The list author says: "How do meta-stability, complexity, chaotic behavior and symmetry relate to possible disappearance of the universe? Probably very much - check my "So You'd Like To" guide. Find out many other topics in books presented below. Each book contains knowledge that we know because we observe it, and elegant speculations that have not been confirmed yet. Ratio of "known"/speculations, varies greatly in each volume - be your judge in picking one of them. For example: recently published in 2010 volumes by Gribbin ("In Search of the Multiverse"), Shing-Tung Yau ("The Shape of Inner Space"), Greene's ("The Hidden Reality") and Steven Manly ("Visions of the Multiverse") explain string/M-theory, extra dimensions and derived from it multiverse assumption. This set of math-theories, very "hot" recently, has not changed much since last 6 years. Many earlier books from this list (particularly by Alex Vilenkin, Brian Greene, Lisa Randall, Leonard Suskind, Lawrence Krauss, Paul Steinhardt, Maurizio Gasperini, Michio Kaku) introduce it more or less extensively. Therefore be careful and do not waste time again on the same, scientifically based philosophical concept that is deprived of any observational/experimental support. I posted reviews for majority of listed books (they are marked in "comments" section by "R"). --------------------------------------------------------------------"
"This book is an essence of scientific literacy and I place it on top of my list. Having Laws of Nature (thermodynamics) deeply understood and/or refreshed is crucial for further recommended readings. And this is exactly what you will find in Peter Atkins short and very accessible to everybody work. (R)"
"How our Universe will end - predictions based on current knowledge and computer simulation. Contains basic information about particle physics and cosmology as well. Easy, enjoyable and quick reading. (R)"
"Four essays (each by different scientist) about General Relativity and possibilities of traveling into the past. Companion and update to "Black Holes and Time Warps" explaining future of LIGO project. (R)"
"Exceptional!... and does not refrain from exploring borders of physics and philosophy. Einstein question persists: what is happening to the book if I do not read it? The very best lecture delivered by open-minded and respected physicists. (R). You may also check "Quantum Physics for Poets" by Leon Lederman - great alternative !"
"Another quite complete model of endless Universe, this time not based on Big Bang and "0" time. Though influenced and derived from controversial "string" theory, cycling model is voraciously defended against old and prevailing inflationary theory. Very brave and colorful pop-science book!! (R)"
"This is absolutely the greatest example of what popular science book should be !! It book should be read by all who know Kip Thorne's famous work. For reason unknown to me, important black hole "war" is not mentioned in "Black Holes & Time Warps" at all. (R)"
"This title is devoted to cosmo-topology; topic neglected in previous books on this list. Subject is unique, but not easy to follow. Search for a clear topological signature is just as difficult as the experimental determination of the space curvature. parameters and of Hubble constant. Fascinating read. (R)"
"Quite difficult to read, many new terms that are not explained with clarity. It is not a popular science book, but rather scientific lectures. Only few graphs and pictures. Topic of cosmology string is highly speculative. (R)"
"This book is focused on new VSL and MOG theories, by physicist John Moffat who pioneered it. First part of the book is devoted in condensed manner to general, well known topics like Greek's views, GR, standard space models, multiverses and string/quantum gravity, VSL and MOND. Great book that will make you wonder if main stream Big-Bang science is correct ! (R)"
"Appreciated effort to explain recent development and status of strings theory. Compact and informative, using a simple language without math. Good book for high school/college students contemplating physics and math study. (R)"
"Oh..this is so EASY and nice text about time - what time means for us and science development, what is time for space and cosmology. Unique, written by astrophysicist who implies that Big Bang model may soon be forgotten. Check also latest, similar books by John Barrow, or Paul Halpern(R)"
"Alien microbes radically different from all known organisms may be hiding in plain sight. How about cyborgs or bio-computers hiding out there? Shell we realy search, or possibly abandon it? Possibly we are truly alone in our part of space-time. Paul Davis, no doubt is a great thinker. (R)"
"One of the best, easy to read, each chapter has a brief summary at the end. Published in 2007, but nothing essentially has changed since this time. Perfect choice for any person entering the field of cosmology, or for those who want to refresh the previously gained knowledge without re-reading the old books."
"If you want to get updated fast on concordant cosmology (old, odd, most accepted and new speculative models of the Universe) and skip books by Vilenkin, Steinhardt, J. P. Luminet or Susskind - go for this one. Nice and easy lecture with pictures! (R)"