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Foundations of Modern Cosmologyby John F. Hawley
Synopses & Reviews
Recent discoveries in astronomy, especially those made with data collected by satellites such as the Cosmic Background Explorer and the Hubble Space Telescope, have brought the science of cosmology to the forefront of public interest. These new observations suggest the tantalizing possibility that the solutions to some of history's most elusive mysteries might be found in the near future, making modern cosmology a topic that holds special interest for scientists and nonscientists alike.
Foundations of Modern Cosmology provides a highly accessible, thorough, and descriptive introduction to the historical development of and the physical basis for the modern big bang theory. This new textbook is ideal for electives that follow traditional introductory astronomy courses. It is intended to fill the gap between the many popular-level books, which can generally provide only a superficial treatment of the subject, and the advanced texts intended for students with strong backgrounds in physics and mathematics. The text is self-contained, appropriate for a one-semester course, and designed to be understandable to students with a grasp of elementary algebra. Emphasis is given to the scientific framework for cosmology, particularly the basic concepts of physics that underlie modern theories of relativity and cosmology; the importance of data and observations is stressed throughout. The text is divided into five major sections: historical background, a review of basic physics and astronomy, relativity, fundamental big bang theory, and current research areas, including structure formation, inflation, and quantum cosmology. Review questions, key terms, and an extensive glossary provide students with helpful study aids. In addition, the authors' website (http://astsun.astro.virginia.edu/~jh8h/Foundations) offers a wealth of supplemental information, including additional questions, references to other sources, and color NASA photographs.
This second edition provides an accessible and thorough text on the physics of cosmology and a lively account of the modern concordance model of the universe, from the big bang to a distant future dominated by dark energy.
About the Author
John F. Hawley is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia. His research interests include black holes, accretion disks, and large-scale numerical modeling of astrophysical systems. He was the 1993 recipient of the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society for his contributions to accretion disk theory and numerical simulations. He has taught an introductory course in cosmology for undergraduates at the University of Virginia since 1989.
Katherine A. Holcomb received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked on numerical simulations of a variety of physical systems, including cosmology, relativistic plasma theory, and climate. She is currently employed at the University of Virginia in research computing support.
Table of Contents
1. In the beginning
2. Cosmology becomes a science
3. Newton's machine
4. Lighting the worlds
5. The lives of the stars
6. Infinite space and absolute time
7. The special theory of relativity
8. The general theory of relativity
9. Black holes
10. The expanding universe
11. Modeling the universe
12. The early universe
13. Testing the models
14. A message from the big bang
15. Dark matter and large-scale structure
16. The inflationary universe
17. The edge of time
A. Scientific notation
C. Physical and astronomical constants
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