The most recommended particle physics books

Who picked these books? Meet our 13 experts.

13 authors created a book list connected to particle physics, and here are their favorite particle physics books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of particle physics book?


Book cover of Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments

Bill Lindsay Author Of Curse of a Devil

From Bill's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Curious Creative Stubborn Private Entertainer

Bill's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Bill Lindsay Why did Bill love this book?

I suppose I miss chemistry-believe it or not. This book is lab-only hands-on forensic techniques you can do yourself.

Tips and sources help amateur sleuths set up their own labs so they can get a more realistic sense of how real crime labs operate on a day-to-day basis. I’ve always enjoyed crime TV shows where they examine the evidence to present to court. Now one can learn how the process goes when obtaining equipment and performing these experiments.  

By Robert Bruce Thompson, Barbara Fritchmann Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you're taking a basic course in classical physics, or have a healthy curiosity for the way things work in the physical world, the Illustrated Guide to Home Physics Experiments provides an ideal hands-on introduction to physics lab techniques and data analysis. With this book and a few simple (and inexpensive) tools and materials, you'll learn to conduct experiments that answer questions about our world, make demonstrations to show off physical principles, and do theoretical lab work to discover how the world works. Perfect for do-it-yourselfers, home-schooled high school students, and college students, this book will help you: Learn everything…

Book cover of Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos

Ginger Johnson Author Of The Splintered Light

From my list on middle grade for feeding your senses.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s something truly magical about our ability to perceive the world through our senses. Our abilities to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch are like superpowers that we take for granted. Because of many amazing sensory experiences—like viewing the world from the top of a tower, feeling the pull of ocean waves at my feet, comparing flavors within chocolate, hearing wood thrushes in the forest—I find myself drawn to the beauty that our senses add to life. So, I’ve written two middle-grade novels (The Splintered Light and The Other Side of Luck) with an eye (and an ear) on sensory perception. I hope you enjoy these books!

Ginger's book list on middle grade for feeding your senses

Ginger Johnson Why did Ginger love this book?

When I was a young mother, I read this collection of essays about physics, cosmology, astronomy, etc., by the science writer K.C. Cole. As I was reading, I kept writing down quotes from it in a notebook, something that I don’t normally do. In my daily neighborhood walks with my infant son, my thoughts about this book and the cosmos collided with what was I was experiencing, and I was completely taken with the elegance of our world. This sparked the original idea for my own book. Though this collection was written for an adult audience, there are concepts, ideas, and thinking that are packaged up in glorious words: beautiful descriptions of the world we live in that are pretty mind-blowing. 

By K.C. Cole,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The universe comes down to earth in K. C. Cole's Mind Over Matter, a fresh and witty exploration of physics, cosmology, mathematics, astronomy, and more. Like no other science writer, Cole demystifies scientific concepts and humanizes the people who study them. Beginning with a discussion of how "the mind creates reality as well as muddles it," she then peeks into the stories behind science's great minds and into their playful side, and concludes by illuminating the relationship between science and society. Cole's remarkable work brings science to the reader's doorstep, revealing the universe to be elegant, intriguing, and relevant to…

Book cover of A Short History of Nearly Everything

Greg Brennecka Author Of Impact: How Rocks from Space Led to Life, Culture, and Donkey Kong

From my list on books to teach you something cool and make you laugh in the process.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t know anything at all about meteorites (or, really, space in general) until I took a cosmochemistry class during my first semester of a PhD program in geology. As soon as I learned that meteorites captured information about the start of the Solar System – the material we started with, hints about how planets evolve, and how meteorites changed the course of Earth – I was hooked. At the end of that class in 2007, I switched the main topic of my PhD research to studying meteorites and what they can tell us about the past, and I have been doing it ever since.

Greg's book list on books to teach you something cool and make you laugh in the process

Greg Brennecka Why did Greg love this book?

In my opinion, this is the best book ever written. By anyone. Of all time.

Sure, that is a bold statement, but A Short History has everything I personally want in a book: thoughtfully presented information that explains things I previously did not know and, of course, humor. Importantly, Bill Bryson has Bill Shakespearean abilities at storytelling, without all that troublesome early modern English obscuring the prose.

Bryson’s preeminent work is singularly responsible for getting me into reading (and writing) as an adult, and even played a big role in me doing the science I do today.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Short History of Nearly Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century and has sold over 2 million copies.

'Possibly the best scientific primer ever published.' Economist
'Truly impressive...It's hard to imagine a better rough guide to science.' Guardian
'A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide' The Times

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to…

Book cover of The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of 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 about the first three minutes of the Big Bang as conceived by a Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist. Who better than a particle physicist to give us his best guesses as to what went on when the very early universe was small, dense, and extremely hot?

I cherish Weinberg’s book because there is none other like it. He wrote it in a no-nonsense manner for science lovers outside of his very specialized field. Not being a theoretical particle physicist, it was a must for me to read!

By Steven Weinberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Nobel Prize-winning physicist explains what happened at the very beginning of the universe, and how we know, in this popular science classic.

Our universe has been growing for nearly 14 billion years. But almost everything about it, from the elements that forged stars, planets, and lifeforms, to the fundamental forces of physics, can be traced back to what happened in just the first three minutes of its life.

In this book, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg describes in wonderful detail what happened in these first three minutes. It is an exhilarating journey that begins with the Planck Epoch - the…

Book cover of Nobel Dreams: Power, Deceit and the Ultimate Experiment

Faye Flam Author Of The Score: How The Quest For Sex Has Shaped The Modern Man

From my list on the deep history of the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science journalist, podcaster and opinion columnist for the Bloomberg News Service. I’ve written for the New York Times, Science, Sky and Telescope, Psychology Today, New Scientist and other publications. I studied geophysics at Caltech, where I learned about climate change and the long history of our planet. I wrote about astrophysics and particle physics for Science Magazine before taking a job as a general science reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. There, I asked for the chance to write a weekly science column.  The editors said they wanted a sex column. I made the best of it, creating a column about sex in the natural world. 

Faye's book list on the deep history of the universe

Faye Flam Why did Faye love this book?

A journey into the way particle physics reveals the structure of inner space, told through the dramatic competition between two teams of physicists using the world’s first supercollider at CERN. The goal was to find two theoretical but never detected particles called the W and Z bosons. Jealousy, overbearing personalities, and the rush for glory.

By Gary Taubes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A renowned science writer examines the work being done by high-energy physicists in their quest to understand how the universe began, what it is made of, and where it is headed

Book cover of Science: A Four Thousand Year History

Emily Winterburn Author Of The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel: The Lost Heroine of Astronomy

From my list on historical women in science.

Why am I passionate about this?

Formerly curator of astronomy at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, I am an occasional writer and researcher and a now full-time primary school teacher in the north of England.  My popular books include The Stargazer’s Guide and The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel; I have also contributed to various academic publications, including a paper on William Herschel for Notes & Records of the Royal Society which won their 2014 Essay Award.

Emily's book list on historical women in science

Emily Winterburn Why did Emily love this book?

To properly understand where women fit in to the history of science, we need to have a fair grasp of what science and the history of science is, and this book offers a perfect introduction. It is the antidote to many linear “progress” driven narratives that insist that the history of western science is simply a straight line from the Greeks with each generation building and improving on the one before. This book attempts to tell the whole story of science, science from across the world, the internationalism of it, the politics, the interrelation between ideas and culture. Although not strictly about historical women in science, I’ve included it here as a kind of foundation to understanding the rest.

By Patricia Fara,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Science: A Four Thousand Year History rewrites science's past. Instead of focussing on difficult experiments and abstract theories, Patricia Fara shows how science has always belonged to the practical world of war, politics, and business. Rather than glorifying scientists as idealized heroes, she tells true stories about real people - men (and some women) who needed to earn their living, who made mistakes, and who trampled down their rivals in their quest
for success.

Fara sweeps through the centuries, from ancient Babylon right up to the latest hi-tech experiments in genetics and particle physics, illuminating the financial interests, imperial ambitions,…

Book cover of FlashForward

James A. Cusumano Author Of Cosmic Contact: The Next Earth

From my list on sci-fi novels that entertain and enlighten.

Why am I passionate about this?

Three events in my life have had a profound effect on the narratives created within my novels. After receiving a chemistry set for my 10th Christmas, I succeeded in causing an explosion, resulting in my extended hospitalization. While in the hospital, I had a near-death experience (NDE). During an amateur telescopic outing with a friend during our teenage years, we experienced a UFO sighting. While doing my doctoral thesis in experimental quantum physics, I began to sense a strong link between elements of quantum physics and consciousness. These events occasionally entered my thinking over the next decades. I developed a passion for writing novels to explore links between quantum physics and consciousness.

James' book list on sci-fi novels that entertain and enlighten

James A. Cusumano Why did James love this book?

I love this book because of its excellent job of tackling the nature of free will and consciousness and their impact on the human condition.

In 2009, particle physicist Lloyd Simcoe designed a high-energy experiment for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), designed to detect the Higgs Boson. Success would bring him the Nobel Prize. During the experiment, all those present lost consciousness for two minutes and seventeen seconds.

As it happens, the loss of consciousness is global. Without warning, seven billion people on Earth black out for those two minutes and seventeen seconds. Millions die as planes fall from the sky, people tumble down staircases, and cars plow into each other. People experience a glimpse of their life twenty-one years and six months in the future. Some see only darkness, death? The interlocking mosaic of these visions threatens the present and the future.

This book pursues profound questions. Do we…

By Robert J. Sawyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Suddenly everyone in the world loses consciousness for two minutes. Planes fall from the sky, there are millions of car crashes, millions die. And when everyone comes round they have had a glimpse of their life in the future.

When it awakes the world must live with the knowledge of what is to come.

Some saw themselves in new relationships, some saw exciting new technologies, some saw the stuff of nightmares. Some, young and old alike, saw nothing at all ...

A desperate search to find out what has happened begins. Does the mosaic of visions offer a clue?


Book cover of Quantum Space

Seth Giolle Author Of The Cane Stories

From Seth's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Game designer Amateur historian Gamer World builder 3D modeler

Seth's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Seth Giolle Why did Seth love this book?

It brings forth a plot fueled by string theory and quantum space, which is so rarely touched on in modern literature, and it brings these highly complex topics to the reader in such a way as to make them understandable to the lay reader.

I found the author’s use of suspense and dialogue engaging. I was carried on wanting to know more at each juncture, following the small tidbits of plotline like breadcrumbs towards an eventual feast. Further, the book left me edgy to read book 2 to see how the series unfolds.

By Douglas Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Space turned out to be deeper than anyone imagined.

High above the windswept plains of Kazakhstan, three astronauts on board a Russian Soyuz capsule begin their reentry. A strange shimmer in the atmosphere, a blinding flash of light, and the capsule vanishes in a blink as though it never existed.

On the ground, evidence points to a catastrophic failure, but a communications facility halfway around the world picks up a transmission that could be one of the astronauts. Tragedy averted, or merely delayed? A classified government project on the cutting edge of particle physics holds the clues, and with lives…

Book cover of Right Hand, Left Hand: The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures

Daniel Graham Author Of An Internet in Your Head: A New Paradigm for How the Brain Works

From my list on challenging everything you know about the brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am trained in physics but moved over to psychology and neuroscience partway through graduate school at Cornell University because I became fascinated with the stupefying complexity of brains. I found that a lot of the main ideas and approaches in these fields seemed flawed and limited—things like defining something to study such as “emotion” or “perception” without specifying what measurable quantities are necessary and sufficient to understand those things. Luckily, I was (and continue to be) mentored by independent thinkers like neuroanatomist Barbara Finlay and computational neuroscientist David Field, who instilled in me their spirit of free and deeply informed inquiry. Today, more and more brain researchers are rethinking established ideas.

Daniel's book list on challenging everything you know about the brain

Daniel Graham Why did Daniel love this book?

A popular myth that refuses to die is the idea that the left brain and right brain do quite different things. Chris McManus, a researcher of human perception, as well as a medical doctor, wrote the delightful book Right Hand, Left Hand in part to dispel these myths, but also to explore the wonderous world of laterality. From handedness, to how development builds a symmetrical organism, to asymmetries in subatomic particles, this exuberant book takes you on a grand tour of fascinating ideas and observations, told with the detail, color, and organization of a great symphony. 

By Chris McManus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A labor of love and enthusiasm as well as deep scientific knowledge, Right Hand, Left Hand takes the reader on a trip through history, around the world, and into the cosmos, to explore the place of handedness in nature and culture. Chris McManus considers evidence from anthropology, particle physics, the history of medicine, and the notebooks of Leonardo to answer questions like: Why are most people right-handed? Are left-handed people cognitively different from right-handers? Why is the heart almost always on the left side of the body? Why does European writing go from left to right, while Arabic and Hebrew…

Book cover of The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings

Geraint F. Lewis Author Of A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos

From my list on the mysteries of the cosmos.

Why am I passionate about this?

With a PhD in astrophysics, cosmology is my day job. My research focuses upon the dark-side, the dark matter and energy that have shaped the evolution of the universe. My scientific journey began long ago with “How and Why Wonder Books”, from dinosaurs and evolution to astronomy and space exploration. I have always devoured tales about the fundamental universe, not only the immensity of the cosmos around us, but also the lives of the tiny bits-and-pieces from which matter is made. I still read a lot of popular science, especially on the history of life on Earth, and the future impact of Artificial Intelligence. 

Geraint's book list on the mysteries of the cosmos

Geraint F. Lewis Why did Geraint love this book?

In the 1950s it was discovered that the cosmos was broken, a thing we boringly call parity violation. Physicists were shocked as they realized that the universe was not as perfect and symmetrical as they assumed. In his wonderful book, Gardner explores the meaning of symmetry and asymmetry in nature, from the fact that life prefers molecules with a particular twist, to the startling revelation that our universe seen in a mirror is not our universe. Whilst physicists have made their peace with a fundamentally broken universe, for the uninitiated the discovery is still disturbing.   

By Martin Gardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"What makes Gardner so appealing is his ease in exploring deep ideas . . . and making them accessible to the interested but nontechnical reader. This is a special talent and no one has ever displayed it quite as well as he does." — Los Angeles Times
"Absorbing; enlightening; lucid; witty; inventive. An exemplar of science writing at its very best." — American Mathematical Monthly
A substantial revision of Martin Gardner's earlier well-known work on mirror symmetry and asymmetry, The New Ambidextrous Universe takes readers on an extraordinary journey. With Gardner’s guidance, they explore the two fundamental scientific discoveries of…