He received the Nobel prize along with Glashow and Salaam for the unification of the theories of the weak and electromagnetic forces -- the electroweak theory.
I don't know enough about extrasolar planet to recommend anything. How far do the books you mentioned go into the mathematics?
His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.
I own a copy of both The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Elegant Universe.
String theory isn't necessarily ATM, but it it a theory searching for validity. All truths are simple to understand, once they are found. For relativity there is no better book than Black Holes and Timewarps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy by Kip Thorne.
I really, really loved reading them several years ago, but have since forgotten much of it. Since I first read them, however, I've become aware of the issues with String Theory.
So I ask, given that the two books are written in the perspective of one of the most prominent String Theory advocates, would it be better for me to find something else to read? I own a copy of both The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Elegant Universe.
They are The First Three Minutes and Dreams of a Final Theory. Keep in mind that they were written prior to the discovery that the universe is not only expanding but that the rate of expansion is increasing, so some of his statements are out of date.
Weinberg is one of the real stars of physics and has written definitive texts on both general relativity and quantum field theory.