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First published in 1973, Gravitation is a landmark graduate-level textbook that presents Einstein's general theory of relativity and offers a rigorous, full-year course on the physics of gravitation. Upon publication, Science called it "a pedagogic masterpiece," and it has since become a classic, considered essential reading for every serious student and researcher in the field of relativity. This authoritative text has shaped the research of generations of physicists and astronomers, and the book continues to influence the way experts think about the subject. With an emphasis on geometric interpretation, this masterful and comprehensive book introduces the theory of relativity; describes physical applications, from stars to black holes and gravitational waves; and portrays the field's frontiers. The book also offers a unique, alternating, two-track pathway through the subject. Material focusing on basic physical ideas is designated as Track 1 and formulates an appropriate one-semester graduate-level course. The remaining Track 2 material provides a wealth of advanced topics instructors can draw on for a two-semester course, with Track 1 sections serving as prerequisites. This must-have reference for students and scholars of relativity includes a new preface by David Kaiser, reflecting on the history of the book's publication and reception, and a new introduction by Charles Misner and Kip Thorne, discussing exciting developments in the field since the book's original publication. * The book teaches students to:* Grasp the laws of physics in flat and curved spacetime* Predict orders of magnitude* Calculate using the principal tools of modern geometry* Understand Einstein's geometric framework for physics* Explore applications, including neutron stars, Schwarzschild and Kerr black holes, gravitational collapse, gravitational waves, cosmology, and so much more
The large-scale structure of the Universe is dominated by vast voids with galaxies clustered in knots, sheets, and filaments, forming a great 'cosmic web'. In this personal account of the major astronomical developments leading to this discovery, we learn from Laird A. Thompson, a key protagonist, how the first 3D maps of galaxies were created. Using non-mathematical language, he introduces the standard model of cosmology before explaining how and why ideas about cosmic voids evolved, referencing the original maps, reproduced here. His account tells of the competing teams of observers, racing to publish their results, the theorists trying to build or update their models to explain them, and the subsequent large-scale survey efforts that continue to the present day. This is a well-documented account of the birth of a major pillar of modern cosmology, and a useful case study of the trials surrounding how this scientific discovery became accepted.
Exploring the origins and evolution of magnetic fields in planets, stars and galaxies, this book gives a basic introduction to magnetohydrodynamics and surveys the observational data, with particular focus on geomagnetism and solar magnetism. Pioneering laboratory experiments that seek to replicate particular aspects of fluid dynamo action are also described. The authors provide a complete treatment of laminar dynamo theory, and of the mean-field electrodynamics that incorporates the effects of random waves and turbulence. Both dynamo theory and its counterpart, the theory of magnetic relaxation, are covered. Topological constraints associated with conservation of magnetic helicity are thoroughly explored and major challenges are addressed in areas such as fast-dynamo theory, accretion-disc dynamo theory and the theory of magnetostrophic turbulence. The book is aimed at graduate-level students in mathematics, physics, Earth sciences and astrophysics, and will be a valuable resource for researchers at all levels.
With ninety per cent of visible matter in the universe existing in the plasma state, an understanding of magnetohydrodynamics is essential for anyone looking to understand solar and astrophysical processes, from stars to accretion discs and galaxies; as well as laboratory applications focused on harnessing controlled fusion energy. This introduction to magnetohydrodynamics brings together the theory of plasma behavior with advanced topics including the applications of plasma physics to thermonuclear fusion and plasma- astrophysics. Topics covered include streaming and toroidal plasmas, nonlinear dynamics, modern computational techniques, incompressible plasma turbulence and extreme transonic and relativistic plasma flows. The numerical techniques needed to apply magnetohydrodynamics are explained, allowing the reader to move from theory to application and exploit the latest algorithmic advances. Bringing together two previous volumes: Principles of Magnetohydrodynamics and Advanced Magnetohydrodynamics, and completely updated with new examples, insights and applications, this volume constitutes a comprehensive reference for students and researchers interested in plasma physics, astrophysics and thermonuclear fusion.
High time-resolution astrophysics (HTRA) involves measuring and studying astronomical phenomena on timescales of seconds to milliseconds. Although many areas of astronomy, such as X-ray astronomy and pulsar observations, have traditionally required high time-resolution studies, HTRA techniques are now being applied to optical, infrared and gamma-ray wavelength regimes, due to the development of high efficiency detectors and larger telescopes that can gather photons at a higher rate. With lectures from eminent scientists aimed at young researchers and postdoctorate students in observational astronomy and astrophysics, this volume gives a practical overview and introduction to the tools and techniques of HTRA. Just as multi-spectral observations of astrophysical phenomena are already yielding new scientific results, many astronomers are optimistic that exploring the time domain will open up an important new frontier in observational astronomy over the next decade.
What would happen if you fell into a black hole?
Black holes are the most extraordinary phenomenon in the universe, but they are a riddle that confounds our intuitions.
Anything that enters them can never escape, and yet they contain nothing at all. They are bigger on the inside than the outside suggests. They are dark on the outside but not on the inside. They invert time into space and space into time.
Black holes are found throughout the universe. They can be microscopic. They can be billions of times larger than our sun. Our solar system is currently orbiting a black hole 26,000 light years away at a speed of 200 km per second.
In Black Hole Survival Guide physicist and novelist Janna Levin takes you on a journey into a black hole, explaining what would happen to you in there and why. In the process you'll come to see how their mysteries contain answers to some of the most profound questions ever asked about the nature of our universe.
From the world-renowned physicist and bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, a captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose In both time and space, the cosmos is astoundingly vast, and yet is governed by simple, elegant, universal mathematical laws. On this cosmic timeline, our human era is spectacular but fleeting. Someday, we know, we will all die. And, we know, so too will the universe itself. Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to understand it. Greene takes us on a journey across time, from our most refined understanding of the universe's beginning, to the closest science can take us to the very end. He explores how life and mind emerged from the initial chaos, and how our minds, in coming to understand their own impermanence, seek in different ways to give meaning to experience: in story, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and our longing for the timeless, or eternal. Through a series of nested stories that explain distinct but interwoven layers of reality-from the quantum mechanics to consciousness to black holes-Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed. Yet all this understanding, which arose with the emergence of life, will dissolve with its conclusion. Which leaves us with one realization: during our brief moment in the sun, we are tasked with the charge of finding our own meaning. Let us embark.
Lectures on Astrophysics provides an account of classic and contemporary aspects of astrophysics, with an emphasis on analytic calculations and physical understanding. It introduces fundamental topics in astrophysics, including the properties of single and binary stars, the phenomena associated with interstellar matter, and the structure of galaxies. Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg combines exceptional physical insight with his gift for clear exposition to cover exciting recent developments and new results. Emphasizing theoretical results, and explaining their derivation and application, this book provides an invaluable resource for physics and astronomy students and researchers.
Integrating both scientific and philosophical perspectives, this book provides an informed analysis of the challenges of formulating a universal theory of life. Among the issues discussed are crucial differences between definitions and scientific theories and, in the context of examples from the history of science, how successful general theories develop. The central problem discussed is two-fold: first, our understanding of life is still tacitly wedded to an antiquated Aristotelian framework for biology; and second, there are compelling reasons for considering that familiar Earth life, which descends from a last universal common ancestor, is unrepresentative. What is needed are examples of life as we don't know it. Potential sources are evaluated, including artificial life, extraterrestrial life, and a shadow biosphere right here on Earth, and a novel strategy for searching for unfamiliar life in the absence of a definition or general theory is developed. The book is a valuable resource for graduate students and researchers studying the nature, origins, and extent of life in the universe.
One of "The Barnes and Noble Review "Editors' Picks: Best
Nonfiction of 2012
We've long understood black holes to be the points at which the
universe as we know it comes to an end. Often billions of times
more massive than the Sun, they lurk in the inner sanctum of almost
every galaxy of stars in the universe. They're mysterious chasms so
destructive and unforgiving that not even light can escape their
This concise and accessible book provides a detailed introduction to the fundamental principles of atomic physics at an undergraduate level. Concepts are explained in an intuitive way and the book assumes only a basic knowledge of quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. With a compact format specifically designed for students, the first part of the book covers the key principles of the subject, including the quantum theory of the hydrogen atom, radiative transitions, the shell model of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling, and the effects of external fields. The second part provides an introduction to the four key applications of atomic physics: lasers, cold atoms, solid-state spectroscopy and astrophysics. This highly pedagogical text includes worked examples and end of chapter problems to allow students to test their knowledge, as well as numerous diagrams of key concepts, making it perfect for undergraduate students looking for a succinct primer on the concepts and applications of atomic physics.
There's no better guide through mind-expanding questions such as what the nature of space and time is, how we fit within the universe, and how the universe fits within us than Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable any time and anywhere in the busy day. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry reveals just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
The astonishing science of neutron stars and the stories of the scientists who study them. Neutron stars are as bewildering as they are elusive. The remnants of exploded stellar giants, they are tiny, merely twenty kilometers across, and incredibly dense. One teaspoon of a neutron star would weigh several million tons. They can spin up to a thousand times per second, they possess the strongest magnetic fields known in nature, and they may be the source of the most powerful explosions in the universe. Through vivid storytelling and on-site reporting from observatories all over the world, Neutron Stars offers an engaging account of these still-mysterious objects. Award-winning science journalist Katia Moskvitch takes readers from the vast Atacama Desert to the arid plains of South Africa to visit the magnificent radio telescopes and brilliant scientists responsible for our knowledge of neutron stars. She recounts the exhilarating discoveries, frustrating disappointments, and heated controversies of the past several decades and explains cutting-edge research into such phenomena as colliding neutron stars and fast radio bursts: extremely powerful but ultra-short flashes in space that scientists are still struggling to understand. She also shows how neutron stars have advanced our broader understanding of the universe-shedding light on topics such as dark matter, black holes, general relativity, and the origins of heavy elements like gold and platinum-and how we might one day use these cosmic beacons to guide interstellar travel. With clarity and passion, Moskvitch describes what we are learning at the boundaries of astronomy, where stars have life beyond death.
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous explosions in the universe, which within seconds release energy comparable to what the Sun releases in its entire lifetime. The field of GRBs has developed rapidly and matured over the past decades. Written by a leading researcher, this text presents a thorough treatment of every aspect of the physics of GRBs. It starts with an overview of the field and an introduction to GRB phenomenology. After laying out the basics of relativity, relativistic shocks, and leptonic and hadronic radiation processes, the volume covers all topics related to GRBs, including a general theoretical framework, afterglow and prompt emission models, progenitor, central engine, multi-messenger aspects (cosmic rays, neutrinos, and gravitational waves), cosmological connections, and broader impacts on fundamental physics and astrobiology. It is suitable for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and experienced researchers in the field of GRBs and high-energy astrophysics in general.
This comprehensive guide to Bayesian methods in astronomy enables hands-on work by supplying complete R, JAGS, Python, and Stan code, to use directly or to adapt. It begins by examining the normal model from both frequentist and Bayesian perspectives and then progresses to a full range of Bayesian generalized linear and mixed or hierarchical models, as well as additional types of models such as ABC and INLA. The book provides code that is largely unavailable elsewhere and includes details on interpreting and evaluating Bayesian models. Initial discussions offer models in synthetic form so that readers can easily adapt them to their own data; later the models are applied to real astronomical data. The consistent focus is on hands-on modeling, analysis of data, and interpretations that address scientific questions. A must-have for astronomers, its concrete approach will also be attractive to researchers in the sciences more generally.
There are several billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. One of them is the middle-aged G2V yellow dwarf that rules our lives. The Sun Today discusses the Sun's appearance and composition, its internal workings, and the various kinds of radiation it emits, and it puts forward a novel explanation for coronal heating. The book draws on the findings of telescopic observation, space missions, and technical and theoretical advances in many fields, and shows why we need to know more if we are to understand and manage our foothold in the Universe. From the reviews of other books by Claudio Vita-Finzi: The Sun - A User's Manual (2008) ....this, jargon-free, concise, beautifully illustrated and eminently readable book... D.W. Hughes, Times Literary Supplement Solar History (2013) ....a book that is supremely informative, intensely stimulating and enjoyable to read... Ian Seymour, Astronomy Now A History of the Solar System (2016) ...there is a huge amount of useful information in this book that would benefit anyone who needed more detail than is available in a typical popular science title. Brian Clegg, Popular Science
Our universe seems strangely "biophilic," or hospitable to life. Is this happenstance, providence, or coincidence? According to cosmologist Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's famous remark: "What interests me most is whether God could have made the world differently." This highly engaging book explores the fascinating consequences of the answer being "yes." Rees explores the notion that our universe is just a part of a vast "multiverse," or ensemble of universes, in which most of the other universes are lifeless. What we call the laws of nature would then be no more than local bylaws, imposed in the aftermath of our own Big Bang. In this scenario, our cosmic habitat would be a special, possibly unique universe where the prevailing laws of physics allowed life to emerge. Rees begins by exploring the nature of our solar system and examining a range of related issues such as whether our universe is or isn't infinite. He asks, for example: How likely is life? How credible is the Big Bang theory? Rees then peers into the long-range cosmic future before tracing the causal chain backward to the beginning. He concludes by trying to untangle the paradoxical notion that our entire universe, stretching 10 billion light-years in all directions, emerged from an infinitesimal speck. As Rees argues, we may already have intimations of other universes. But the fate of the multiverse concept depends on the still-unknown bedrock nature of space and time on scales a trillion trillion times smaller than atoms, in the realm governed by the quantum physics of gravity. Expanding our comprehension of the cosmos, Our Cosmic Habitat will be read and enjoyed by all those--scientists and nonscientists alike--who are as fascinated by the universe we inhabit as is the author himself.
Foundations of Astrophysics provides a contemporary and complete introduction to astrophysics for astronomy and physics majors. With a logical presentation and conceptual and quantitative end-of-chapter problems, the material is accessible to introductory astrophysics students taking a two-semester survey course. Starting with the motions of the solar system and a discussion of the interaction of matter and light, the authors explore the physical nature of objects in the solar system, and the exciting new field of exoplanets. The second half of their text covers stellar, galactic, and extragalactic astronomy, followed by a brief discussion of cosmology. This is a reissue of the original 2010 edition, which has established itself as one of the market-leading astrophysics texts, well known for its clarity and simplicity. It has introduced thousands of physical science students to the breadth of astronomy, and helped prepare them for more advanced studies.
The Sun is an active and variable star. Instabilities and non-stationary processes connected to the solar magnetic field and its evolutionary mechanisms modify its radiative and particle output on different time scales, from seconds to the evolutionary scale of the star. The Sun's activity affects interplanetary space and planetary environments, through space weather due to short-term activity and space climate on longer timescales. Space weather processes and forecasts are therefore important for both Earth and space within the heliosphere. The multi-disciplinary IAU Symposium 335 on 'Space Weather of the Heliosphere: Processes and Forecasts' gave a balanced overview of the general advances in space weather. It linked various aspects of research in solar, heliospheric and planetary physics, emphasizing cross-disciplinary developments. These companion proceedings, covering interdisciplinary topics and attracting a wide variety of contributors, serves as a timely reference to the international space weather community.
An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics is a comprehensive, well-organized and engaging text covering every major area of modern astrophysics, from the solar system and stellar astronomy to galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, and cosmology. Designed to provide students with a working knowledge of modern astrophysics, this textbook is suitable for astronomy and physics majors who have had a first-year introductory physics course with calculus. Featuring a brief summary of the main scientific discoveries that have led to our current understanding of the universe; worked examples to facilitate the understanding of the concepts presented in the book; end-of-chapter problems to practice the skills acquired; and computational exercises to numerically model astronomical systems, the second edition of An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics is the go-to textbook for learning the core astrophysics curriculum as well as the many advances in the field.
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