334 pages, 215 b/w illustrations
This book conveys the thrill of observing strange and surprising features of the Universe, and the satisfaction gained by understanding them through modern science. Using simple analogies and a wealth of illustrations, Professor Narlikar skilfully steers us through a cosmic journey of discovery, starting from the Earth and Solar System and stepping out to the farthest reaches of the Universe. The seven wonders represent a range of mysterious phenomena, a class of spectacular events, or remarkable cosmic objects that have challenged human curiosity and explanation. They concern the giants and dwarfs of the stellar world, the catastrophic explosion of massive stars, pulsars – the ultimate timekeepers of the cosmos, the strange effects of gravity, illusions of space, and the majestic expansion of the Universe as a whole. With lucid prose and humorous anecdotes, the author weaves together a host of exciting recent discoveries in astronomy and shows us how these motivate astronomers to unravel the wonders of tomorrow.
"The eminent astrophysicist, Jayant Narlikar, has combined his broad knowledge of physics and astrophysics with an excellent writing style to produce a fascinating sampler [...] The chapters are delightfully literate, seamlessly including charmin vignettes which provide due credit to the scientists involved, while enlivening the personalities, and entertaining the reader."
- Gerry Gilmore, Astronomy Now
"'A book by Jayant Narlikar is always something to look forward to not just because of the style and clarity of the writing but also because of the originality and penetration of his thought and analysis. This book conveys the thrill of observing strange and surprising features of the universe, and the satisfaction gained by understanding them through modern science. [...] This book is a must [...]
"Professor Narlikar is an accomplished and prolific writer of popular books on astronomy, as well as a distinguished astrophysicist and cosmologist. In this simple book Narlikar takes seven areas of astronomy and explains the fascination they instil. The chapter's broad categories are the Earth, stars, exploding stars, pulsars, gravity, cosmic illusions and the expanding universe [...] this book should be avidly devoured by those just developing an interest in the amazing universe around us."
- A. D. Andrews, Irish Astronomical Journal
"After reading this book if you still remain as bewildered as you were before reading it, then the fault lies with the cosmos and not the author."
- Deccan Herald
"... in my opinion it does what it sets out to do. It fits nicely into the gap in the market between the rash of cosmological/philosophical books which have been popular in recent years and the glossy picture books. I 'test drove' it on my mother and my father-in-law, neither of whom know much about astronomy: both were very impressed. There has been some debate recently about spicing up astronomy degree courses with 'hot' topics in the first year, before students have studied the fundamental physics behind current theories. This book would certainly provide lecturers with material for such courses."
- Myfanwy Bryce, The Observatory
"This is a very readable book"
- Jenny Flake, The Open University Geological Society
"Seven Wonders is a superbly lucid state-of-the-art account of the most important features of modern astronomy and cosmology [...] Ideal for students and as an introduction to the subject for educated non-scientists."
- David L. Gosling, Science
"The strengths of this book are many. The text is generally clear and entertaining and many good analogies are used to aid understanding [...] the greatest strength of the book is the way in which fundamental physical concepts are introduced and explained. the basic ideas of electromagnetic radiation, quantum theory, spectroscopy, nucleosynthesis, special and general relativity and many other concepts are presented to the reader in 'friendly' and non-mathematical ways. other good points – I liked the use of historical and mythological 'asides' to introduce more recent ideas, and the 'behind the scenes' stories of how many of the recent discoveries came about [...] All in all, the book is a nice mixture and very readable."
- David Kilkenny, Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society of South Africa
1. Leaving the terra firma
2. Giants and dwarfs of the stellar world
3. When stars explode ...
4. Pulsars: the timekeepers of the cosmos
5. Gravity: the great dictator
6. Illusions in space
7. The expanding universe
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