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Ask HN: Best general-audience science books
33 points by raleighm 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments
I love Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” but it’s now 17 years old.

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard Feynman. [0] This is a series of four lectures given my Feynman on quantum electrodynamics for a lay audience, and it's rare in being comprehensible yet not so watered-down as to be wrong or confusing. Probably my all-time favorite science book. I've lent out and given away more copies than I can count.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QED:_The_Strange_Theory_of_Lig...


-- 700 unusual science phenomena; each case is presented as a puzzle with an explanation in the back of the book. Physics, chemistry, biology, engineering

This appears to be physics only. Is there an equivalent book that focuses on Chemistry only?

How have I not come across this before. Looks great - thanks.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skeptics%27_Guide_to_the_U...

Physics for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller (major scientific ideas, not just physics...)

Thanks. I see the same author has a similar book specifically on energy. Will check them out.

Must read classic: The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld

There's a nice series from MIR Publishers entitled "Science for Everyone"[1]. Some books are even written by Lev Landau. The series is destined to interest people.

[1]: https://archive.org/search.php?query=publisher%3A%22Mir%20Pu...

[2]: https://mirtitles.org/?s=for+everyone

On DNA/genetics: Life's Greatest Secret, Matthew Cobb Siddhartha Mukherjee's books: 'The Emperor of All Maladies' + The Gene are very good as an introduction (start off by watching the PBS documentary)

Jim Baggott's books are good on physics e.g. 'Mass'. Also Jim Holt, though he was trained as a philosopher. Penrose 'The Emperor's New Mind' etc are very good but not new.

Although I personally didn't like it very much, I know that many hold "Gödel, Escher, Bach" in high regard.

Physics for Future Presidents but Richard A. Muller

"Big Bang" by Simon Singh

Haven't read this yet, but "Fermat's Last Theorem" by the same author is a really good and approachable book.

Lifespan, David Sinclair

Frozen Star by Greenstein

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