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Andrew Lawrence's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Andrew Lawrence recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Andrew Lawrence's favorite book recommendations of all time.

In Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science, Jim al-Khalili celebrates the forgotten pioneers who helped shape our understanding of the world.

For over 700 years the international language of science was Arabic. Surveying the golden age of Arabic science, Jim Al-Khalili reintroduces such figures as the Iraqi physicist Ibn al-Haytham, who practised the modern scientific method over half a century before Bacon; al-Khwarizmi, the greatest mathematician of the medieval world; and Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, a Persian polymath to rival Leonardo da Vinci.

Recommended by Andrew Lawrence, and 1 others.

Andrew LawrenceThis is a history book, but about the history of science. It was an eye opener to me because I thought I knew about Arabic science and I didn’t. The story that most scientists will tell you is, “First there were the Greeks who did these wonderful things, and then later on there was the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. In between the Arabs and Islam held the torch.” The picture you get... (Source)

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Perhaps the greatest physicist of the second half of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman changed the way we think about quantum mechanics, the most perplexing of all physical theories. Here Lawrence M. Krauss, himself a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, offers a unique scientific biography: a rollicking narrative coupled with clear and novel expositions of science at the limits. An immensely colorful persona in and out of the office, Feynman revolutionized our understanding of nature amid a turbulent life. Krauss presents that life—from the death of Feynman’s childhood... more
Recommended by Andrew Lawrence, and 1 others.

Andrew LawrenceRichard Feynman is a hero of every physicist. Until quite late in his life he was only known by physicists and wasn’t a public figure at all. That changed in the 1980s when he started writing popular books. He was a very fun and colourful character. (Source)

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In southern California, nearly a half century ago, a small band of researchers -- equipped with a new 200-inch telescope and a faith born of scientific optimism -- embarked on the greatest intellectual adventure in the history of humankind: the search for the origin and fate of the universe. Their quest would eventually engulf all of physics and astronomy, leading not only to the discovery of quasars, black holes, and shadow matter but also to fame, controversy, and Nobel Prizes. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos tells the story of the men and women who have taken eternity on their shoulders and... more

Deborah BlumDennis Overbye does a wonderful job of showing just how incredibly driven a lot of these scientists were to achieve scientific goals. (Source)

Stuart ClarkThis is a massively ambitious book, describing the way cosmology progressed in the 20th century through the stories of the people who made the advances. (Source)

Andrew LawrenceIf you want to know how astronomy really works then this is a book you should read. It is warts and all, about the competing personalities. (Source)

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Generations of amateur astronomers have called it simply Norton's: the most famous star atlas in the world. Now in a beautifully redesigned, two-color landmark 20th edition, this combination star atlas and reference guide has no match in the field.

First published in 1910, prompted by the appearance of Halley's Comet, Norton's owes much of its legendary success to its unique maps, arranged in slices or gores, each covering approximately one-fifth of the sky. Accompanying and complimenting the charts is a succinct descriptive and tabulated accounting of astronomical knowledge and...
Recommended by Andrew Lawrence, and 1 others.

Andrew LawrenceI thought it would be nice to have something that isn’t just grand theories and armchair stuff, but something that is really helpful. It is a kind of field guide – the amateur astronomer’s bible. Professional astronomers like it too. It is a little bit like an ordnance survey map of astronomy. People love it for the same reason, because it is both practical and beautiful. It has got maps of the... (Source)

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The Complete History of the Universe

Who knows what Brian May was thinking when he wrote "We Will Rock You" for Queen? As a lifelong astrophysics aficionado, he may have been thinking about the origins of the universe. He's certainly been thinking about it lately. May, a freshly minted astrophysics Ph.D., joins forces with legendary astronomer Patrick Moore and astrophysicist Chris Lintott in Bang! to consider the history of the universe from the Big Bang to Heat Death.

Space, time, and matter were birthed 13.7 billion years ago and will continue on longer than we are able to comprehend. Infinitesimally small...
Recommended by Philip Plait, Andrew Lawrence, and 2 others.

Philip PlaitThis book is a general overview of astronomy. It takes the reader on a tour of the entire universe, and tells you everything you want to know. (Source)

Andrew LawrencePatrick Moore really is an institution – a national treasure. (Source)

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