The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy

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University Science Books, 1982 - Science - 584 pages
6 Reviews
This is a truly astonishing book, invaluable for anyone with an interest in astronomy. Physics Bulletin Just the thing for a first year university science course. Nature This is a beautiful book in both concept and execution. Sky & Telescope
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - vacapinta - LibraryThing

That this book is out of print is a loss to all students. I keep referring back to my copy, old as it is, for concise and exact explanations of concepts in physics from basic thermo and quantum up to ... Read full review

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When this text was written in 1982 I am sure it was the best book available to learn Astronomy, Astrophysics and even General Physics from. Dr. Shu writes in a manner that is enjoyable to read while conveying a great amount of information about Astronomy. The book can be used as a text for a descriptive course in Astronomy for non-science majors by omitting the problems, a good introductory text for undergraduate science majors by assigning some of the problems or an upper division or introductory text for Astronomy and Physics majors by assigning all of the problems. Answers are not given for any of the problems but Dr. Shu leads you through each one in a way in which you will know whether you got it right or not.
The major problem with the book is that in 2013 it is somewhat outdated. Nothing about the discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope as well as the Galileo, Cassini or other planetary probes that have been launched since 1980. The chapters on Cosmology are well written and have a number of excellent problems but it predates the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, Dark Energy and Dark Matter. This book is such a classic that I will never understand why Dr. Shu never wrote any additional editions of it that would include all the things we have learned since 1980.
 

Contents

Preface
1
Classical Mechanics Light
14
The Great Laws of Microscopic
33
The Great Laws
62
The Stars
81
and to Us
100
Nuclear Forces and Nuclear Reactions
108
The End States of Stars
125
Gravitation and Cosmology
355
The Big Bang and the Creation
381
The Creation of the Material World
396
Philosophical Comment
411
Origin of the Solar System
459
Origin and Evolution of the Earth
482
The Emergence of Life on Earth
491
Historical Comment
497

Evolution of the Stars
144
Star Clusters and the Hertzsprung
159
Binary Stars
179
Galaxies and Cosmology
209
The Milky
255
Quiet and Active Galaxies
286
Clusters of Galaxies and
332
Life and Intelligence
528
A Concise History of Life on Earth
537
Intelligence on Earth and in the1 Universe
544
The Future of Life and Intelligence on Earth
550
A Tale of Two Civilizations
562
Index
573
Copyright

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About the author (1982)

Frank Shu is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1968. Shu has written a number of expository articles for the lay public, and is the author of a best-selling introductory textbook in astronomy and astrophysics, The Physical Universe. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Academia Sinica.

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