10 Recommended Books For Physics Students

Read these books in your lifetime.

10 recommended physics books india

The following is a complete (all-you-need) list of books that every physics student has to have in their library at home. From popular science best-sellers, to comprehensive guides and textbooks, this has it all. Want to study physics? Read these books!


A brief history of time

Hawking wrote the book for non-specialist readers with no prior knowledge of physics and astronomy. He clearly possessed a natural teacher's gifts: easy good-natured humour and ability to illustrate the complexities of the subject through well thought out analogies.

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The book has sold more than 10 million copies in 20 years, and was translated into more than 30 languages by 2001. You may like to know: what makes it everyone's favorite? There are many, many things, including:

  • A concise introduction by renowned astronomer, Carl Sagan, who declares Hawking a worthy successor of Newton and Dirac
  • A whole range of topics (from the big bang to black holes) makes it the single best book on astrophysics for the common reader
    10 recommended physics books india
  • Illustrations by award-winning artist, Ron Miller, add to the beauty and mystery of science
  • Mix of history and philosophy of physics and narration by Stephen Hawking

All in all, the book is a masterpiece, suggested to anyone who's driven by their curiosity. It infuses our thinking and questioning with a spiritual aspect: was there a beginning of time? why there's something rather than nothing? is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? and, is there a god required to create it?



Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, has often been called "the great explainer", particularly because of this book, which is held in high regard, especially by teachers, and even by leading physicists of the current times.

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There are 52 chapters in this book alone, and each topic has been presented with unwavering enthusiasm and insight. The book is based on a series of lectures delivered by Feynman (on the request of California Institute of Technology) to undergraduate students. Even professors attended the lectures!

The Feynman lectures on physics are beautiful books, which will teach you a considerable amount of the long-view of physics. They will also inspire you and have you feeling as though you really understand physics for the first time in your life. Mainly mechanics, radiation and heat is recommended for the start.



What is physics without maths? Plain observation, to be honest! Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to get yourself familiar with mathematical methods in order for you to translate the physical reality into concrete concepts and language. There are hundreds of books available but none of them as good as this one:

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What makes it stand out from the crowd? As you can tell from the image, it is a thick textbook (1362 pages) of math, containing 31 chapters: from preliminary algebra, to beginner and advanced-level calculus, from complex numbers to quantum operators. In short, whatever's required to do physics and engineering, the book has it!


Quantum physics

This book, written by none other than Professor H.C. Verma, serves as introduction to quantum mechanics from the ground level (pun intended). It contains in-depth physics as well as mathematical tools required to tackle the most bizarre science.

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Many call it the Indian Griffiths and rightly so. The book is lit with solved examples and numerical exercises at the end of each chapter. After concepts of physics, Professor Verma has shown once again, his gift of writing physics textbooks.



In this book, Professor Walter Lewin will introduce a mystery and then show how you can understand it with just a little bit of physics. 'The' Bill Gates himself has endorsed the book by saying, "The book captures Lewin's extraordinary intellect, passion for physics, and brilliance as a teacher."

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According to Walter Lewin, "Teachers who make physics boring are criminals.. and if you hate physics, you have probably learned it from the wrong teacher." Because, he says, "Physics is naturally interesting!"

For more than 40 years, Professor Lewin has honed his singular craft of making physics not only accessible but truly fun. This book has his stories, his research in physics, tips on teaching, and serves as an all-round motivation for students, to love and enjoy physics of everyday life.

10 recommended physics books india

When you finish reading the book, you will feel blessed, reminded of the tiny miracles of physics, happening all the time, around you. According to one review on Amazon, "If you like physics, this book's for you. If you hate physics, this book's for you. Lewin is phenomenal!"


Relativity

Published by Einstein himself with the aim of giving an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical toolkit of theoretical physics.

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Both special and general versions of the theory have been included in the book. Einstein has succeeded in putting across the fundamentals of his theory for undergraduate students before they can decide to go deep in the field.



If you want to have important notes, key terms, definitions and formulae of physics, in the palm of your hands, then this book's made for you. It is about 450 pages thick and recommended for revision purposes in all exams, especially for classes 11 and 12.

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The chapters have been illustrated with well-designed diagrams and illustrations with examples. The book is a handy book, which can be used as ready reference. On the whole, the data is precise and presented in a form that can help students in the long run.



The word "cosmos" has ancient origin but popularized first by American astronomer Carl Sagan in the twentieth century. In this book, he has told the story of fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution, science and civilization, in the most comprehensible and exciting way.



This book has 13 chapters on a range of topics: astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology and philosophy. In one sentence, "it is amalgamation of the sciences" in one book, a complete text that every mind passionate about learning must own.

In fact, the book also became an inspiration for the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, who went on to become an astrophysicist himself! He followed further in the footsteps of his hero and created a TV show of the same name, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

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Written some 38 years ago, the book single-handedly managed to draw the attention of people towards the wonders of science; for the first time in history, science no more seemed alien and became a thing of familiarity. Cosmos is relevant even today, for the data, the thought processes, the inferences remain all the same.



This well-known textbook is often called the bible for physics. It is recommended for high school students to prepare for competitive examinations like IIT-JEE. In 2002, the American Physical Society named it the most outstanding introductory physics text of the 20th century.

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The textbook covers all the fundamental topics in physics:

  • Mechanics
  • Waves
  • Thermodynamics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Optics
  • Special Relativity
  • Quantum theory
  • Nuclear physics
  • Cosmology

It is as good as its Indian equivalent Concepts of Physics by H.C. Verma. The book by Professor Verma is divided over two parts but this book is 1300 pages, all-in-one, making it the first choice of many aspirants.



Richard Feynman was an artist, a story-teller and an everyday joker whose life was a combination of his intelligence, curiosity and uncertainty. This book is his autobiography written with his friend Ralph Leighton.

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According to one review, "It is a good funny read for everyone who loves physics and common sense. Easy and engaging language which takes you back in those days when Feynman stood tall among all giants of physics like Bohr, Bethe, Oppenheimer etc."

Why is this book included in the list? Firstly, because it is entertainment coming from a Nobel Prize winning scientist! Of course when you're tired of struggling with maths and physics, you want to have some fun, and if reading happens to be your hobby, this book has numerous hilarious anecdotes from Feynman's personal life.

Second, this book also is motivational in nature. Feynman has continuously reminded his readers that even the idiotic, ordinary or average folk, can go on to achieve great things in life. He has then given valuable tips on how to learn and how to teach physics. So overall, this book is a good read for any physics student.

Comments

  1. I'd add Gamow's three: One Two Three Infinity, From Galileo to Einstein, The Thirty Years that Shook Physics. Prefer Arfken's Math Methods. Beiser's The Mainstream of Physics presents an algebra based introductory physics that respects the student. I don't think any of the Halliday and Resnick Physics was as concise and clear as the 1967 edition. Don't forget Dolciani's Modern Introductory Analysis (1967), Stein's Calculus (now in Dover paperback), Apostol Calculus in two volumes, and finally, Farlow's Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers (Dover paperback).

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  2. I need comprehensive books about energies and forces

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