# What papers should everyone read?

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Mathoverflow A single paper everyone should read?

TheoreticalPhysics.SE

What papers should every physicist read?

NOTES:

• Please provide at least a sentence what is inside and why you consider it so worth reading.
• Choose original papers of important basic results rather than large survey papers or "meta" paper suggestion by Gil Kalai

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recategorized Jan 23, 2015
Patrik, it is a nice soft question but consider providing the full description in the question (as there is in MO and CSTheory) as _What papers should everyone read?_ without further description is a bit vague IMHO.

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Just one publication per answer? Okay, I suppose I get to spam a few answers then.

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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.

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answered Nov 24, 2011 by (335 points)
OP specifically asks: "Please provide at least a sentence what is inside and why you consider it so worth reading."

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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.

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J.S. Bell On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox Physics Vol. 1, 3 195-200 (1964)

Because it is:

• a milestone in the history of physics,
• a simple argument that explain why Quantum Mechanics is different from classical intuition,
• only 5 pages and well written.
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answered Nov 29, 2011 by (0 points)
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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)

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answered Nov 24, 2011 by (30 points)

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I will go with:

on the topic of emergence and complexity in systems with a macroscopic number of constituents.

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answered Nov 24, 2011 by (320 points)
An interesting follow-up to this one would be [More Really is different](http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0809.0151), by Mile Gu, Christian Weedbrook, Alvaro Perales, and Michael Nielsen. They are much more concrete, and my opinion, more convincing.

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+1 Very nice choice!

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R. P. Feynman, Space-Time Approach to Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, Rev. Mod. Phys. 20, 367–387 (1948)

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answered Nov 24, 2011 by (345 points)
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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)

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answered Nov 24, 2011 by (30 points)
Four pages is hardly unusual in physics.

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4 pages is hardly unusual in PRL. :)

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But this paper is three pages!

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@TsuyoshiIto: I must admit I didn't check the claim that it was 4 pages.

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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.

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answered Nov 24, 2011 by (1,255 points)
I suppose it's too much to hope that the first sentence in that document is "Use LaTeX" :-P

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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.

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answered Nov 25, 2011 by (110 points)
What's the purpose behind reading these original papers?

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On occasion, it is presumptuous to believe we know more than the great masters. Generally though it is far more presumptuous to assume we haven't figured anything out for our own damn selves in the past 110 years...

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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.

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answered Dec 5, 2011 by (20 points)
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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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answered Dec 8, 2011 by (-60 points)
Does any one have a copy of this paper, which they can post online or should I ask Gell-Mann, myself?

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