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Facts and Speculations in Cosmology

By: Geoffrey Burbidge and Jayant Narlikar

287 pages, 70 line diagrams, 80 half-tones

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2008 | #173297 | ISBN-13: 9780521865043
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £50.99 $67/€58 approx

About this book

A thought-provoking insight into the evolution of cosmology for undergraduate students and general readers, this book shows that the mystery of the origin of the universe is far from being solved. Cosmology has advanced over time through observational evidence as well as a lot of speculation.

In this historical approach, the authors argue that the speculative element has become a dominant part of modern cosmology. They show how assumptions have been made and portrayed as confirmed facts. This unique book gives not only a critical assessment of the big bang theory, but presents a host of anomalous observations, and puts forward an alternative, controversial theory on the origin of the universe. A non-mathematical account, it contains analogies from everyday life so that readers can understand the concepts easily and follow the arguments presented.

'... a comprehensive romp through the basics of cosmology from ancient cosmologies via stellar evolution, nuclear synthesis and the observed expanding Universe to details of the standard Big Bang Theory.' The Observatory 'There is an excellent discussion of the Day of Brahma and other interesting stories. In short, [the authors] point out the way that current ideas in cosmology are modified is not too far from some of the perturbation seen in mythology. This is a rather thought-provoking book which is aimed at general readers who have an interest in the origin of the Universe.' Federation of Astronomical Societies Newsletter


1. Ancient cosmologies; 2. The Greek epicycles; 3. Reaching out to the milky way; 4. Our position in the galaxy; 5. The world of galaxies; 6. The expanding universe; 7. Modelling the universe; 8. What is the geometry of the universe like?; 9. A universe without a beginning and without an end; 10. The cosmological debate 1950-1965; 11. The origin of the chemical elements; 12. Cosmic microwave background; 13. The very early universe; 14. Dark matter and dark energy; 15. An alternative cosmology; 16. Unfaced challenges in cosmology; 17. Epilogue.

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Jayant V. Narlikar is Emeritus Professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, India. Known for his work on cosmology, Narlikar served as President of the Cosmology Commission of the International Astronomical Union (1994-97). Other books by Professor Narlikar include An Introduction to Cosmology (now in its third edition, 2002) and Current Issues in Cosmology (with Jean-Claude Pecker, 2006), both with Cambridge University Press. Geoffrey Burbidge is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. He is best known for his work on stellar nucleosynthesis and quasi-stellar objects. Professor Burbidge has been the recipient of several awards, most recently the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society with Margaret Burbidge. He co-authored A Different Approach to Cosmology (with Jayant Narlikar and Fred Hoyle, Cambridge University Press, released in paperback in 2005).

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