The most recommended physics books

Who picked these books? Meet our 92 experts.

92 authors created a book list connected to physics, and here are their favorite physics books.
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Book cover of Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness

Mitch Horowitz Author Of Daydream Believer: Unlocking the Ultimate Power of Your Mind

From my list on the extra-physical potentials of the mind.

Who am I?

I'm a PEN Award-winning historian of alternative spirituality and a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library. I track the impact and substance of supernatural beliefs—a source of fascination since my Queens, NY, boyhood—in books including Occult America, The Miracle Club, and Uncertain Places. I often say that if you do not write your own history, it gets written for you—usually by people who may not care about or even understand the values that emanate from your work. Given my personal dedication to the spiritual search, I call myself a believing historian (which most historians of religion actually are). I labor to explore the lives, ideas, and practices behind esoteric spirituality.

Mitch's book list on the extra-physical potentials of the mind

Mitch Horowitz Why did Mitch love this book?

The most controversial aspect of nearly a century of research in quantum mechanics is how the perspective of an observer, either sentient or mechanical, determines reality on the subatomic scale. What does this say—if anything—about life in our above-ground, macro world? With zero sensationalism and great rigor, not to mention witty and accessible writing, physicists Rosenblum and Kuttner sort out questions of particle mechanics, quantum theory, and consciousness in a manner that is understandable to the layperson yet faithful to the findings of this most confounding of the hard sciences. 

By Bruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in science and the basis of one-third of our economy. They found, to their embarrassment, that with their theory, physics encounters consciousness. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and anecdotes about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, emphasizing what is and what is not speculation. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is heatedly controversial. But…


Book cover of Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution

Tim Maudlin Author Of Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory

From my list on quantum theory and its history.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy at New York University, but my interests have always fallen at the intersection of physics and philosophy. Unable to commit to just one side or the other, I got a joint degree in Physics and Philosophy from Yale and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. My fascination with Bell’s Theorem began when I read an article in Scientific American in 1979, and I have been trying to get to the bottom of things ever since. My most recent large project is a Founder and Director of the John Bell Institute for the Foundations of Physics.

Tim's book list on quantum theory and its history

Tim Maudlin Why did Tim love this book?

Beller did a lot of the historical work that Becker relies on, delving deeply into the personal interaction between Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and the other founders of quantum theory. The presentation is more scholarly than Becker’s but is a goldmine for anyone who wants to understand the fine details of how quantum theory emerged from that set of distinctive personalities.

By Mara Beller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work seeks to show that science is rooted not just in conversation but in disagreement, doubt and uncertainty. Mara Beller argues that it is precisely this culture of dialogue and controversy within the scientific community that fuels creativity. Beller draws her argument from her reading of the history of the quantum revolution, especially the development of the Copenhagen interpretation. One of several competing approaches, this version succeeded largely due to the rhetorical skills of Niels Bohr and his colleagues. Using archival research, Beller shows how Bohr and others marketed their views, misrepresenting and dismissing their opponents as "unreasonable" and…


Book cover of Q is for Quantum

Michael G. Raymer Author Of Quantum Physics: What Everyone Needs to Know

From my list on quantum physics and quantum technology for beginners.

Who am I?

I am a professor of physics, passionate about researching physics and inspiring non-scientists to enjoy learning about physics. My research addresses how to use quantum physics to accelerate the development of quantum information science including quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum measurement. My current projects are in developing quantum satellite communications, increasing the precision of telescopes, and constructing a quantum version of the Internet—the Quantum Internet. These topics revolve around quantum optics—the study of how light interacts with matter. I originated the idea of a National Quantum Initiative and lobbied the U.S. Congress to pass it into law, resulting in large investments in the new, exciting field of quantum technology.

Michael's book list on quantum physics and quantum technology for beginners

Michael G. Raymer Why did Michael love this book?

This masterful book goes one step further and presents a game-based analogy that goes a long way toward explaining how a quantum computer actually works. Working through the book, one gains an understanding of how qubits can be quantum entangled and how entanglement leads to computing tasks that could not be performed on an ordinary computer. Deceptively simple in appearance, the method leads you deep into the inner workings of quantum logic operations without realizing you are digesting some pretty advanced concepts. The author knows of what he writes, as his theoretical discoveries led to one of the world’s most ambitious quantum computing efforts.  

By Terry Rudolph,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

COMPUTING. ENTANGLEMENT. REALITY. Books containing these three words are typically fluff or incomprehensible; this one is not. "Q is for Quantum" teaches a theory at the forefront of modern physics to an audience presumed to already know only basic arithmetic. Topics covered range from the practical (new technologies we can expect soon) to the foundational (old ideas that attempt to make sense of the theory). The theory is built up precisely and quantitatively. Deceptively vague jargon and analogies are avoided, and mysterious features of the theory are made explicit and not skirted. The tenacious reader will emerge with a better…


Book cover of The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity

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

From my list on the mysteries of the cosmos.

Who am I?

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?

What does tomorrow hold for the universe? Through this book, the authors step into the far future of the cosmos, starting from our universe today, lit with stars and galaxies, to a hundred trillion years hence when the last star has died. But at this point, the story has only just begun, and the authors continue to the distant time when matter will eventually melt, and black holes will evaporate into the background. Whilst some of the physics is speculative this is an exciting ride which reminds us, like everything, the universe is slowly and steadily winding down.

By Greg Laughlin, Fred Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE is a riveting biography of the universe which describes for the first time five distinct eras that Adams and Laughlin themselves defined as a result of their own research. From the first gasp of inflation that caused the Big Bang, through the birth of stars, to the fading of all light, THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE describes the death of our own sun, tremendous fiery supernovae explosions, dramatic collisions of galaxies, proton decay, the evaporation of black holes and the possibility of communications when there are no planets or stars or even black…


Book cover of Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian

Mark Burgess Author Of Smart Spacetime: How information challenges our ideas about space, time, and process

From Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Scientist Researcher Composer Author Multi-disciplinarian

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Mark Burgess Why did Mark love this book?

There are so many biographical versions of the quantum theory, but none that focus on Einstein’s achievements in such detail.

The narrative is rich in detail and compelling as a real page turner, filled with informative physics and background details from Einstein’s life story. I was sad to leave the book behind. By the end I wanted to know so much more.

By A. Douglas Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Einstein and the Quantum reveals for the first time the full significance of Albert Einstein's contributions to quantum theory. Einstein famously rejected quantum mechanics, observing that God does not play dice. But, in fact, he thought more about the nature of atoms, molecules, and the emission and absorption of light--the core of what we now know as quantum theory--than he did about relativity. A compelling blend of physics, biography, and the history of science, Einstein and the Quantum shares the untold story of how Einstein--not Max Planck or Niels Bohr--was the driving force behind early quantum theory. It paints a…


Book cover of Baby Loves Quantum Physics!

Chris Ferrie Author Of Quantum Physics for Babies

From my list on quantum physics to grow up on.

Who am I?

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 to grow up on

Chris Ferrie Why did Chris love this book?

Baby Loves Quantum Physics is a cute book about Schrodinger’s Cat, which was featured in a “thought-experiment” nearly 100 years ago about what quantum physics ought to look to big things like humans or cats. The illustrations are engaging for young readers and the language is pitched at a suitable level. This a great step on baby’s quantum quest!

By Ruth Spiro, Irene Chan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners.

Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book engages readers in a game of hide-and-seek with Schrodinger's famous feline. Can cat be awake and asleep at the same time? Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

With tongue firmly in cheek, the Baby Loves Science series introduces highly intellectual science concepts to the littlest learners.


Book cover of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

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.

Who am I?

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?

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

By Chad Orzel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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


Book cover of Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein

Michael DiRuggiero Author Of Einstein: The Man and His Mind

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

Who am I?

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?

Anyone studying Einstein (even cursorily) will quickly encounter Abraham Pais's classic. Published in 1982, it has stood like a monument, influencing every study of Einstein since. Pais knew Einstein well and sprinkles his book with invaluable personal anecdotes and first-hand information. Because it focuses on Einstein's science, it can be a little intimidating, but it is organized well and readers can bounce around the book easily, focusing on what they find most appealing

By Abraham Pais,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Subtle Is the Lord as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Subtle is the Lord is widely recognized as the definitive scientific biography of Albert Einstein. The late Abraham Pais was a distinguished physicist turned historian who knew Einstein both professionally and personally in the last years of his life. His biography combines a profound understanding of Einstein's work with personal recollections from their years of acquaintance, illuminating the man through the development of his scientific thought.

Pais examines the formulation of Einstein's theories of relativity, his work on Brownian motion, and his response to quantum theory with authority and precision. The profound transformation Einstein's ideas effected on the physics of…


Book cover of The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

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

From my list on the mysteries of the cosmos.

Who am I?

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?

Written by Nobel Prize winner, Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes unpacks the complex physics underway in the first few minutes of the universe. From an initial time where densities and temperatures were so high that no normal matter could exist, Weinberg follows the universe as it expands and cools, through the first nuclear matter, to the formation of the initial chemical elements and beyond. This book influenced me as a young cosmologist, revealing the power of physics in unraveling the events that shaped the universe in a blink of an eye.

By Steven Weinberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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 On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

Andi Diehn Author Of Forces: Physical Science for Kids

From my list on children’s books about physics.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by how the world works. What gives gravity so much power? Why is it easier to lift things with levers and pulleys? Why do we have electricity inside of our own bodies?! The world is amazing. My job editing nonfiction books for kids puts me on the front lines of some of the smartest science writing out there. While I had no hand in the making of the following five picture books about physics, they are still some of my favorites because of the way they peel back the mysterious layers of the world to show us the science hidden in our daily lives.

Andi's book list on children’s books about physics

Andi Diehn Why did Andi love this book?

You can’t talk physics without talking Einstein! This beautiful book explores Einstein’s curiosity and drive to know more, which began when he was young. His journey from nonverbal child to brilliant scientist is fascinating and inspiring for all kinds of readers.

By Jennifer Berne, Vladimir Radunsky (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On a Beam of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.