Hi, I have recently started to read around the topic of quantum physics. After having watched a bbc show about the atom I want to know more. I am seeking the opinion of anyone who has read about this subject and can recommend books. Should I start with 'Brief History' or are there better (but maybe less famed) works out there that offer the layman a way in to this topic?
I highly recommend 'Big Bang' by Simon Singh. It isn't so much about quantum physics, but it is about cosmology and atoms etc. It is highly readable and i've just finsihed it and still gushing about it! I've read Brief History (twice) and 'Big Bang' is more accessable and covers similar themes. I'd recommend that first and then Brief History once you're warmed up. Hope that helps.
The 'atom' series was excellent, and proper physics. Hawkings books are more about fantasy than physics, intended to make people wonder at how mysterious the universe is rather than to help them try to understand it. As far as I can tell, the main reasons people like Hawking's books are that he is a genius and he is disabled. QED by Feyman is well written and proper physics, but does not cover a subject that most people would find interesting. My book Squish Theory 1 covers similar subjects to A brief history of time, but in a completely different way, so it might interest anybody who found Hawking's book as impenetrable as I did.