Books and magazines I’m reading

At the moment I’m reading
1. The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins – it’s very interesting, I havn’t read any of his work before, and
2. Climate Change, by Barrie Pittock (formerly of the CSIRO) – which also looks like a good read – but I’ll probably finish The Ancestor’s Tale before reading this one.

Late last year I read A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson, which Bec gave me for my birthday. It’s fantastic – great popular science writing.

Last year I bought Roger Penroses’ The road to reality – a complete guide to the laws of the universe – a fantastic book, although tough going if you don’t have a background in physics! The title is a little cheeky, but hey, there isn’t enough humour in the world, so I’m all for it.

I also subscribe to National Geographic magazine and to Scientific American as well as well as an environmental magazine the CSIRO puts out.

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2 Responses to Books and magazines I’m reading

  1. Tel says:

    Hi Sach, I also bought a copy of Penrose’s book. It is a fantastic book. It is odd though, in that it is definitely not a book for someone who doesn’t know a lot of math and physics, but is also a bit light in places for the professional mathematical physicist. It is a wonderful book to dip into though, to read up on those areas where you want a bit of introductory stuff (just been flicking through the stuff on manifolds, I’m sure you know I’m a bit obsessed with differential geometry.)

    In a similar vein is “Mathematical Perspectives on Theoretical Physics: A Journey from Black Holes to Superstrings”, by Nirmala Prakash. It is full of tidbits too, borrowed it from the library not long ago. Again not good as an introduction and sparse in places, but full of fun stuff.

    Might I also recommend Peter Szekeres book “A Course in Modern Mathematical Physics : Groups, Hilbert Space and Differential Geometry”. I am keen to buy this, I’ve flicked through it and it has lots of interesting stuff, plus it’s written by a local fellow.

  2. Sacha says:

    Hey Tel,

    Thanks for the tips – I’m getting more and more interested in math and I actually feel like trying to find things out – the weight of the thesis didn’t smother that desire, which is somewhat surprising! Anyway, I’ll check out these volumes.

    I agree with you about Penrose’s book – it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, and it does seem a bit odd – maybe because there’s a lot of discussion and less mathematical formulation than in many texts – it’s not a textbook – I quite like the discussion on different topics. A little while back I was reading Chapter 27 on entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, and the very special case of the nature of the Big Bang which led to the second law of thermodynamics. It’s very interesting.

    I should have mentioned: some other books I’ve recently read/bought are Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce (I have Ulysses, and “Artist” apparently is focussed on the life of one of the main characters in Ulysses before Ulysses is set), and Jared Diamond’s latest book on reasons behind falls of civilisations.

    You can request a free (hardbound) copy of the publication “Climate Change: an australian guide to the science and potential impacts” from the CSIRO – I went to their web-site http://www.csiro.gov.au and requested a copy.

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