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Cosmology: The Science of the Universe

By: Edward R Harrison

567 pages, 268 line diagrams, 14 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Mar 2000 | Edition: 2 | #108563 | ISBN: 052166148X
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NHBS Price: £76.99 $101/€86 approx

About this book

Cosmology: The Science of the Universe is an introduction to past and present cosmological theory. For much of the world's history, cosmological thought was formulated in religious or philosophical language and was thus theological or metaphysical in nature. However, cosmological speculation and theory has now become a science in which the empirical discoveries of the astronomer, theoretical physicist, and biologist are woven into intricate models that attempt to account for the universe as a whole. Professor Harrison draws on the discoveries and speculations of these scientists to provide a comprehensive survey of man's current understanding of the universe and its history. Tracing the rise of the scientific method, the major aim of this book is to provide an elementary understanding of the physical universe of modern times. Thoroughly revised and up-dated, this second edition extends the much acclaimed first edition taking into account the many developments that have occurred.

'I do not hesitate to say that this is simply the best book on cosmology at a semi-popular level I have ever read - and I read most of them ! It gives the reader the history, the meanders, the highlights, the beauty and the greatness of the whole enterprise. More, it gives the reader effective tools to reach his own conclusions ! an outstanding work of scientific exposition that I strongly recommend.' General Relativity and Gravitation 'This long-awaited update to Harrison's classic textbook is ideal for those who have exhausted the beginners' accounts and want to dig deep into the science and philosophy. Harrison offers fresh ways to think about basic principles, and he strolls down long-forgotten byways that give such richness to the subject.' Scientific American From reviews of the first edition: 'This book is a remarkable synthesis of scientific thought about the Universe in the large. It is the product of the large thinking, large scholarship, and large generosity of mind of Professor Harrison ... Harrison's easy mastery of style that so well matches his subject makes this an exhilarating exercise ! The highest tribute I can offer to Harrison's splendid book is that I have not ceased to reflect upon it since I finished reading it.' William McCrea (ex-president of the Royal Astronomical Society), Contemporary Physics 'Unusual, discursive, non-mathematical, full of reflective comments and disturbing questions, packed with unexpected citations ! A beginning serious interest in cosmology can find no better satisfaction than in this helpful overview.' Phil Morrison, Scientific American 'This is the second edition of Harrison's first class book on elementary cosmology for all to understand ! The book is provocative and readable.' Irish Astronomical Journal


Prefaces; Introduction; Part I: 1. What is cosmology?; 2. Early scientific cosmology; 3. Cartesian and Newtonian world systems; 4. Cosmology after Newton and before Einstein; 5. Stars; 6. Galaxies; 7. Location and the cosmic center; 8. Containment and the cosmic edge; 9. Space and time; Part II: 10. Curved space; 11. Special relativity; 12. General relativity; 13. Black holes; 14. Expansion of the universe; 15. Cosmic redshifts; 16. Newtonian cosmology; 17. Cosmic box; 18. Many universes; 19. Observational cosmology; Part III: 20. The early universe; 21. Horizons in the universe; 22. Inflation; 23. The cosmic numbers; 24. Darkness at night; 25. Creation of the universe; 26. Life in the universe; Index.

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