Physics Book Club

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson  
Showcases science's crowning achievements and presents them in readable fashion. With topics ranging from continental drift to the nature of time, Bryson, offers up clearly argued explanations able to reach even the least scientifically inclined.  A New York Times Notable Book for 2003.

Big Bang by Simon Singh
One of the very best books dealing with cosmology, because Singh follows the same plan he used in his brilliant Code Book: puts people--not equations--first in the story. By linking the progression of the Big Bang theory with the scientists who built it up bit by bit, Singh also uncovers an important truth about how such ideas grow.

Can you feel the force?  by Richard Hammond. 
For this book about physics, Richard Hammond, the TV presenter on Top Gear and Brainiac won the 2007 Royal Society junior prize for Science Books. The book aims to use physics to answer questions such as ‘whats inside an atom?’ and ‘can you lie on a bed of nails?’.  Also shortlisted for this same prize: ‘Its true Space turns you into spaghetti!’ by Heather Catchpole and Vanessa Woods and ‘Science Investigations: Electricity’ by John Farndon

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, not to mention saving the human race from extinction along the way?  From the author of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The Elegant Universe by Author Brian Greene
In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe consisting of 11 dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself and all matter, from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas, is generated by the vibrations of micro-scopically tiny loops of energy.

Flashes of Brilliance by Dick Ahlstrom
A collection of published articles, reflect the diversity, the volume and the outstanding quality of scientific research happening in Ireland today. DVD accompanies the book.

Giant Leaps published by London Science Museum and the Sun Newspaper
Giant Leaps is an often hilarious guide to some of the key discoveries, inventions and events in the history of science, technology and medicine. The right hand pages are written in the style of a sensational Sun front-page scoop, whilst the left hand pages give a more serious but nonetheless accessible account of the key event.

Ingenious Ireland by Mary Mulvihill
A county-by-county exploration of Irish mysteries and marvels. Excellent accompanying website includes student activities.

In 90 minutes series
An  easy-to-read series, eminent science writers John and Mary Gribbin look at the lives and work of eight major scientists. Each book is accessible enough to be read for fun but informative enough to appeal to students of science. The iconic Albert Einstein emerges as a dashing ladies' man and the greatest scientist of his time.   How was Marie Curie's great work shaped by her childhood experiences of oppression under the Czars? And what was Edmond Halley, of comet fame, doing as Captain of a King's Ship and later spy for the Crown? An introduction and afterword places each scientist's work in the context of the development of their subject.

Local Heroes: Do-it-yourself Science by Adam Hart-Davis and Paul Bader
Published to coincide with a BBC series of the same name, this book is a practical guide to 50 scientific experiments. All offer an insight into inventions of the modern world, from a balloon powered boat to a fax machine.

October Sky by Homar H Hickam
Following the launching of the Soviet Sputnik, a young boy and his friends in rural West Virginia build a rocket and win the 1960 National Science Fair. A New York Times Notable Book for 1998.

On Giants’ Shoulders: Great Scientists and Their Discoveries from Archimedes to DNA by Melvyn Bragg
A collection of  essays based on Bragg’s Radio 4 show  The result is an easily accessible look at some of the founders of modern science, from Archimedes in the 3rd century BC to Marie Curie in the 19th century to present day scientists Francis Crick and James Watson. Each of the 11 essays are preceded by a chronological outline of the subject’s life, and allows the reader to gain a helpful sense of perspective on the forthcoming narrative. Bragg’s reflections on each of the subjects are aided and abetted by modern day science popularisers, such as Lewis Wolpert and Susan Greenfield.

Physicists of Ireland: Passion and Precision by M McCartney and A Whitaker
Demonstrating the strength of tradition in Ireland, Physicists of Ireland: Passion and Precision is a collection of essays on leading figures from the history of physics in Ireland. It includes physicists born outside of Ireland who carried out significant work in Ireland as well as those who had strong Irish roots but carried out their work outside of Ireland. The book is illustrated with diagrams and photos of historical interest and rounded off with useful suggestions for further reading.

The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M Krauss
Guaranteed to keep the class Trekies occupied!

The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios
If superheroes stepped off the comic book page or silver screen and into reality, could they actually work their wonders in a world constrained by the laws of physics? How strong would Superman have to be to “leap tall buildings in a single bound”? Could Storm of the X-Men possibly control the weather? And how many cheeseburgers would the Flash need to eat to be able to run at supersonic speeds? In The Physics of Superheroes acclaimed university professor James Kakalios shows that comic book heroes and villains get their physics right more often than you think.

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P Feynman
The outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original. In this national bestseller, the Nobel Prize­winning physicist Richard P Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature.

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters by David Hockney 
Taking a look at the techniques of the Old Masters, hundreds of paintings are reproduced to show how artists would have used the optics technology available to them in rendering their subjects. 400 color illustrations. The device that helped painters create photographic likenesses of their sitters was the camera obscura.

Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?: And 114 Other Questions 
A compilation of readers' answers to the questions in the 'Last Word' column of "New Scientist", the world's best-selling science weekly. Following the phenomenal success of "Does Anything eat Wasps?" - the Christmas 2005 surprise bestseller - this new collection includes recent answers never before published in book form, and also old favourites from the column's early days. Yet again, many seemingly simple questions turn out to have complex answers. And some that seem difficult have a very simple explanation.

Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe by Marcus Chown
The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein’s general theory of relativity. But, almost a century after their advent, most people haven’t the slightest clue what either is about. Did you know that there’s so much empty space inside matter that the entire human race could be squeezed into the volume of a sugar cube? Or that you grow old more quickly on the top floor of a building than on the ground floor? Get set for the most entertaining science book of the year.

50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know by Joanne Baker
In this, the second volume in an important new series presenting core concepts across a range of critical areas of human knowledge, author Joanne Baker unravels the complexities of 20th-century scientific theory for a general readership. She explains ideas at the cutting-edge of scientific enquiry, making them comprehensible and accessible to the layperson.