10 books like Helgoland

By Carlo Rovelli, Erica Segre, Simon Carnell

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Helgoland. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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QED

By Richard P. Feynman,

Book cover of QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

My second pick is by the master himself. Richard Feynman’s little book explains quantum electrodynamics or QED to a lay audience. Not only did he receive a Nobel Prize for his discoveries in this area, but Feynman was at the pinnacle of using deep understanding of physics to give the simplest possible yet accurate description of the world as seen through physics. He steps the reader slowly and carefully through some incredible journeys of logic (without equations) to explain how light travels from one place to another and how light interacts with matter such as electrons. It’s basic stuff, but deep and a fun ride. 

QED

By Richard P. Feynman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked QED as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrated for his brilliantly quirky insights into the physical world, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman also possessed an extraordinary talent for explaining difficult concepts to the general public. Here Feynman provides a classic and definitive introduction to QED (namely, quantum electrodynamics), that part of quantum field theory describing the interactions of light with charged particles. Using everyday language, spatial concepts, visualizations, and his renowned "Feynman diagrams" instead of advanced mathematics, Feynman clearly and humorously communicates both the substance and spirit of QED to the layperson. A. Zee's introduction places Feynman's book and his seminal contribution to QED in historical context and…


The Strangest Man

By Graham Farmelo,

Book cover of The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

Dirac was one of the creators of modern quantum physics. His theoretical contributions are astonishing in their insights and their power. He was, as the title says, a very strange man: painfully shy, laconic in the extreme, and socially awkward. He spoke so rarely that his colleagues at Cambridge used to joke that “a dirac” was a unit of measurement equal to one word an hour. Farmelo is a fine writer and gives a lay reader a deep understanding of why Dirac is considered such a giant in the field.

The Strangest Man

By Graham Farmelo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Strangest Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Dirac was among the greatest scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of Einstein's most admired colleagues, he helped discover quantum mechanics, and his prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics. In 1933 he became the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Dirac's personality, like his achievements, is legendary. The Strangest Man uses previously undiscovered archives to reveal the many facets of Dirac's brilliantly original mind.


The Little Book of Cosmology

By Lyman Page,

Book cover of The Little Book of Cosmology

The most striking thing about the night sky is that it is mostly black. But if your eyes, instead of seeing visible light, could see a type of invisible light known as microwaves, it would be white. The entire Universe is glowing with the “afterglow” of the big bang fireball. Greatly cooled by the expansion of the universe in the past 13.82 billion years, the “cosmic background radiation” now consists of low-energy radio waves, principally microwaves.

Imprinted on this radiation is a “baby photo” of the universe when it was a mere 400,000 years old and matter was beginning the long process of clumping under gravity that would culminate in galaxies such as our own Milky Way. From that photo can be extracted the numbers that define our Universe, from its age of 13.82 billion years to the fact that 70 percent of cosmic mass-energy is in the form of…

The Little Book of Cosmology

By Lyman Page,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Book of Cosmology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The cutting-edge science that is taking the measure of the universe

The Little Book of Cosmology provides a breathtaking look at our universe on the grandest scales imaginable. Written by one of the world's leading experimental cosmologists, this short but deeply insightful book describes what scientists are revealing through precise measurements of the faint thermal afterglow of the Big Bang-known as the cosmic microwave background, or CMB-and how their findings are transforming our view of the cosmos.

Blending the latest findings in cosmology with essential concepts from physics, Lyman Page first helps readers to grasp the sheer enormity of the…


Quantum

By Manjit Kumar,

Book cover of Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality

Given the radically distinct and often incongruent views of what quantum physics means, it is wise to glean a balanced sense of many views by studying the topic's history. Kumar's telling of the great, decades-long debate between two of the field's leading practitioners is authoritative and excitingly told. The book centers on the founding of quantum physics during the 1920s, the famous 1927 Solvay Conference on photons and electrons, and the thoughtful debate between Bohr and Einstein concerning the nature of reality. The author is a physicist, philosopher, and science writer.

Quantum

By Manjit Kumar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Quantum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This is about gob-smacking science at the far end of reason ... Take it nice and easy and savour the experience of your mind being blown without recourse to hallucinogens' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
For most people, quantum theory is a byword for mysterious, impenetrable science. And yet for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves.

In this magisterial book, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly-written history of this fundamental scientific revolution, and the divisive debate at its core. Quantum theory looks at the very building blocks of our world, the particles and processes without which it could…


Beyond Weird

By Philip Ball,

Book cover of Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different

Quantum physics is supposed to be weird and mysterious, right? You might then get the impression that Beyond Weird will explain how quantum physics is weirder than weird. But, no! Beyond Weird is about how we can beyond the concept that quantum physics is weird. Philip Ball does an amazing job telling the story of how physicists have tried to make sense of quantum theory.

Beyond Weird

By Philip Ball,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond Weird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."

Since Niels Bohr said this many years ago, quantum mechanics has only been getting more shocking. We now realize that it's not really telling us that "weird" things happen out of sight, on the tiniest level, in the atomic world: rather, everything is quantum. But if quantum mechanics is correct, what seems obvious and right in our everyday world is built on foundations that don't seem obvious or right at all-or even possible.

An exhilarating tour of the contemporary quantum landscape, Beyond Weird is a book about what…


How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

By Chad Orzel,

Book cover of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

In How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog Chad Orzel has an imaginary conversation about quantum physics with his dog, Emmy. Orzel explains each of the features of quantum physics, like superposition and entanglement, by starting first with an analogy in Emmy’s understandably dog-like behavior.

How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

By Chad Orzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Quantum physics has never been more popular. Once thought of as an obscure science, it reached the masses via the notion of teleportation in Star Trek and, more recently, as an integral part of the popular TV series Lost and Fringe. Now, inspired by his hugely popular website and science blog, Chad Orzel uses his cherished mutt Emmy to explain the basic principles of quantum physics. And who better to explain the magical universe of quantum physics than a talking dog?


Through Two Doors at Once

By Anil Ananthaswamy,

Book cover of Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality

Through Two Doors at Once is the most complete and lucid description of the archetypal quantum experiment, the so-called “double-slit experiment.” Anil Ananthaswamy interviews quantum scientists and weaves modern understanding into the history of one of the most famous science experiments ever.

Through Two Doors at Once

By Anil Ananthaswamy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through Two Doors at Once as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can matter behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it or does the very act of looking bring it into reality? Is there a place where the quantum world ends and our perceivable world begins?

Many of science's greatest minds including Thomas Young, Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman have grappled with the questions embodied in the simple yet elusive 'double-slit' experiment in order to understand the fabric of our universe. With his extraordinary gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to…


Quantum Mechanics

By Leonard Susskind, Art Friedman,

Book cover of Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum

Are you still here? Good. Because by now you are probably reading to tackle some university-level courses in quantum physics, right? Well, with your background in pop quantum physics all you need to get there is a little more abstraction. So, if you have the stomach for a bit of mathematics, Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind is your ticket to the big show! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the math, though.)

Quantum Mechanics

By Leonard Susskind, Art Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quantum Mechanics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First he taught you classical mechanics. Now, physicist Leonard Susskind has teamed up with data engineer Art Friedman to present the theory and associated mathematics of the strange world of quantum mechanics.In this follow-up to the New York Times best-selling The Theoretical Minimum , Susskind and Friedman provide a lively introduction to this famously difficult field, which attempts to understand the behaviour of sub-atomic objects through mathematical abstractions. Unlike other popularizations that shy away from quantum mechanics' weirdness, Quantum Mechanics embraces the utter strangeness of quantum logic. The authors offer crystal-clear explanations of the principles of quantum states, uncertainty and…


Mysteries of the Quantum Universe

By Thibault Damour, Mathieu Burniat,

Book cover of Mysteries of the Quantum Universe

While not really a kid’s book, Mysteries of the Quantum Universe is a fully illustrated graphic novel about a journey through time to visit the historical figures in quantum physics. At each location, the protagonist learns about the quantum world straight from the scientists themselves—fun! The language is a bit complex and so you may have to read it together. It may seem weird to “read” a graphic novel to a child, but I promise it works!

Mysteries of the Quantum Universe

By Thibault Damour, Mathieu Burniat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mysteries of the Quantum Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling French graphic novel about the mind-bending world of quantum physics

Take an incredible journey through the quantum universe with explorer Bob and his dog Rick, as they travel through a world of wonders, talk to Einstein about atoms, hang out with Heisenberg on Heligoland and eat crepes with Max Planck. Along the way, we find out that a dog - much like a cat - can be both dead and alive, the gaze of a mouse can change the universe, and a comic book can actually make quantum physics fun, easy to understand and downright enchanting.

'Billed as…


The Quantum Ten

By Sheilla Jones,

Book cover of The Quantum Ten: A Story of Passion, Tragedy, Ambition, and Science

The early period of the development of quantum mechanics were heady days, full of fascinating characters and factional infighting. As Europe was about to tear itself apart again, the physics community had also fractured. Jones explains the scientific fault lines and the personal relations (some of them quite racy!) that were in play as the modern theory of the atom unfolded.

The Quantum Ten

By Sheilla Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quantum Ten as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Theoretical physics is in trouble. At least that's the impression you'd get from reading a spate of recent books on the continued failure to resolve the 80-year-old problem of unifying the classical and quantum worlds. The seeds of this problem were sewn eighty years ago when a dramatic revolution in physics reached a climax at the 1927 Solvay conference in Brussels. It's the story of a rush to formalize quantum physics, the work of just a handful of men fired by ambition, philosophical conflicts and personal agendas. Sheilla Jones paints an intimate portrait of the key figures who wrestled with…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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