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Title Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics by George Johnson
. Murray Gell-Mann won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering the theory of quarks. He also used his power to protect string theory back when it was an endangered species of physics theories. But those two facts just scratch the surface of the complex man revealed in this book. This book is a must read in the history of 20th century physics. Buy this book

Q Is for Quantum: An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics by John R. Gribbin, Mary Gribbin (Editor), Jonathan Gribbin (Illustrator)
. What's the deal with 20th-century physics? How and why did it get so complicated, so abstract, that even Einstein had trouble believing in it? Most of us need someone to come along and explain it all in words that make sense; fortunately, astrophysicist and science writer extraordinaire John Gribbin has seized that role with a flair and passion unequalled. Buy this book

Marie Curie Marie Curie: A Life (Radcliffe Biography Series) by Susan Quinn
. A brilliant, often surprising portrait--based on new information--that is sure to be the definitive work on one of history's greatest scientists. Quinn shows in this richly textured work, a well-rounded, in-depth view of Curie as a scientist, a woman, a wife and a lover. Buy this book

A Tour of the Subatomic Zoo: A Guide to Particle Physics by Cindy Schwarz, Sheldon Glashow (Introduction)
. Based on a six-week course given by the author at Vassar for non- science students. Glashow, who wrote the introduction, shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam for the theory behind electroweak unification. This book is organized for the self-learner. Chapters begin with an overview of concepts and end with a summary and self-tests. A great little book, and if every physics textbook were like this, physics classrooms would be crowded. Buy this book

Naked to the Bone: Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century by Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles
. In an age when the word "leg" was considered indelicate and even the appendages on chairs and piano benches were covered up, the invention of the X-ray must have been shocking. This wonderful book describes both the scientific and social sides of the revolution in medical imaging brought about by the age of particle physics. Buy this book

The Elusive Neutrino: A Subatomic Detective Story The Elusive Neutrino : A Subatomic Detective Story by Nickolas Solomey
. University of Chicago physicist Nickolas Solomey takes readers through the history of particle physics from the discovery of radioactivity to present theoretical speculation about the mass and origin of elementary particles. Buy this book

Beamtimes and Lifetimes: The World of High Energy Physicists by Sharon Traweek
. This is a fascinating anthropological study of high energy physics communities in the U.S. and Japan. Most books about physics sing the praises of physics, and don't objectively examine the practice itself as a human communal practice. If you'd like to see a physics community examined under the lens of scientific scrutiny, this makes an interesting read. Buy this book

From Quarks to the Cosmos From Quarks to the Cosmos: Tools of Discovery by David N. Schramm, Leon M. Lederman
. Astrophysicist Schramm, who died tragically last year when his plane crashed on the way to Aspen, teamed with particle experimentalist Lederman for this nice volume describing the way measurements made by astronomers and particle physicists have worked together to enrich the understanding in both fields. Buy this book

Atoms in the Family : My Life With Enrico Fermi by Laura Fermi
. A book about Italian particle physicist Enrico Fermi, after whom fermions and Fermi statistics were named. Written by his wife, a look back into simpler days for particle physics, when Fermi could carry an entire physics experimental budget in cash in one pocket. Buy this book
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