Six books that made me love science
A really great book can sometimes be so inspiring for us to make us change the course of our life. But really great books are hard to come across! In this article, I take you on a journey through six popular science books that left a mark on me.
- Il mago dei numeri — The number devil by Hans M. Enzensberger
I was given this book as a gift when I was 7 years old. I remember reading and re-reading it as a kid and teenager, I loved it. The book tells a story of a devil who appears in the dreams of the main character, Roberto, and tells him about funny, interesting, surprising mathematical patterns and concepts from everyday life. From the Fibonacci sequence to exponentials, the concept of zero, fractions and even factorials, I think I actually learnt most of Maths from this book.
2. Entanglement by Amir D. Aczel
While in high school I attended a book club. This was not a usual book club, the school teachers (any subject) would propose a book they liked and we would read it and discuss it at the club. Back then I was already into Physics, so I chose to follow my physics teacher’s recommendation and read Entanglement. I was probably 16 when I read this book and I far from understood it, however, it opened the door for me towards this strange and fascinating world of quantum physics. The book discusses entanglement and tells the story of its theory, focusing particularly on two main figures: Einstein and Bell.
3. Surely you are joking Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman
Not only was Richard Feynman one of the most brilliant scientists of all time, he was also a really funny guy. Of course, this transpires in this collection of stories from his life. One thing that always struck me about him was how curious he was, not just about physics, but about pretty much everything he experienced. This led him to try out lots and lots of activities, from drumming to sketching and to hanging out with a variety of crowds. I’ve always found his open-mindedness and curiosity to be hugely inspiring.
4. Seven brief lessons on physics by Carlo Rovelli
I read this book a few years after graduating with a physics degree and I found it to be an exquisite distillation of what we know about the universe and the laws of nature.
5. How the hippies saved physics by David Kaiser
If you are like me, counterculture and spirituality have a significant pull. Now, mix that with quantum information and you get this historical book going back to the roots of the field in the 1960s, when a bunch of scientists and intellectuals would meet for what sound like the most fun conferences of all time (they involved bathtubs..!).
6. Radioactive by Lauren Redniss
An extremely beautiful graphic novel telling the story of Marie Curie. This book is so beautifully made, each illustration is a work of art accompanying Marie’s captivating story, her love for science, her discovery of X-rays, and the romances and heartbreaks that accompany her scientific achievements.