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Last Post 19 Oct 2010 11:10 AM by  Kris Sigsbee
Popular Books
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19 Oct 2010 10:09 AM
    What are the most popular books among scientists? (textbooks, novels, etc)
    Tags: James Van Allen, Books, science, scientists

    Kris Sigsbee



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    19 Oct 2010 11:10 AM

    Hi,

    That is an interesting question, but it is one that is a little bit difficult to answer.

    Scientists have many different hobbies and interests outside of their jobs, so the kinds of novels we read for fun and relaxation varies from person to person. A lot of scientists, myself included, enjoy science fiction books. However, I also like to read mystery novels, fantasy novels, and books about other scientists. I recently went to a conference on the Greek Island of Corfu, so I read a funny book called "My Family and Other Animals" by the British naturalist Gerald Durrell about his childhood on the island. "James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles" by Abigail Foerstner is a popular book here at the University of Iowa, since many of the scientists that I work with knew him personally.

    The kinds of textbooks scientists read in school or read to help us learn new things for our jobs depends greatly on the type of research we do, but there are a few "standard" textbooks that a lot of the Solar Week scientists probably used in graduate school. "Classical Electrodynamics" by John David Jackson is an example of a standard physics textbook that is used over and over in graduate level physics courses, but it is not very fun to read at all! Some of the books that people where I work use a lot are "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill, since we build a lot of scientific instruments, and "Numerical Recipes in C," since we also do a lot of computer programming. I own a lot of books on basic plasma physics, since it is essential to my work.

    Kris

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