by PhilipJ on 20 November 2006
Discover is running a list of the top 25 science books of all time, and there are few surprises.
Darwin is well represented, taking the top two spots for The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species, though I would have probably switched the ordering. And perhaps placed them after the third place Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Newton. Nitpicking the order notwithstanding, these are all deserving of being here.
Also present, and without surprise, are Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, Einstein with Relativity: The Special and General Theory, Watson’s The Double Helix, Schroedinger for What is life?, and Micrographia by Hooke.
Somewhat surprisingly, however, is Feynman’s The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The other books above are all manuscripts on science, but none are quite so textbookian as Feynman’s own lectures, which he felt were a failure anyway. Though that style of book has come to dominate the introductory undergraduate physics scene, and while it is fairly readable, I’m still hesitant to call it one of the best science books of all time. Some of his other lectures-turned-books are far more succint and enjoyable a read. (for example, QED.)
Read the rest of the list here, and feel free to add your own favourite text in the comments!