Science books
Joseph Rushton Wakeling 
Science home . neuro . complexity . econo . maths

home . publications . books . links

This section is for books of general scientific interest — some pop science, some more specialized texts. You should also take a look at the book recommendations under the neural systems, complexity and econophysics sections of this site. There is some overlap between all these different lists, but each also contains some specialized texts which I don’t list here.

What is here is divided into a few sections: general science contains books of broad scope and also ‘pop science’ books. Maths & physics contains books on maths and physics methods that will be of interest to non-specialists, while computer programming is about exactly what it says, as well as including references for LATEX, HTML and so on. Any suggestions for books to add to the list will be welcome!

general science . maths & physics . computer programming

Per Bak, How Nature Works Per Bak
How Nature Works
What a title! But this is a fascinating trip through the physics of complex systems, from one of the pioneers in that field. I think it is valuable not just as an excellent introduction to a lot of marvellous science, but also as a very evocative picture of how science is actually done. Highly recommended.
Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out Richard Feynman
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
A wonderful collection of very insightful and very, very funny articles from one of the leading scientists — and leading science communicators — of the 20th century.
Stuart A. Kauffman, The Origins of Order Stuart A. Kauffman
The Origins of Order
Bronwen Price, Francis Bacon's 'The New Atlantis': New Interdisciplinary Essays Bronwen Price (ed.)
Francis Bacon’s ‘The New Atlantis’: New Interdisciplinary Essays
Interdisciplinary essays on one of the major figures in European scientific, philosophical and cultural history.

general science . maths & physics . computer programming

Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins, What is Mathematics? Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins (revised by Ian Stewart)
What is Mathematics?
This is a wonderfully written, extremely readable and enjoyable introduction to the field of mathematics. I keep returning to it just for pure pleasure, never mind scholarship; it’s definitely a ‘must-have’ book.
G. Stephenson, Mathematical Methods for Science Students G. Stephenson
Mathematical Methods for Science Students
This is a good (though very dry) introduction to a whole load of mathematical methods that are useful for scientists and engineers. For some of the subjects it may well be useful to get out some library books to go into more detail on specifics and examples. There are a few passages where things are casually demonstrated, not proven; it’s sometimes worth trying to figure out the genuine proof yourself in these cases.

general science . maths & physics . computer programming

Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie, The C Programming Language Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie
The C Programming Language
The classic text on the classic programming language. Enough said; buy, beg, borrow or steal this one if you have to, but get a copy.
Leslie Lamport, LaTeX: a Document Preparation System Leslie Lamport
LATEX: a Document Preparation System
This is the best introduction to the typesetting system which is in vogue for much scientific writing. If the price tag seems a bit hefty there is a free LATEX tutorial available here.
W. H. Press, B. P. Flannery, S. A. Teukolsky and W. T. Vetterling, Numerical Recipes in C W. H. Press, B. P. Flannery, S. A. Teukolsky and W. T. Vetterling
Numerical Recipes in C
This is a nice collections of functions for use in C programming (I’m particularly fond of the random number generators). You will need to have a copy of this book to use some of the programs I’ve posted on this website, but it’s a pricey tome so perhaps it’s better to borrow/steal from the library than to buy. Hang on, no, you should definitely buy it. From the links above. Really.

All this book stuff is in association with, and

This website is Copyright © Joseph Wakeling 2000-2008.
All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.
Click here for complete site credits.

This page last updated: 3 June 2008.
Click here for site update list.

email: joe [@t] webdrake [d.t] net