Recommended Books (for modern citizens)

Asimov on education

The following is a list of books which I have read and recommend reading in order to promote an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math-or-medicine). Why?

Category Pages  
Science 1 Three science books by John Granville (Citrus Press)
Two FFT books by Anders Zonst (Citrus Press)
these five gems are listed below
Science 2 mostly physics, chemistry, astronomy (some math) another page
Science 3 mostly biology, genetics, nature and climate change another page
Technology mostly technology; some math; some tech culture
(cryptography, computers, DSP, electronics, space travel, etc.)
another page
Sci-Fi Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction another page
The Human Condition (history, biographies, economics, politics)
Other Literary Diversions
another page

Five "priceless gems" published by Citrus Press (Titusville, Florida)

Three science books by John Granville

Discovery of Motion (2007) John Granville
subtitled: An Introduction to Natural Philosophy (533 pages)
Discovery of Motion science lover's "must have"

A perfect gift for any teenagers with an interest in science (but science nerds will want a copy for themselves)


Æther Drift (2015) John Granville (84 pages)
(a.k.a. Ether Drift)
 for serious consideration by all nerds

comment: If you want to be intellectually stimulated for the tiny sum of $10 then buy this book. The only descriptive phrase which comes to mind is "very high signal-to-noise ratio". The "dialog" between Simplicio and JG are reminiscent of another great author

Nature hides her secrets in plain view (from the back cover)

This book is about a modern attempt to measure an æther drift. The tests were conducted between 2010 and 2013, but the preparatory work goes back to much farther than that. Your might not find it extraordinary that someone would repeat a classic old experiment, but you might well find the underlying reasons more than interesting ... and the results even astonishing.

In 1881, from April to August, A.A. Michelson conducted experiments to measure an æther drift relative to earth's motion in its orbit about the sun. To virtually everyone's amazement he found no first order drift. The existence of an aether was thought to be imperative to conduct light waves, and Michelson's results were simply beyond comprehension. There were other experiments, of course, all yielding the same results.

G.F. FitzGerald and H.A. Lorentz developed a theory that objects "shrank" when moving through the aether, but the explanation finally accepted (i.e. Einstein's Relativity theory) postulated the speed of light was the same regardless of the motion of any reference coordinates. Maintaining the principle of relative motion required time and space to become variables, and the classic function of an aether became incompatible ... and the aether was pronounced obsolete.

Be-that-as-it-may, this book reports an experiment that leaves little doubt an aether exists. Most astonishingly the theory is neither beyond comprehension nor even obscure. In fact it's obvious! ... and pretty nearly imperative. For more than a century this aether has been right before our eyes ... hidden in plain view. The thing we've all been missing is revealed in the Preface, and PART II of the book fills in the details.

Chapters:Discovery of Motion


  1. In order to repeat the Michelson-Morley experiment they built their own interferometer employing modern electronics:
    • an inexpensive Helium-Neon laser
    • a photo diode detector
    • a piezoelectric transducer behind one of the mirrors (modulated to minutely cycle the length of one light path)
    • a stepper motor to slowly rotate the platform
    • comment: my primary college education was as an Electronic Technologist so I found this part of the book "delightful"
  2. partial quote from page-51: Photons are electromagnetic waves as they occur at visible (i.e. light) wavelengths ...
        { skip a paragraph on antenna-length math from every RF engineer's handbook }
        At the frequencies of light (~5x1014 Hz) antennas shrink, of practical necessity, to atomic dimensions
        { more stuff is skipped over }
        ... the vibrating electron is a microscopic alternating current confined to atomic dimensions (i.e. the atom acts like an antenna) and the electromagnetic waves are generated according to Maxwell's equations.


  1. so the colloquial definition of photon could be redefined to mean "a packet of EM energy whose wavelength is less than the size of an atom"
    • therefore, EM transmissions (Radio, TV, Wi-Fi) which employ a wavelength longer than that found in visible light, do not involve photons, per se (but perhaps this is a forest-versus-trees thing)
    • therefore, as soon as we use the word photon we are restricting the conversation to quantum mechanics (so the photon is only a quantum particle)
    • Einstein's 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect mentions photons only because Einstein is dealing with quantum mechanical effects (discrete packets of energy waves; would it be wrong to think wavicles?)
  2. Food-for-thought:
    1. consider a ray of light moving through plain glass; forget about photons as waves for a moment and only think about them as particles; are they traveling between the atoms (captured then re-emitted) or is something else occurring?
    2. now consider a kilometer of inexpensive multi-mode optical fiber. Here the word "mode" to means "path" and these can be of different length (one path is straight down the middle while the longest path bounces off the reflective inside surface when the fiber is bent, curved or coiled). The signal is transmitted as a single digital pulse (square wave) but is received as a smeared out sign wave)
    3. now consider a kilometer of more expensive single-mode optical fiber where light never reaches the inside surface but is gently guided back to the middle due to a change in the incidence of refraction. One might suppose that the photons are moving between the atoms (captured then re-emitted), but a better theory (put forth in this book) is that atoms behave as antennas and the photons are guided along with almost zero loss
Concerning the Discovery of the Æther (2016) John Granville (64 pages)
 for serious consideration by all nerds

Discovery of the EtherThis small book is dense with well written content supporting the author's hypothesis that the luminiferous aether is real. The author takes us on a brief excursion through European natural philosophy with stops at Descartes, Huygens, and Maxwell who also believed aether was real. The journey continues through Michelson and Morley, who's famous failed experiment proved that aether was not real (or at least could not be detected).


  1. The Æther Sea (or "Ether Sea")
  2. Gradient, Divergence & Curl (or Grad, Div and Curl)
  3. The Æther Mechanism (or "Ether Mechanism")
  4. Electrostatics
  5. Electromagnetism
  6. Inductance
  7. Electromagnetic Waves
  8. Matter & Mass?
Comment: many people today throw around phrases like "space-time", "vacuum energy", "zero-point energy", "virtual particles", and "multiverse" never worrying about being labeled "crazy". By comparison, "a real ether" seems to be the least weird idea of all.

Two FFT books by Anders Zonst

Understanding the FFT (1995/2000) Anders E. Zonst
Subtitled "A Tutorial on the Algorithm & Software for Laymen, Students, Technicians & Working Engineers"
 highly recommended  for engineers (both software and electronic), hackers and nerds Understanding the FFT
Understanding FFT Applications (1997/2004) Anders E. Zonst
Subtitled "A Tutorial for Laymen, Students, Technicians, & Working Engineers"
 highly recommended  for engineers (both software and electronic), hackers and nerds Understanding FFT Applications Comment: I recently heard the following rumor about these two books: "someone had scanned them into PDFs then were selling copies online for $10". This might be one reason why you can buy these books for less than $10 each online when the back cover shows $29.95 and 34.95 respectively. Citrus Press (of Titusville, Florida) is owned an operated by a small group of retired NASA engineers. Please help support them by purchasing legal copies from Citrus Press and/or Amazon

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Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.