Monday, September 29, 2014

Physics on the Brain

Every couple of years the Physics bug bites me.  I loved the science as a kid, I wolfed down SF paperbacks – especially Asimov’s – like they were going outta style, I even majored in it in college (only for four semesters, about 32 or 36 credits if I recall correctly).  I enjoy all aspects of it, from quantum mechanics to astrophysics, to Einstein’s relativity to nuts-n-bolts stuff like the Periodic Table, the electromagnetic spectrum, and especially all those hieroglyphic equations.  Only thing that I don’t particularly dig is the electricity / electronics aspect of it.  I can barely hang a picture on a wall and they wanted me to design and build circuits in Electronics 102.  Yeesh.

Well, over the past few weeks I’ve become re-interested in the field.  Reading articles online, skimming library shelves, stuff like that.  Borrowed Asimov’s Atom, read it in six days, currently reading through his three-volume Understanding Physics tome.  Good times.

This past weekend I felt prodded to go through the books in the basement near the writing desk.  I have six large boxes of books, grouped roughly by subject, and ruffled through the “science” box.  Turns out I have 28 books on physics.  Light, almost fluffy stuff written for those who need a fainting couch when they see a plus sign, to dense, meaty treatises such as one written by Einstein himself.  Most fall in the middle.  Here’s a list, more for myself than you I suppose, of what I found and what I plan on re-reading and studying over the next few months:

My Physics 101 textbook

My Introduction to Modern Physics textbook

Basic Physics: A Self-Teaching Guide by Karl Kuhn

Relativity by Einstein

A 1940s textbook on Relativity Theory

Newton’s Principia

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

Beyond Einstein by Michio Kaku

The First Three Minutes and Dreams of a Final Theory by Stephen Weinberg

The Dreaming Universe by Fred Alan Wolf

The Tao of Physics and The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Fritjof Capra

The Story of Physics by Lloyd Motz

In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat and In Search of Superstrings by John Gribben

Cycles of Time by Roger Penrose

How to Build a Time Machine and Are We Alone? by Paul Davies

Black Holes by Clifford Pickover

Quantum Reality by Nick Herbert

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson (a biography)

Einstein’s Universe by Nigel Calder

Superstrings and the Search for the Theory of Everything by F. Peat

The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch

The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss

and, of course,

The Wonders of Physics (though that’s a library book)

So I’m thinking if I can get through all these in six months, I’ll either be sick to death of physics or ready to do the Big Man on Campus thing at my local community college ...

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