Foundations of Modern Cosmology

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9780195104974: Foundations of Modern Cosmology

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.

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About the Author:

John F. Hawley, Associate Professor of Astronomy, University of Virginia.

Review:

"A well-written summary of the deeper and more interesting problems in cosmology today. The discussion is well grounded in the science yet fun! Examples of particularly good treatments include the grandfather paradox and entropy of the universe."--J.I. Lunine, University of Arizona

"A welcome addition to the list of college-level astronomy textbooks for nonscience majors. Cosmology and relativistic astrophysics are active and exciting fields that regularly capture the headlines and the imagination of millions. [The authors] bring to their writing valuable firsthand knowledge and accomplishment in relativistic astrophysics research. Their book reflects the careful development that occurs only when a textbook is written after years of teaching the material--in this case, at the University of Virginia. . . . no other recent textbook has the focus on cosmology and relativity that this one does. [It] is intended for advanced undergraduate liberal-arts students, would be an excellent choice for a followup to the standard one-semester astronomy survey course. . . . Alternatively . . . it could be used for a general survey course in astronomy in which cosmology and relativity are the theme."--Physics Today

"A fine example of good science writing. Stunningly clear, concise, and informative. Very complete. It should be be required reading for every physics and astronomy major."--Bryan Crandall, East L.A. College

"An excellent book. Presents a sweeping topic carefully, in the correct order for learning. It anticipates misconceptions the interested student may have and also corrects them--a big plus."--Francis Graham, Kent State University

"A superb introduction to modern physical cosmology. The historical introduction is special."--Yervant Terzian, Cornell University

"A long-needed, up-to-date elementary treatment of cosmology."--John L. McKnight, College of William and Mary

"Presents a clear, concise, and fascinating treatment of cosmology."--Niungwa Maasha, Coastal Georgia Community College

"Both my beginning astronomy class and my advanced physics class were able to use parts of the text. Very readable and clear, thought-provoking, judicious use of a few key equations."--E.J. Zita, The Evergreen State College

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John F. Hawley; Katherine A. Holcomb
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ISBN 10: 0195104978 ISBN 13: 9780195104974
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