100 books like The Hidden Reality

By Brian Greene,

Here are 100 books that The Hidden Reality fans have personally recommended if you like The Hidden Reality. 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 In Search of the Big Bang: The Life and Death of the Universe

Govert Schilling Author Of The Elephant in the Universe: Our Hundred-Year Search for Dark Matter

From my list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was caught by the astronomy virus when I was 15 years old and had my first view of Saturn through a telescope. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed writing about everything cosmic for a wide variety of audiences. Cosmology is one of my favorite topics, it’s really the most enigmatic scientific discipline. Who knows, someday, a young, brilliant 21st-century genius will find the solution to all those riddles by formulating a whole new view of the birth and evolution of the universe. That’s my secret hope.

Govert's book list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology

Govert Schilling Why did Govert love this book?

This 1986 book (revised in 1999) helped me to understand the Big Bang theory. I read it during a holiday in Italy when I was just starting my career as an astronomy writer. What I had read about the Big Bang so far was either extremely elementary (not really explaining anything at all) or full of jargon and dense with equations.

But John Gribbin knew exactly how to strike the perfect balance between the two. While my wife and one-year-old son were enjoying the swimming pool, I delved into quantum physics, expanding space, and the cosmic background radiation, all presented at a level an interested high-school student could understand.

Obviously, some parts of this book are obsolete by now, but it’s still one of my all-time favorites.

Book cover of The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

Govert Schilling Author Of The Elephant in the Universe: Our Hundred-Year Search for Dark Matter

From my list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was caught by the astronomy virus when I was 15 years old and had my first view of Saturn through a telescope. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed writing about everything cosmic for a wide variety of audiences. Cosmology is one of my favorite topics, it’s really the most enigmatic scientific discipline. Who knows, someday, a young, brilliant 21st-century genius will find the solution to all those riddles by formulating a whole new view of the birth and evolution of the universe. That’s my secret hope.

Govert's book list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology

Govert Schilling Why did Govert love this book?

This is my favorite book about the discovery of dark energythe mysterious stuff that is currently speeding up the expansion of the universe.

It all started in 1998 when cosmologists presented their evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. I was completely stunned and puzzled. I already knew that most of the mass in the universe is in the form of mysterious dark matter, but now I had to acknowledge that the cosmos also contains a large amount of equally puzzling dark energy.

Richard Panek’s book helped me to get to grips with this new reality: the people, planets, stars, and galaxies that we know of constitute just a few percent of everything there is. Panek is a skilled writer; I thoroughly enjoyed how his book not only describes the science but also portrays the scientists.

By Richard Panek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 4 Percent Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Fascinating . . . One of the most important stories in the history of science.”— Washington Post

In recent years, a handful of scientists has been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only 4 percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown.
Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of how scientists reached this cosmos-shattering conclusion. In vivid detail, he narrates the quest to find the “dark” matter and an even more bizarre substance called dark energy that make up 96 percent of the…


Book cover of Einstein's Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time

Govert Schilling Author Of The Elephant in the Universe: Our Hundred-Year Search for Dark Matter

From my list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was caught by the astronomy virus when I was 15 years old and had my first view of Saturn through a telescope. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed writing about everything cosmic for a wide variety of audiences. Cosmology is one of my favorite topics, it’s really the most enigmatic scientific discipline. Who knows, someday, a young, brilliant 21st-century genius will find the solution to all those riddles by formulating a whole new view of the birth and evolution of the universe. That’s my secret hope.

Govert's book list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology

Govert Schilling Why did Govert love this book?

I love it when I first read about new mind-boggling concepts in cosmology. That’s what happened with this elegant book about gravitational wavesminute undulations of spacetime produced by colliding black holes.

Einstein theorized about them long before I was born, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that scientists first started to really hunt for them. I never paid much interest until Marcia Bartusiak described the quest in much detail in her very accessible book back in 2000. Since then, I have become hooked on the subject.

It’s great to see that Bartusiak published an updated edition in 2017, shortly after gravitational waves were first detected. 

By Marcia Bartusiak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Einstein's Unfinished Symphony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new generation of observatories, now being completed worldwide, will give astronomers not just a new window on the cosmos but a whole new sense with which to explore and experience the heavens above us. Instead of collecting light waves or radio waves, these novel instruments will allow astronomers to at last place their hands upon the fabric of space-time and feel the very rhythms of the universe.

These vibrations in space-time-or gravity waves-are the last prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity yet to be observed directly. They are his unfinished symphony, waiting nearly a century to be heard.…


Book cover of On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking's Final Theory

Govert Schilling Author Of The Elephant in the Universe: Our Hundred-Year Search for Dark Matter

From my list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was caught by the astronomy virus when I was 15 years old and had my first view of Saturn through a telescope. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed writing about everything cosmic for a wide variety of audiences. Cosmology is one of my favorite topics, it’s really the most enigmatic scientific discipline. Who knows, someday, a young, brilliant 21st-century genius will find the solution to all those riddles by formulating a whole new view of the birth and evolution of the universe. That’s my secret hope.

Govert's book list on the mind-boggling mysteries of cosmology

Govert Schilling Why did Govert love this book?

This book may well be the next best thing to spending an afternoon with Stephen Hawking.

After all, Belgian theoretical physicist Thomas Hertog has been one of Hawking’s closest collaborators in the years before the wheelchair-bound genius died in 2018. I liked how Hertog alternates difficult theoretical concepts with his personal accounts and experiences of working with an iconic figure like Hawking.

I especially love this book because it is about one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of science: the true nature of time. In what Hertog calls "Hawking’s final theory," the laws of nature do not precede the Big Bang but co-evolve with the early universe itself.

I have to admit that parts of the book were really hard for me to understand, but I was flabbergasted by the suggestion that our observations may have a tangible influence on the evolution and the properties of the universe itself.

By Thomas Hertog,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Origin of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A wonderful book about Stephen Hawking's biggest legacy' Spectator
'Truly mind-stretching... Immensely rewarding' The Times

'This superbly written book offers insight into an extraordinary individual, the creative process, and the scope and limits of our current understanding of the cosmos' Sir Martin Rees

Stephen Hawking's closest collaborator offers the intellectual superstar's final thoughts on the universe.

Perhaps the biggest question Stephen Hawking tried to answer in his extraordinary life was how the universe could have created conditions so perfectly hospitable to life. In order to solve this mystery, Hawking studied the big bang origin of the universe, but his early…


Book cover of Relativity Visualized

Adrian Bardon Author Of A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time

From my list on time and our perception of time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University, with a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I teach courses in the philosophy of space and time, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of science. In addition to several authored and edited books on the philosophy of time, I have published many scholarly articles on time, perception, knowledge, and the history of the philosophy of time. I have always been attracted to the philosophy of time because time is quite simply at the root of everything: through the study of time we confront and illuminate the deepest possible questions both as to the nature of the physical world and as to the nature of human existence.

Adrian's book list on time and our perception of time

Adrian Bardon Why did Adrian love this book?

Relativity Visualized is simply the secret weapon for understanding Einstein’s theory of relativity. Professor of physics Lewis Carroll Epstein uses brilliant, accessible visualizations (and no equations!) to help any reader to a good conceptual grasp of special and general relativity. If you want relativity without the math, this is the one.

By Lewis Carroll Epstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The latest book in the brilliant, bestselling Sharpe series brings Sharpe to Portugal, and reunites him with Harper.

It is 1809 and Lieutenant Sharpe, who belongs to a small British army that has a precarious foothold in Portugal, is sent to look for Kate Savage, the daughter of an English wine shipper. But before he can discover the missing girl, the French onslaught on Portugal begins and the city of Oporto falls.

Sharpe is stranded behind enemy lines, but he has Patrick Harper, he has his riflemen and he has the assistance of a young, idealistic Portuguese officer. Together, they…


Book cover of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Dan Falk Author Of In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time

From my list on the universe for people who want the big picture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the universe since childhood – ever since my parents took me to the countryside in rural Nova Scotia, where the stars shone with wondrous intensity. At first, I borrowed books about space and the universe from our local library for fun; now, as a full-time science writer, I read these books to stay informed about the latest ideas shaping our understanding of the cosmos. (I also read them in order to review them on BookLab, a podcast I host together with science writer Amanda Gefter.) I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Dan's book list on the universe for people who want the big picture

Dan Falk Why did Dan love this book?

If you struggled with physics in high school – or even if you didn’t – this is the book for you. Rovelli, an Italian physicist, manages to take the most difficult concepts in physics, from relativity and quantum mechanics to the nature of space and time, and explain them in straightforward, everyday language. He spells out not only what these idea are, but why they matter. Thanks to Rovelli’s easy-going style, after a few pages you’ll forget that you’re even reading a physics book. It is, in a word, delightful.

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Brief Lessons on Physics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INDEPENDENT, ECONOMIST, TELEGRAPH, GUARDIAN, NEW SCIENTIST, EVENING STANDARD BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and our place in the world in seven enlightening lessons

'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking'

These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this beautiful and mind-bending introduction to…


Book cover of Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

Eugene Terry Tatum Author Of Flat Space Cosmology: A New Model of the Universe Incorporating Astronomical Observations of Black Holes, Dark Energy and Dark Matter

From my list on science of universe (cosmology).

Why am I passionate about this?

My passionate scientific interest in cosmology began several decades ago as a Stanford student while moon-lighting as a cloud chamber photo scanner at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). An initial interest in particle physics merged with an interest in cosmology because the Big Bang theory is about both. Developing a unique cosmology model and collaborating with other cosmologists around the world was a natural extension. Following numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, our book summarizing them was one, as well. Taking a passionate interest in anything and sharing it with others is an important first step!

Eugene's book list on science of universe (cosmology)

Eugene Terry Tatum Why did Eugene love this book?

This is the logical next step after reading Stephen Hawking’s book. Simon Singh has a PhD in particle physics, but his greatest talent, in my opinion, is as a science journalist who takes us on a fascinating tour of the universe and what our scientific discoveries tell us about it.

His book is comprehensive yet understandable for the interested layperson or budding scientist, which was reassuring to me at the time. What I loved the most about his book is that it is a stage filled with fascinating characters with a common and binding joy of discovery. I wanted to be one of them! 

By Simon Singh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem and The Code Book tells the story of the brilliant minds that deciphered the mysteries of the Big Bang. A fascinating exploration of the ultimate question: how was our universe created?

Albert Einstein once said: 'The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.' Simon Singh believes geniuses like Einstein are not the only people able to grasp the physics that govern the universe. We all can.

As well as explaining what the Big Bang theory actually is and why cosmologists believe it is an accurate description of the origins…


Book cover of Cosmology's Century: An Inside History of Our Modern Understanding of the Universe

Eugene Terry Tatum Author Of Flat Space Cosmology: A New Model of the Universe Incorporating Astronomical Observations of Black Holes, Dark Energy and Dark Matter

From my list on science of universe (cosmology).

Why am I passionate about this?

My passionate scientific interest in cosmology began several decades ago as a Stanford student while moon-lighting as a cloud chamber photo scanner at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). An initial interest in particle physics merged with an interest in cosmology because the Big Bang theory is about both. Developing a unique cosmology model and collaborating with other cosmologists around the world was a natural extension. Following numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, our book summarizing them was one, as well. Taking a passionate interest in anything and sharing it with others is an important first step!

Eugene's book list on science of universe (cosmology)

Eugene Terry Tatum Why did Eugene love this book?

I love P.G.E. Peebles’ book because it is a history with a personal perspective from one of the greatest academic cosmologists of our time. Peebles did more than anyone else to make cosmology a respectable field for academic study, including for myself.

His personal anecdotes give a unique and priceless “insider’s” point of view at the elbow of cosmology’s greatest teacher. I could put myself right there as he and his colleagues discovered Nature’s most closely held secrets!

By P. J. E. Peebles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cosmology's Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Nobel Prize-winning physicist P. J. E. Peebles, the story of cosmology from Einstein to today

Modern cosmology began a century ago with Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity and his notion of a homogenous, philosophically satisfying cosmos. Cosmology's Century is the story of how generations of scientists built on these thoughts and many new measurements to arrive at a well-tested physical theory of the structure and evolution of our expanding universe.

In this landmark book, one of the world's most esteemed theoretical cosmologists offers an unparalleled personal perspective on how the field developed. P. J. E. Peebles was at…


Book cover of Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

I love the way that theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder makes use of her knowledge of the subject to tell us more about our relationship with life, the universe, and everything. This is no dry science text—we discover why past, present, and future seem different, what we know (and can’t know) about how everything began and how it will end, whether or not the concept of free will makes scientific sense and more. What is particularly fascinating is the revelation that some apparently scientific theories have no basis in science—and that science can’t disprove some beliefs that scientists often criticize.

By Sabine Hossenfelder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"An informed and entertaining guide to what science can and cannot tell us." -The Wall Street Journal

"Stimulating . . . encourage[s] readers to push past well-trod assumptions [...] and have fun doing so." -Science Magazine

From renowned physicist and creator of the YouTube series "Science without the Gobbledygook," a book that takes a no-nonsense approach to life's biggest questions, and wrestles with what physics really says about the human condition

Not only can we not currently explain the origin of the universe, it is questionable we will ever be able to explain it. The…


Book cover of An Einstein Encyclopedia

Michael DiRuggiero Author Of Einstein: The Man and His Mind

From my list on Albert Einstein for the non-scientist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the co-founder and current owner of The Manhattan Rare Book Company. I’ve been in the rare book business for 25 years, specializing in the history of science with particular emphasis on material relating to Albert Einstein. Like many people, I’ve long been drawn to Einstein, attracted by his wisdom, curiosity, personality, approachability, and general decency. 

Michael's book list on Albert Einstein for the non-scientist

Michael DiRuggiero Why did Michael love this book?

This is probably the book I study the most when researching Einstein. Although comprehensive in scope, it is still easy to navigate, with clear chapter headings that allow the reader to find information quickly. While many people hear the word "encyclopedia" and expect dry and dull prose, that is not the case here, for it is a book designed to be read, not merely consulted. Near the end of the book, there is a chronological list of Einstein's papers with concise descriptions. This is a gift to anyone interested in Einstein's scientific life, since the authors make even the most difficult of Einstein's papers seem approachable.

By Alice Calaprice, Daniel Kennefick, Robert Schulmann

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Einstein Encyclopedia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the single most complete guide to Albert Einstein's life and work for students, researchers, and browsers alike. Written by three leading Einstein scholars who draw on their combined wealth of expertise gained during their work on the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, this authoritative and accessible reference features more than one hundred entries and is divided into three parts covering the personal, scientific, and public spheres of Einstein's life. An Einstein Encyclopedia contains entries on Einstein's birth and death, family and romantic relationships, honors and awards, educational institutions where he studied and worked, citizenships and immigration to America,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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