T Nation

Pure Science Thread


Ok, enough with the politics and world isuses...

My main interests lie in the fields of science and mathematics (and philosophy realted to these areas) and as such I tend to read alot in these subjects. I was wondering if anyone here has some interesting reads in any particularly obscure fields. The more obscure the better. It doesn't matter if they are aimed at professionals in the field or lay persons.

For instance, I am working my way thru a book on genomic analysis called Discovering Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics, by A.M. Campbell & L.J. Heyer which is a text book aimed at undergrads in biology with at least two years of math and physics.

Other good stuff--in the fields of physics which I consider fun reads include The Odd Quantum, by Sam Treimann. I am also looking for some books in game theory (not D&D) if anyone has any title suggestions.

let's nerd-out!


One of my favorite books was Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan


The Origins of Order by Stuart Kauffman. Brilliant work on spontaneous self ordering in complex systems as applied in particular to evolution but has broader implications for complex systems prone to phase transition. This is a heady and difficult, though rewarding read.

Kauffman's Investigations is a lighter version of the same, but I prefer the turbogeek edition.


Saving the Planet With Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming

I haven't read it, just browsed it some. It looks to be a good book though


"Kicking the Sacred Cow" by James P. Hogan
Hogan takes on several high profile subjects such as AIDS, the environment, relativity, etc. and gives some startling evidence for alternative theories. I have it in e-book format. PM me nicely, and I can email it to you.


Darwin's Black Box and the Red Queen. Darwin's was better, more interesting, but also catered more towards my beliefs. Both address evolution/gene inheritance etc.

In the line of text-books, my professor, Dr. Palladino, wrote one on Biotechnology, goes through the various forms and the experiments and methods used to create vaccines, GM foods, etc.


I'm really into dinosaur books right now. It's amazing how many changes in theories and ideas there's been in the last 10-20 years.


right now I'm downloading Steven Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell audiobook. I'm guessing, but I think it will probably be a good book.


Philip Ball's Critical Mass -- probabilistic statistics, their history and their role in modeling physics and society. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt uses mathematical tools from economics to explore various day to day phenomena.


As read by Speak-'n-Say? Heh.

I'm currently reading "Advances in Mass Spectrometry and Ion Trap Devices; Theroy and Practice" Boring as anything I've ever read, but I need to. Picked up a few useful things in the first couple chapters already.


Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe". It's String Theory 101 - no equations, no final exam.


Quantum Computation and Quantum Information by Michael Nielsen and Isaac Chuang

I'll probably end up taking a course in quantum computation about 2 years from now.

Hmm...anything about Chaos Theory is pretty hardcore.

Electricity and Magnetism by Purcell...damn good mathematical physics presentation of E/M

The Feynman Lectures...a classic

Apostol's Calculus...not very practical but helps you stretch your mind in attempting to understand the proofs.


I am going to go to a different science here, one of the best books on the topic there is:

An introduction of Dynamic Meteorology by Holton



Fermat's Last Theorem is a good book. It's about (wait for it, wait for it) Fermat's last theorem, which is that x^n+y^n=z^n is not true for any n>2. In 1637, Fermat wrote that he had "a truly marvelous proof of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." The theorem wasn't actually proven until 1995. Truly, the stuff of mysteries.

More recently, I enjoyed reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. In it, he tries to find the ultimate causes behind the creation of civilizations. It's not a "hard science," but I learned more about how to look at history from that book than I did in all of college.


Hey, I'm a physics grad student, so if you have and interest in physics (particularly astronomy or cosmology), I can try to point you in the right direction.

I've heard great things about (and have recently acquired) "The Road to Reality" by Penrose, which is basically a technical tour guide of physical law as we know it.


I second this recommendation. Anything about String Theory is good reads.


Heh, I liked the bit about "no final exam".


Awesome! Some good stuff. I have read a few of these 'pop-science' books and can say that, yes, they are in fact pretty good and also entertaining. Anything by Feynnman is good because I always laught at his writing. Brian Green is good, too. Also, Carl Sagan is great to read to inspire the mind.

My problem is that I am biased toward physics related material because that is my field so I need some non job realted reading.


Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic - Bart Kosko. I was amazed by the DIRO feature of fuzzy chips: Data In, Rules Out. Seems you can control the entire Tokyo Metro system with only 14 rules.

The selfish gene - Richard Dawkins
Against the Gods - Peter L. Bernstein
A Random Walk Down Wall Street - Burton G. Malkiel (the statistics part was cool).


Who has read "Manufacturing Consent?"

It's by Noam Chomsky.