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Book of the Year 2016

14 Dec 2016

Well written, novel and scientifically interesting for physicists – these are the criteria we use to select the Physics World Book of the Year. In this podcast, you’ll hear us talk about four of the books on our 10-strong shortlist and announce our pick for the year’s best popular-physics book.

We love talking about great physics books. In fact, we could go on about them for hours. The sparkling writing and deft analogies. The precise explanations that draw out the essence of complex concepts. The humorous anecdotes that make the research process come alive. We love it all, and as usual at this time of year, we’re sharing our thoughts on a few of the year’s best popular-physics books in a special edition of the Physics World podcast.

As with last year’s Book of the Year announcement, we teamed up with local science communicator Andrew Glester to record the 2016 edition in his garden shed, where he can often be found musing about “science fiction, science fact and everything in-between” for his podcast the Cosmic Shed. It was a trifle chilly in the shed this year, but thanks to hot drinks and some lively conversation, the time flew by as Glester quizzed Physics World’s current reviews editor, Tushna Commissariat, and her predecessor Margaret Harris about their favourite books of the year.

The decision about which of these books should be Physics World’s 2016 Book of the Year was an unusually tough one, for reasons you’ll hear about in the podcast. We congratulate all of the shortlisted authors on their fantastic books, and we hope that everyone will find something to appreciate on this list.

Shortlist for Physics World Book of the Year 2016 (alphabetical by author)

The Jazz of Physics: the Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe by Stephon Alexander

Why String Theory? by Joseph Conlon

Storm in a Teacup: the Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski

Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex by Michael Hiltzik

Strange Glow: the Story of Radiation by Timothy Jorgensen

Cosmos: the Infographic Book of Space by Stuart Lowe and Chris North

Spooky Action at a Distance: the Phenomenon that Reimagines Space and Time by George Musser

Goldilocks and the Water Bears: the Search for Life in the Universe by Louisa Preston

Reality Is Not What It Seems: the Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli

The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age by Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin

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