The Best Books on Science, Mathematics, and Philosophy

The Books I Picked & Why

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

By Douglas R. Hofstadter

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Why this book?

This is a remarkable book that combines mathematical logic with graphic art, music, and philosophy, in a way that is breathtaking in its scope and erudition. It is, in my opinion, one of the most original popular science books ever written. A true feast for the mind.


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Cosmos

By Carl Sagan

Cosmos

Why this book?

This book was one of the first to give an almost poetic description of the solar system, our Galaxy, the universe, space science, and the search for extraterrestrial life. Carl Sagan’s legendary ability to make astrophysics attractive to the lay person shines through, and it illuminates our place in the cosmos.


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Einstein's Dreams

By Alan Lightman

Einstein's Dreams

Why this book?

An enthralling, fictional description of a young scientist (Einstein) and his dreams/thoughts about space, time, relativity, and the nature of reality. The book fictionalizes Einstein’s dreams in 1905, his “Annus Mirabilis” (“Miracle Year”), in which he wrote four fundamental papers, including one on his theory of Special Relativity. While this is a work of fiction, the physics concepts are beautifully explained.


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Men of Mathematics

By E.T. Bell

Men of Mathematics

Why this book?

A fascinating collection of brief biographies of some of the greatest mathematicians to have ever lived. This book really brings the history of mathematics to life.The biographies were not intended to be complete. They emphasize amusing and romantic anecdotes, to create a more humanistic picture of the main characters, while giving the essence of their mathematical achievements.


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A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell

A History of Western Philosophy

Why this book?

This is one of the best introductions to western philosophy across the ages you will ever find. It both gives the historical and cultural facts and explains how those inspired the philosophical ideas. Russell writes in a rich, yet accessible and engaging language. This book is a triumph of scholar authority and clarity.


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