100 books like The Second Creation

By Charles C. Mann, Robert P. Crease,

Here are 100 books that The Second Creation fans have personally recommended if you like The Second Creation. 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 Massive: The Higgs Boson and the Greatest Hunt in Science

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

This book tells the history of the development of the theory of the Higgs boson. It names names and gives dates over the past half a century, pointing out who the major players were and how they interacted as the theory was developed. Perhaps the first surprise is it wasn’t all done by Peter Higgs. Indeed, Higgs was one of many laboring on this very interesting theoretical challenge. And, as I was a member of the research group that discovered the Higgs boson, I was very interested in understanding the history of the theory.

By Ian Sample,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the early 1960s, three groups of physicists, working independently in different countries, stumbled upon an idea that would change physics and fuel the imagination of scientists for decades. That idea was the Higgs boson - to find it would be to finally understand the origins of mass - the last building block of life itself. Now, almost 50 years later, that particle has finally been discovered.

Award-winning science writer Ian Sample weaves together the personal stories and intense rivalries of the teams of scientists behind the Higgs boson. Massive is a tale of grand ambition, trans-Atlantic competition, clashing egos…


Book cover of The Large Hadron Collider: The Extraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Stuff That Will Blow Your Mind

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

It is perhaps unfair to pick this book, as it is one I wrote, but it really is an unparalled book on the subject of the Large Hadron Collider (or LHC), currently the most powerful particle accelerator on the planet. The book contains some physics and technical information on the LHC and the detectors arrayed around it. It tells the stories of the startup, including the catastrophic damage that took two years to repair, and the accelerator’s triumphant return to operations. It tells insider tales of the assembly of the detectors and also gives an insider’s view of the discovery of the Higgs boson. No other book gives the reader such an intimate window seat to see how this amazing technical leviathan came into being.

By Don Lincoln,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An insider's history of the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider: why it was built, how it works, and the importance of what it has revealed.

Since 2008 scientists have conducted experiments in a hyperenergized, 17-mile supercollider beneath the border of France and Switzerland. The Large Hadron Collider (or what scientists call "the LHC") is one of the wonders of the modern world-a highly sophisticated scientific instrument designed to re-create in miniature the conditions of the universe as they existed in the microseconds following the big bang. Among many notable LHC discoveries, one led to the 2013 Nobel…


Book cover of Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

While scientists know a great deal about the matter around us, it turns out that ordinary matter is a mere 5% of the matter and energy of the universe. A full 95% is of an unknown type. A substance called dark matter makes up 25% of the energy budget of the universe, while dark energy makes up the remaining 70%. This book focuses on the unknown 95% of the universe. No person will understand the rules that govern the universe, without a thorough understanding of these as-yet-undiscovered substances.

By Brian Clegg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Matter and Dark Energy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Clear and compact ... It's hard to fault as a brief, easily digestible introduction to some of the biggest questions in the Universe' Giles Sparrow, BBC Four's The Sky at Night, Best astronomy and space books of 2019: 5/5

All the matter and light we can see in the universe makes up a trivial 5 per cent of everything. The rest is hidden. This could be the biggest puzzle that science has ever faced.

Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should…


Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

Book cover of Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

What is my book about?

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

What is this book about?

Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread…


Book cover of At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of Our Universe's First Seconds

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

If one sets out to understand the universe, one thing one needs to do is understand the laws and rules that govern the matter and energy that makes up the cosmos. The second thing one needs to understand is how it came into existence. In this book, Dan Hooper describes what we know about the first few minutes. Hooper is a theoretical cosmologist at Fermilab, America’s flagship particle physics laboratory. He’s also an excellent author, with a great narrative style. If you want to understand how the Big Bang banged, this is the book for you.

By Dan Hooper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new look at the first few seconds after the Big Bang-and how research into these moments continues to revolutionize our understanding of our universe

Scientists in the past few decades have made crucial discoveries about how our cosmos evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. But there remains a critical gap in our knowledge: we still know very little about what happened in the first seconds after the Big Bang. At the Edge of Time focuses on what we have recently learned and are still striving to understand about this most essential and mysterious period of time at the…


Book cover of Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction

Craig Callender Author Of What Makes Time Special?

From my list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of science who has an obsession with time. People think this interest is a case of patronymic destiny, that it’s due to my last name being Callender. But the origins of “Callender” have nothing to do with time. Instead, I’m fascinated by time because it is one of the last fundamental mysteries, right up there with consciousness. Like consciousness, time is connected to our place in the universe (our sense of freedom, identity, meaning). Yet we don’t really understand it because there remains a gulf between our experience of time and the science of time. Saint Augustine really put his finger on the problem in the fifth century when he pointed out that it is both the most familiar and unfamiliar thing.

Craig's book list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking

Craig Callender Why did Craig love this book?

I’ve never met Nahin but I recognize in him a kindred spirit of someone similarly obsessed with time. If you want to know about time travel, here it is in all its glory. The “tech notes” at the end show that this is a labor of love. Not only will you encounter some of the most fascinating physics (in the works of Godel, Novikov, Thorne, Tipler, and dozens more), but you’ll also learn about early science fiction, the threat of fatalism, the history of the idea that time is the fourth dimension, and more.

By Paul J. Nahin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book explores the idea of time travel from the first account in English literature to the latest theories of physicists such as Kip Thorne and Igor Novikov. This very readable work covers a variety of topics including: the history of time travel in fiction; the fundamental scientific concepts of time, spacetime, and the fourth dimension; the speculations of Einstein, Richard Feynman, Kurt Goedel, and others; time travel paradoxes, and much more.


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

Chris Ferrie Author Of Where Did the Universe Come From? and Other Cosmic Questions: Our Universe, from the Quantum to the Cosmos

From my list on quantum physics that are also the most accessible.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of quantum physics—the most notoriously complicated science humans have ever invented. While the likes of Albert Einstein commented on how difficult quantum physics is to understand, I disagree! Ever since my mum asked me—back while I was a university student—to explain to her what I was studying, I’ve been on a mission to make quantum physics as widely accessible as possible. Science belongs to us all and we should all have an opportunity to appreciate it!

Chris' book list on quantum physics that are also the most accessible

Chris Ferrie Why did Chris love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

James Gleick is one of the best popular science writers we have, and this classic biography of everyone’s favorite physicist was the first to peel back the curtain and give readers a deeper look into the man, his work, and his life. Behind the clowning and the joking was a deep sadness that Feynman carried with him throughout his life. But his contributions to physics, particularly quantum electrodynamics, put him in the legendary category. 

By James Gleick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To his colleagues, Richard Feynman was not so much a genius as he was a full-blown magician: someone who “does things that nobody else could do and that seem completely unexpected.” The path he cleared for twentieth-century physics led from the making of the atomic bomb to a Nobel Prize-winning theory of quantam electrodynamics to his devastating exposé of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. At the same time, the ebullient Feynman established a reputation as an eccentric showman, a master safe cracker and bongo player, and a wizard of seduction.

Now James Gleick, author of the bestselling Chaos, unravels teh…


Book cover of Physical Models of Living Systems: Probability, Simulation, Dynamics

Brad Roth Author Of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology

From my list on physics in medicine and biology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been teaching physics applied to biology for decades. When working at the National Institutes of Health, I realized that most biologists don’t know physics. While I appreciate the complexity that evolution generates, I find the simplicity and generality of physics in explaining life to be amazing and captivating. When I taught biological physics to undergraduates at Oakland University, I strived to find elementary “toy” models that the students could analyze and that provided valuable insight. The books on this list all adopt a similar point of view: physics provides unity to the diversity of life.

Brad's book list on physics in medicine and biology

Brad Roth Why did Brad love this book?

Philip Nelson is a giant in the field of biological physics. I’ve never seen anyone combine words, pictures, mathematical formulas, and computer code so seamlessly into physical models of living systems.

His book might not be as relaxing a read as some others—you really have to do the problems and assignments to get the most out of it—but I can think of no other text that will better teach you how to do science at the interface between physics and biology.

Students beware: It may change your life!

By Philip Nelson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Physical Models of Living Systems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning prof brings you from first-year classes to the frontiers of systems and synthetic biology, epidemic modeling, and imaging. Physical Models of Living Systems is a university textbook that integrates those cutting-edge topics with classic results in statistical inference, control theory, biophysical chemistry and mechanobiology, immunology, and neuroscience, as well as guiding you to create your own stochastic simulations. Instead of offering a huge pile of facts, the discovery-style exposition frequently asks you to reflect on "How could anything like that happen at all?" and then shows how scientists have incrementally peeled back the layers of mystery surrounding these beautiful…


Book cover of Time and Chance

Steven E. Landsburg Author Of Can You Outsmart an Economist?

From my list on the biggest questions.

Why am I passionate about this?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about things like why there is something instead of nothing, why we can remember the past but not the future, and how consciousness arises. Although I’m a professor of economics, I take such things seriously enough to have published some papers in philosophy journals, and even a whole book about philosophy called The Big Questions. These are some of the books that sharpened my thinking, inspired me to think more deeply, and convinced me that good writing can render deep ideas both accessible and fun.

Steven's book list on the biggest questions

Steven E. Landsburg Why did Steven love this book?

I vividly remember reading this book some years ago. You probably don’t remember it at all, even if you’re going to take my advice and read it tomorrow. That’s pretty odd when you think about. Why should we remember the past but not the future?

It does no good to echo platitudes like “the future hasn’t happened yet”. You could as well say “the past is already over”, which is equally true and equally irrelevant. The laws of physics tie the past to the present and the future to the present in exactly the same way. Any process that can run one direction in time can run in the other. So if the past can leave imprints on our memory, why can’t the future?

David Albert wants to make you appreciate the question, and then he wants to tell you the answer. Albert is that rarest of birds: A philosopher…

By David Z. Albert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is an attempt to get to the bottom of an acute and perennial tension between our best scientific pictures of the fundamental physical structure of the world and our everyday empirical experience of it. The trouble is about the direction of time. The situation (very briefly) is that it is a consequence of almost every one of those fundamental scientific pictures--and that it is at the same time radically at odds with our common sense--that whatever can happen can just as naturally happen backwards.

Albert provides an unprecedentedly clear, lively, and systematic new account--in the context of a…


Book cover of How Physics Makes Us Free

John T. Maier Author Of Options and Agency

From my list on defending the reality of free will.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton. From the beginning of my work in philosophy, I have been interested in the nature of agency: what is it to be an agent, and how is agency even possible in the first place? These questions naturally drew me to the metaphysics of free will, as well as related topics in the logic and semantics of agentive modality (that is, the kind of possibility and necessity that is characteristic of agents). Much of my recent work has been on more clinical issues, especially on understanding addiction. I continue to be fascinated by fundamental topics in metaphysics, and especially the question of free will.

John's book list on defending the reality of free will

John T. Maier Why did John love this book?

Ismael is one of our leading philosophers of physics, and of fundamental questions more generally.

This book is a comprehensive exploration of the intersection of physics and free will, with the surprising moral signaled by her title. Properly understood, contemporary physics, even if it is deterministic, does not threaten free will. On the contrary, it helps to explain how free beings like us are possible in the first place.

By J.T. Ismael,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1687 Isaac Newton ushered in a new scientific era in which laws of nature could be used to predict the movements of matter with almost perfect precision. Newton's physics also posed a profound challenge to our self-understanding, however, for the very same laws that keep airplanes in the air and rivers flowing downhill tell us that it is in principle possible to predict what each of us will do every second of our entire lives, given the early conditions of the
universe.

Can it really be that even while you toss and turn late at night in the throes…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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