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Dan Hooper's Top Book Recommendations

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

Is the universe infinite or just really big? With this question, the gifted young cosmologist Janna Levin not only announces the central theme of her intriguing and controversial new book but establishes herself as one of the most direct and unorthodox voices in contemporary science. For even as she sets out to determine how big “really big” may be, Levin gives us an intimate look at the day-to-day life of a globe-trotting physicist, complete with jet lag and romantic disturbances.

Nimbly synthesizing geometry, topology, chaos and string theories, Levin shows how the pattern...
Recommended by Dan Hooper, and 1 others.

Dan HooperThere’s not another book out there like it. It is truly unique. I read it when I was a postdoc. I read a lot of popular science, but I read this book and thought, ‘this is an entirely different genre of science writing!’ It’s very personal. She interweaves stories about her science and her science research from a first-person perspective with stuff going on in her personal life— her troubles with... (Source)

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Black Holes & Time Warps

Einstein's Outrageous Legacy

Ever since Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity burst upon the world in 1915 some of the most brilliant minds of our century have sought to decipher the mysteries bequeathed by that theory, a legacy so unthinkable in some respects that even Einstein himself rejected them.

Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to...
Recommended by Dan Hooper, Sean M Carroll, and 2 others.

Dan HooperThis book is just plain fun. I said before that if somebody asked me for a book to learn about relativity, I probably wouldn’t pick Einstein’s: I would pick Kip Thorne’s. (Source)

Sean M CarrollKip Thorne’s book mostly focuses on space time. It is really the most modern exposition yet at a popular level of Einstein’s theory of relativity…So if you want to know what a wormhole is, and how time machines might work, this is the book for you. (Source)

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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...

Dan HooperSteve Weinberg is arguably the most brilliant physicist of the last many decades. He’s an absolute luminary. He also happens to be a really good writer and communicator. I’ve liked all of the books of his I’ve read, but I picked The First Three Minutes because it is the classic book about the Big Bang and the first three minutes of our universe’s history. (Source)

Tim RadfordNot only is it the beginning of the universe, it’s the beginning of books about the universe. (Source)

David GoldbergAnother one that has to be on any list like this is The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize-winner. It’s a relatively slim volume, in which he describes what happened in the first three minutes of the Big Bang, as it was known and understood back then [1977]. We’ve learned a fair amount since then and some of the details in his original version are a little off, but the basic... (Source)

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A Brief History of Time

In the ten years since its publication in 1988, Stephen Hawking's classic work has become a landmark volume in scientific writing, with more than nine million copies in forty languages sold worldwide. That edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the intervening years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic worlds. These observations have confirmed many of Professor Hawking's theoretical predictions in the first edition of his book, including the recent discoveries of... more

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Dan HooperEverybody knows Hawking’s greatest contributions: understanding that black holes radiate light and other particles, that they contain entropy and all these things that no one imagined before him. Hawking and Roger Penrose also worked out the Big Bang singularity, the very moment of creation. To hear him describe some of these things with his own word choices, his own phrasing—not to mention his... (Source)

Adam Hart-DavisWhen Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time..his publisher told him that every equation he left in would halve the number of readers (Source)

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Already internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bear not only on Higgs bosons and extra dimensions but now also on our deepest personal questions.  Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Does human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview?

In short chapters filled with intriguing historical...

Elon MuskHighly recommend. (Source)

Dan HooperMost physicists think they’re good at philosophy when they’re actually terrible at it. That’s why I thought The Big Picture really stood out. It’s asking questions that philosophers of science might ask, from the perspective of a physicist who is also informed as a philosopher. (Source)

K Ken NakamuraI finished "The BIG Picture" by @seanmcarroll It is a great book, must read for everyone. I have 2 comments: 1) In P134, the author implied that even History can be considered a science, which was quite surprise for me. (to be continued) (Source)

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