Foundations of Modern Cosmology

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Oxford University Press, Jul 7, 2005 - Science - 554 pages
Recent discoveries in astronomy, especially those made with data collected by satellites such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, have revolutionized the science of cosmology. These new observations offer the possibility that some long-standing mysteries in cosmology might be answered, including such fundamental questions as the ultimate fate of the universe. Foundations of modern cosmology provides an accessible, thorough and descriptive introduction to the physical basis for modern cosmological theory, from the big bang to a distant future dominated by dark energy. This second edition includes the latest observational results and provides the detailed background material necessary to understand their implications, with a focus on the specific model supported by these observations, the concordance model. Consistent with the book's title, emphasis is given to the scientific framework for cosmology, particularly the basics concepts of physics that underlie modern theories of relativity and cosmology; the importance of data and observations is stressed throughout. The book sketches the historical background of cosmology, and provides a review of the relevant basic physics and astronomy. After this introduction, both special and general relativity are treated, before proceeding to an in-depth discussion of the big bang theory and physics of the early universe. The book includes current research areas, including dark matter and structure formation, dark energy, the inflationary universe, and quantum cosmology. The authors' website (http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~jh8h/Foundations) offers a wealth of supplemental information, including questions and answers, references to other sources, and updates on the latest discoveries.
 

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Contents

Background
83
Relativity
151
The Big Bang
275
The Continuing Quest
433
Scientific Notation
513
Units
515
Physical and Astronmical Constants
519
Glossary
521
Bibliography
537
Index
543
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About the author (2005)


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.

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