The Road to Reality - further reading

This page lists suggestions for further reading following on from my review of Penrose's The Road to Reality
There are many books that try to give a wide overview of modern physics, but none quite like The Road to Reality. The one I would mention is The fabric of reality by David Deutsch, which gives another Oxford scientist's grand view of the nature of the universe.

Penrose makes much of the 'magic' of complex numbers. An imaginary tale : the story of √-1 by Paul Nahin gives a simpler introduction to this. I'm afraid it still requires a knowledge up to the later parts of school mathematics , but if you have this then I would think of it as a 'light' read.

If you want to follow up on the geometrical side of physics and have studied mathematics up to an advanced undergraduate level, then The geometry of physics : an introduction by Theodore Frankel would be a good book to work through. Geometry, topology and physics by Mikio Nakahara is at a slightly higher level and somewhat less general than Frankel's book.

Quantum theory, gravity,...

Again, there are a huge number of books on the various interpretations of quantum theory. The undivided universe by David Bohm and Basil Hiley introduces quantum theory and discusses various interpretations (including Bohm's of course) using undergraduate level maths, thus filling something of a gap between 'popular' books and research level works.

As for gravity, that is general relativity, A journey into gravity and spacetime by John Wheeler is a well presented non-technical book written by an expert in the subject. At undergraduate level Relativity : special, general, and cosmological by Wolfgang Rindler is a well laid out textbook. For those wanting to go further into the subject I would recommend General Relativity by Robert Wald

... and quantum gravity

Of course there's no definitive version of quantum gravity. If you want to learn about the semiclassical approximation leading to predictions such as Hawking radiation then I would suggest the graduate level book Quantum fields in curved space by N Birrell.

As for the hot topic of String Theory, The elegant universe by Brian Greene gives a non-technical account. For those wanting to get into the subject properly there's A first course in string theory by Barton Zwiebach, which is based on undergraduate courses he taught.

Quantum gravity by Carlo Rovelli is a research level work on Loop Quantum Gravity. You can find a draft version of this book online, on Rovelli's website.

and finally...

Note that Penrose has compiled a list of corrections to The Road to Reality at . Eventually there should also be solutions to the exercises on the same site, but not at present.