Einstein and physics

Most of my college science courses were related to biology and geology, not much in the way of physics. I just learned that I will be a science education intern for the exhibit Einstein this summer at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (Facebook /Flickr). Awesome!

So, I need to brush up on my physics. Any recommendations for books to check out? Online resources?


2 thoughts on “Einstein and physics

  1. If it’s an exhibit on Einstein, I would recommend his biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson.

    As for the actual physics, you should try and get a basic qualitative understanding of both special and general relativity, plus quantum physics. Since he was interested in unification, it would also be nice to know something about attempts at that.

    You could cover all four of these things with Brian Greene’s An Elegant Universe, which goes over quantum and relativity in early chapters before getting into string theory in the latter half of the book. In this book he does a good job explaining dimensions, and makes reference to Flatland.

    The book Flathand, by Edwin Abbott, although predating Einstein, is itself a good (and at 100 pages, nice and short) read.

    Something on cosmology would also be nice, since general relativity had so many implications for that area. Just out, From Eternity to Here by Sean Carroll (not the biology writer) is pretty good so far. For a classic, Hawking’s Brief History of Time is also good.

    So, to sum up:
    Einstein – Isaacson
    Elegant Universe – Greene
    Flatland – Abbott
    Eternity to Here – Carroll or Brief History of Time – Hawking

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