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Mathoverflow A single paper everyone should read?
CSTheory What papers should everyone read?
What papers should every physicist read?
This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Scientist: Four golden lessons by S. Weinberg is a must-read for physicists. Regardless of area you study, the applicability of his advice is far-reaching. That's why every physicist, especially the young, should read it.
There is a response to Weinberg http://www.cpom.org/people/jcrh/naturecorres2.pdf "Sir — Steven Weinberg’s Concepts essay “Four golden lessons” (Nature 426, 389; 2003) is full of idealism, based on his experience, garnered “about a hundred years ago”.", though I don't like it.
This article is a must!
J.S. Bell On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox Physics Vol. 1, 3 195-200 (1964)
Because it is:
Well, it's hard to choose just ONE, but if I had to, I thought this one was pretty amazing:
Kenneth G. Wilson, The renormalization group: Critical phenomena and the Kondo problem, Rev. Mod. Phys. 47, 773–840 (1975)
I will go with:
on the topic of emergence and complexity in systems with a macroscopic number of constituents.
R. P. Feynman, Space-Time Approach to Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, Rev. Mod. Phys. 20, 367–387 (1948)
I like this paper because it's all of four pages long. Electroweak unification. Spontaneously broken symmetry. It's a thrilling paper to read!
Steven Weinberg, A Model of Leptons, Phys. Rev. Lett. 19, 1264–1266 (1967)
Even tough it is not about physics, I suggest the following:
It is a short and concise list of DOs and DON'Ts when giving a talk or a lecture. And it is a pity that many scientists, despite years of frequent practice, make very simple mistakes on that issue.
How can one not have a desire to read some history:
Planck, Max (1901). "Ueber das Gesetz der Energieverteilung im Normalspectrum [On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum]" (in German) (pdf). Annalen der Physik 309 (3): 553–563. (1901). "On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum (in English)" (PDF). Annalen der Physik 4: 553 ff.
I would go for two of the Annus Mirabilis papers from Einstein: relativity and Brownian motion. Although the latter requires some knowledge of classical thermodynamics, it is a brilliant example of a clear mind explaining a subject.
M. Gell-Mann, "The Eightfold Way: A Theory of Strong Interaction Symmetry"
It's the only one I can't get a hold of online, so it must be good.
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