100 books like Schrodinger

By Walter J. Moore,

Here are 100 books that Schrodinger fans have personally recommended if you like Schrodinger. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton

Andrew Zangwill Author Of A Mind Over Matter: Philip Anderson and the Physics of the Very Many

From my list on biographies of physicists.

Who am I?

I am a physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Ten years ago, I switched my research focus from solid-state physics to the history of that subject. This was fertile ground because professional historians of science had almost completely ignored solid-state physics. I began my new career by writing two journal articles about the physicist Walter Kohn and his discovery of what became the most accurate method known to calculate the properties of solids. This experience led me to broaden my perspective and ultimately produce a biography of the theoretical physicist Philip Anderson. My next book will be a historical-sociological study of self-identity and disciplinary boundaries within the community of physicists.  

Andrew's book list on biographies of physicists

Andrew Zangwill Why did Andrew love this book?

Don’t let the length (over 900 pages) of this biography put you off. Instead, immerse yourself in the slow and powerful current of author Richard Westfall’s superbly written and richly detailed portrait of the skills, achievements, and obsessions of the singular genius that was Isaac Newton. Westfall explains in a masterful way Newton’s mathematics, his physics, his heretical theology, his fixation with alchemy, his activities running the Royal Mint, and his disputes with other scientists. These features, and Westfall’s evocative description of the intellectual and social milieu of Newton’s 17th-century world, make Never at Rest a compelling read.   

By Richard S. Westfall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never at Rest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This richly detailed 1981 biography captures both the personal life and the scientific career of Isaac Newton, presenting a fully rounded picture of Newton the man, the scientist, the philosopher, the theologian, and the public figure. Professor Westfall treats all aspects of Newton's career, but his account centres on a full description of Newton's achievements in science. Thus the core of the work describes the development of the calculus, the experimentation that altered the direction of the science of optics, and especially the investigations in celestial dynamics that led to the law of universal gravitation.


Book cover of Michael Faraday and The Royal Institution: The Genius of Man and Place

Andrew Zangwill Author Of A Mind Over Matter: Philip Anderson and the Physics of the Very Many

From my list on biographies of physicists.

Who am I?

I am a physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Ten years ago, I switched my research focus from solid-state physics to the history of that subject. This was fertile ground because professional historians of science had almost completely ignored solid-state physics. I began my new career by writing two journal articles about the physicist Walter Kohn and his discovery of what became the most accurate method known to calculate the properties of solids. This experience led me to broaden my perspective and ultimately produce a biography of the theoretical physicist Philip Anderson. My next book will be a historical-sociological study of self-identity and disciplinary boundaries within the community of physicists.  

Andrew's book list on biographies of physicists

Andrew Zangwill Why did Andrew love this book?

For my money, Michael Faraday was the greatest experimental scientist of the nineteenth century. His notebooks detailing his achievements in electrochemistry and electromagnetism should be read by every budding experimentalist as models to emulate. The late Sir John Thomas, a distinguished solid-state chemist, wrote this short biography (only 234 pages) of Faraday during his tenure as the Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.  Thomas’ scientific expertise, his insider status, and his graceful writing style led him to produce a real gem. Enjoy yourself as Thomas recounts Faraday’s ascent at the Royal Institution from laboratory assistant to full professor, his scientific work, his private life, and his unmatched skill as a popularizer of science. 

By John M. Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Michael Faraday and The Royal Institution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A self-educated man who knew no mathematics, Michael Faraday rose from errand boy to become one of Britain's greatest scientists. Faraday made the discoveries upon which most of twentieth-century technology is based and readers of this book will enjoy finding out in how many ways we are indebted to him. The story of his life speaks to us across the years and is a fascinating read, especially when the tale is told with the understanding and gusto that Professor Thomas-one of the UK's leading scientists-brings to the telling.

Faraday took great trouble to make the latest discoveries of science, his…


Book cover of Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics

Andrew Zangwill Author Of A Mind Over Matter: Philip Anderson and the Physics of the Very Many

From my list on biographies of physicists.

Who am I?

I am a physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Ten years ago, I switched my research focus from solid-state physics to the history of that subject. This was fertile ground because professional historians of science had almost completely ignored solid-state physics. I began my new career by writing two journal articles about the physicist Walter Kohn and his discovery of what became the most accurate method known to calculate the properties of solids. This experience led me to broaden my perspective and ultimately produce a biography of the theoretical physicist Philip Anderson. My next book will be a historical-sociological study of self-identity and disciplinary boundaries within the community of physicists.  

Andrew's book list on biographies of physicists

Andrew Zangwill Why did Andrew love this book?

Skip the documentaries. Lise Meitner’s dramatic story is much better told in this meticulously researched and well-written biography. Meitner became the second woman in the world to earn a PhD in physics and then left her native Vienna for Berlin where she began a thirty-year collaboration with chemist Otto Hahn working on radioactive substances. They discovered nuclear fission in 1938, just when Meitner’s Jewishness forced her to flee Nazi Germany for Sweden. Unjustly, Hahn never acknowledged her equal contribution to the discovery when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945. This sensitive biography helps right a historical wrong. 

By Ruth Lewin Sime,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lise Meitner (1878-1968) was a pioneer of nuclear physics and co-discoverer, with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, of nuclear fission. Braving the sexism of the scientific world, she joined the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry and became a prominent member of the international physics community. Of Jewish origin, Meitner fled Nazi Germany for Stockholm in 1938 and later moved to Cambridge, England. Her career was shattered when she fled Germany, and her scientific reputation was damaged when Hahn took full credit - and the 1944 Nobel Prize - for the work they had done together on nuclear fission. Ruth…


Book cover of Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center

Andrew Zangwill Author Of A Mind Over Matter: Philip Anderson and the Physics of the Very Many

From my list on biographies of physicists.

Who am I?

I am a physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Ten years ago, I switched my research focus from solid-state physics to the history of that subject. This was fertile ground because professional historians of science had almost completely ignored solid-state physics. I began my new career by writing two journal articles about the physicist Walter Kohn and his discovery of what became the most accurate method known to calculate the properties of solids. This experience led me to broaden my perspective and ultimately produce a biography of the theoretical physicist Philip Anderson. My next book will be a historical-sociological study of self-identity and disciplinary boundaries within the community of physicists.  

Andrew's book list on biographies of physicists

Andrew Zangwill Why did Andrew love this book?

The brilliant and enigmatic Robert Oppenheimer was the man who led the effort to create the atomic bomb at Los Alamos during World War II.  I value this biography because author Ray Monk does full justice to his subject’s science—the science that put Oppenheimer’s  Berkeley research group at the center of American theoretical physics in the 1930s. Best of all, Monk’s elegant writing makes even familiar episodes come alive. I felt I was watching a car crash in slow motion as I read how Oppenheimer’s complex personality and political naivete led him to underestimate his political enemies and wind up stripped of his security clearance and his influence as a government advisor.  

By Ray Monk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unforgettable story of discovery and unimaginable destruction and a major biography of one of America’s most brilliant—and most divisive—scientists, Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center vividly illuminates the man who would go down in history as “the father of the atomic bomb.” Oppenheimer’s talent and drive secured him a place in the pantheon of great physicists and carried him to the laboratories where the secrets of the universe revealed themselves. But they also led him to contribute to the development of the deadliest weapon on earth, a discovery he soon came to fear. His attempts to resist the…


Book cover of The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn

Art Hobson Author Of Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics' Most Fundamental Theory

From my list on quantum physics and how the universe works.

Who am I?

Since my first college course in quantum physics, I have been fascinated with this enigmatic, infinitely interesting theory. It's our most fundamental description of the universe, it's been found to be unerringly accurate, yet it's quite subtle to interpret. Even more intriguingly, "nobody really understands quantum physics" (as Richard Feynman put it). For example, the theory's central concept, the wave function, is interpreted radically differently by different physicists. I have always yearned to grasp, at least to my own satisfaction, a comprehensive understanding of this theory. Since retirement 23 years ago, I have pursued this passion nearly full-time and found some answers, leading to several technical papers and a popular book.

Art's book list on quantum physics and how the universe works

Art Hobson Why did Art love this book?

Guilder uses historical vignettes to describe how entanglement came to be regarded as a – or perhaps thecentral pillar of quantum physics. For example, we share a streetcar ride through Copenhagen in 1923 with Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, and Arnold Sommerfeld. Although we don't know precisely what they discussed, Guilder indicates what they probably discussed based on quotations from letters and other evidence. Thus, the book reads like a historical novel. It centers on the distant correlations, dubbed (by Einstein and Erwin Schrodinger) "spooky action at a distance." Since 1964, physicists have shown this astonishing phenomenon, now called "non-locality," to be clearly predicted by quantum theory and fully confirmed by experiment. This development is the "rebirth" of quantum physics referred to in the title.  Guilder is a non-scientist who writes beautifully with a good grasp of physics.

By Louisa Gilder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Age of Entanglement, Louisa Gilder brings to life one of the pivotal debates in twentieth century physics. In 1935, Albert Einstein famously showed that, according to the quantum theory, separated particles could act as if intimately connected–a phenomenon which he derisively described as “spooky action at a distance.” In that same year, Erwin Schrödinger christened this correlation “entanglement.” Yet its existence was mostly ignored until 1964, when the Irish physicist John Bell demonstrated just how strange this entanglement really was. Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the twentieth century’s greatest physicists, Gilder both humanizes and dramatizes…


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

David N. Schwartz Author Of The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age

From my list on the lives of 20th century physicists.

Who am I?

My dad was a Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist who co-discovered the muon neutrino, a particle whose existence was first explained by Fermi. I am not a physicist myself but grew up around physicists and have always been fascinated by them and was lucky to have met many of the great 20th century physicists myself – through my father. My family background enabled me to know these great scientists not only as scientists but as people.  

David's book list on the lives of 20th century physicists

David N. Schwartz Why did David love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of Quantum Physics for Babies

Ethlie Ann Vare Author Of WOOF!

From my list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid.

Who am I?

I’m a Boomer. I was expected to read books about well-behaved children (Fun with Dick and Jane, 1940) or happy animals (The Poky Little Puppy, 1942), or going to bed quietly (Goodnight Moon, 1947). Why do you think my cohort has so much love for Dr. Seuss? The Cat in the Hat (1957) was a brat, and kids love a brat. The rhymes were smart, and kids need smart. Today, I get to read books to my grandkids that have edge, and books that don’t talk down to them. They deserve it, they won’t settle for less, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun for me.

Ethlie's book list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid

Ethlie Ann Vare Why did Ethlie love this book?

It’s hard to pick a favorite from Chris Ferrie’s science books for kids: Pythagorean Theorem for Babies? ABC’s of Oceanography? My First 100 Bug Words? I love them all.

Big print, simple illustrations, indestructible pages (because the first thing a baby learns about biology is that chewing is cool…) Plus, it’s a better science education than most American public schoolchildren are getting in 10th grade.

Collect the set; they also look impressive on a bookshelf.

By Chris Ferrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fans of Chris Ferrie's Organic Chemistry for Babies, Rocket Science for Babies, and 8 Little Planets will love this introduction to quantum physics for babies and toddlers!
It only takes a small spark to ignite a child's mind.
Written by an expert, Quantum Physics for Babies is a colorfully simple introduction to the principle that gives quantum physics its name. Babies (and grownups!) will discover that the wild world of atoms never comes to a standstill. With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, this installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic…


Book cover of The World According to Physics

Brian Clegg Author Of What Do You Think You Are? The Science of What Makes You You

From my list on making the deep mysteries of science approachable.

Who am I?

I’m a science writer with over 40 books published. Science is central to all our modern lives—but for many people it feels remote, and difficult to understand. I love the opportunity to communicate science—to turn it from a collection of facts into stories that people can relate to. I always read popular science before I got into writing, but, if anything, I read it even more now. My own background is physics and math—and I enjoy reading and writing about that—but sometimes, it’s particularly interesting to pull together different aspects of science that affect all of us, crossing disciplines and uncovering the wonders that science bring us.

Brian's book list on making the deep mysteries of science approachable

Brian Clegg Why did Brian love this book?

In this compact hardback, physicist Jim Al-Khalili outlines in a straightforward way what he describes as the “three pillars of physics”. These don’t overlap much with the physics many of us will have done at school: they are relativity, quantum theory, and thermodynamics. Yet Al-Khalili shows how these three topics help us understand how everything works. In an approachable way, without a single equation, we get a feel for the power of physics. Al-Khalili’s personality and enthusiasm shine through.

By Jim Al-Khalili,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World According to Physics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Quantum physicist, New York Times bestselling author, and BBC host Jim Al-Khalili offers a fascinating and illuminating look at what physics reveals about the world

Shining a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics, Jim Al-Khalili invites us all to understand what this crucially important science tells us about the universe and the nature of reality itself.

Al-Khalili begins by introducing the fundamental concepts of space, time, energy, and matter, and then describes the three pillars of modern physics-quantum theory, relativity, and thermodynamics-showing how all three must come together if we are ever to have a full…


Book cover of Lectures on Quantum Mechanics

Andrew Zangwill Author Of Modern Electrodynamics

From my list on titles for physics graduate students.

Who am I?

I am a physics professor with a passion for teaching. When I was a graduate student, I took required courses in classical mechanics, classical electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. Some of the textbooks assigned by my professors were good; some were not so good. In every case, it was extremely helpful to read what other authors had to say about these foundational subjects. Four of the five books I recommend below are my personal favorites among these serious physics books. My fifth book choice is less serious and does not teach physics, but it will improve your graduate student experience nonetheless.

Andrew's book list on titles for physics graduate students

Andrew Zangwill Why did Andrew love this book?

This book helped me pass my PhD qualifying exam. The writing style is crisp and qualitative arguments abound. Baym treats perturbation theory and scattering theory particularly nicely and your interest will never flag because he illustrates the formal theory with wonderfully chosen examples like K-meson interference effects, the Van der Waals interaction, Cooper pairing, spin resonance, multipole radiation, Klein’s paradox, and the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss experiment.  A special treat not found in other textbooks is a discussion of Julian Schwinger’s unique take on the quantum theory of angular momentum.

By Gordon Baym,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

These lecture notes comprise a three-semester graduate course in quantum mechanics at the University of Illinois. There are a number of texts which present the basic topics very well; but since a fair quantity of the material discussed in my course was not available to the students in elementary quantum mechanics books, I was asked to prepare written notes. In retrospect these lecture notes seemed sufficiently interesting to warrant their publication in this format. The notes, presented here in slightly revised form, consitutute a self-contained course in quantum mechanics from first principles to elementary and relativistic one-particle mechanics. Prerequisite to…


Book cover of The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does)

Art Hobson Author Of Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics' Most Fundamental Theory

From my list on quantum physics and how the universe works.

Who am I?

Since my first college course in quantum physics, I have been fascinated with this enigmatic, infinitely interesting theory. It's our most fundamental description of the universe, it's been found to be unerringly accurate, yet it's quite subtle to interpret. Even more intriguingly, "nobody really understands quantum physics" (as Richard Feynman put it). For example, the theory's central concept, the wave function, is interpreted radically differently by different physicists. I have always yearned to grasp, at least to my own satisfaction, a comprehensive understanding of this theory. Since retirement 23 years ago, I have pursued this passion nearly full-time and found some answers, leading to several technical papers and a popular book.

Art's book list on quantum physics and how the universe works

Art Hobson Why did Art love this book?

This is a competent, charming account of the various mind-boggling quantum phenomena. It includes the uncertainty principle, the quantum atom, how quanta interact, the quantum vacuum, and the Standard Model. The book also ventures into the discussion of the transistor (the device behind the digital revolution) and the death of stars. Uniquely, we learn why all these results follow the basic principles of quantum physics. The authors explain these phenomena in terms of a qualitative version of Feynman's path-analysis approach to quantum physics. I hasten to emphasize that this analysis is understandable by non-scientists, and shines a nice light on why the quantum world has the unexpected properties that it does have. Cox's popular writings are widely read in the UK. Both authors are physics professors at Manchester University.

By Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Quantum Universe , Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw approach the world of quantum mechanics in the same way they did in Why Does E=mc2? and make fundamental scientific principles accessible,and fascinating,to everyone. The subatomic realm has a reputation for weirdness, spawning any number of profound misunderstandings, journeys into Eastern mysticism, and woolly pronouncements on the interconnectedness of all things. Cox and Forshaw's contention? There is no need for quantum mechanics to be viewed this way. There is a lot of mileage in the weirdness" of the quantum world, and it often leads to confusion and, frankly, bad science.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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