations with his friend Ralph Leighton were first taped and then set down as they appear here, little changed from their spoken form, giving a wise, funny, passionate and totally honest self-portrait of one of the greatest men of our age.

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Tesla
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Tesla

by Margaret Cheney

About the book:  Explores the life and career of the eccentric, trailblazing nineteenth-century scientist and inventor, the man who introduced the fundamentals of robotry and computer and missile science and who harnessed the alternating electrical current used today. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.

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The Devil's Doctor
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The Devil's Doctor

by Philip Ball

About the book:  A portrait of the sixteenth-century Swiss physician and alchemist evaluates the myths attributed to his character and his contentious relationship with the medical establishment and universities of his time, in an account that traces his journeys across Europe and his achievements in light of period intellectual, political, and religious factors.

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Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos
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Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos

by Dennis Overbye

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Physics for Entertainment
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Physics for Entertainment

by Yakov I. Perelman

About the book:  Russian popular-science writer Yakov Perelman makes physics fun in his classic book, offering real-world applications, demonstrations, and fascinating phenomena that remain relevant-and educational-to modern readers. This book explains many of the most entertaining aspects of the physical world and its principles, including optical illusions, light tricks and mirages, watermelon force, gravity and flight, travel to the moon, brain teasers, heat, boomerangs, "perpetual motion machines," echoes, and feats of strength. Presented by Quid Pro Books as a "Digitally Remastered Book," (TM) this edition is unlike vintage republications that repeat printer errors or copying artifacts from the original. Instead, the process markedly reduces underlines, blotches, stray marks, and broken words. The effect retains and preserves the original presentation and its accuracy (unlike all-new renderings which introduce scan/OCR error), while offering a more complete and pleasant reading experience . . . to a new generation of students and curious readers.

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One Two Three . . . Infinity
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One Two Three . . . Infinity

by George Gamow

About the book:  Over 120 delightful pen-and-ink illustrations by the author add another dimension of good-natured charm to these wide-ranging explorations. A mind-expanding volume for the layman and the science-minded.

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The Elegant Universe
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The Elegant Universe

by Brian Greene

About the book:  In The Elegant Universe Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe which isnt quite what we think: one that consists of eleven dimensions, where all matter is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. Greene uses everything from an amusement park ride to ants on a garden hose to explain the beautiful yet bizarre realities that modern physics is unveiling. Dazzling in its brilliance, unprecedented in its ability to both illuminate and entertain, The Elegant Universe is a tour de force of scientific writing - a delightful, lucid voyage through modern physics that brings us closer to understanding how the universe works.

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Warmth Disperses and Time Passes
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Warmth Disperses and Time Passes

by Hans Christian Von Baeyer

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Alice in Quantumland
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Alice in Quantumland

by Robert Gilmore

About the book:  Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up! Welcome to Quantumland! Fall into an atom and dodge electrons! See the amazing Emperor think his clothes into existence! Dance with the Three Quark Brothers at the Particle MASSquerade! An you need is a sense of adventure-no mathematics required! Alice in Quantumland is Robert Gilmore's amazing fantasy ride through the landscape of quantum physics-the interrelated group of theories on the nature of subatomic particles that modern scientists use to, explain the physical universe. Through the allegory of Alice's adventures and encounters, Gilmore makes the essential features of the quantum world clear and accessible. It is a thrilling introduction to some essential, often difficult-to-grasp concepts about the world we inhabit. You've heard about Alice's adventures through the looking glass. Well, Alice is about to embark on another amazing journey. She's going to shrink again-to the size of a nuclear particle-but she's not going down the rabbit hole. She's headed for Quantumland. And what is Quantumland? Think of it as an intellectual amusement park smaller than an atom, where every ride, game, and attraction demonstrates a different aspect of quantum mechanics-the often baffling, always intriguing theoretical framework that seems to provide the most accurate explanations of the way things arc in the physical world. In this masterful blend of fantasy and science, Robert Gilmore uses the allegory of Alice's travels to make the uncertainty principle, Pauli's principle, high-energy particle physics, and other crucial parts of quantum theory accessible and exciting. Once in Quantumland, Alice experiences various quantum effects (at one point going backward in time and running into herself). She also meets a number of strange characters who help her (and you) understand the nature of the quantum world. There is: * the Uncertain Accountant, whose attempts to balance the books at the Heisenberg Energy Bank arc being flummoxed by energy fluctuations; * the State Agent, Who shows Alice how atoms can bc two places at once; * the Three Quark Brothers, who take Alice around the floor in one of the Castle Rutherford's famous Collider Dances; * the Emperor, whose conscious mind makes his new clothes real; and more. Cleverly conceived and written, and delightfully illustrated, Alice in Quantumland brings some crucial yet often elusive scientific concepts within reach of the everyday reader. You don't need to know much about mathematics to follow our heroine's escapades. There is only one equation in the entire book! All you need is a taste for intellectual adventure and healthy curiosity about the world around us.

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