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Calibrating the Cosmos: How Cosmology Explains Our Big Bang Universe (Astronomers' Universe) Hardcover – October 17, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0387307787 ISBN-10: 0387307788 Edition: 2007th

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"Levin (emer., Brown Univ.) has based his book on his lectures for adult education classes … . Judicious use of numbers, equations, illustrations, and graphs help the reader understand the verbal descriptions. … Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students." (M. Dickinson, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (9), May, 2007)

"For those wishing to learn more about the universe and its origins, a good place to begin is Frank Levin’s Calibrating the Cosmos. … Levin makes far more use of charts and graphs to illustrate his discussion of astronomical concepts like the Hubble Constant. … Calibrating the Cosmos aimed at a particular audience: people who don’t know much about cosmology, but who are relatively intelligent and motivated to learn." (Jeff Foust, The Space Review, June, 2007)

"Calibrating the Cosmos is the first in a series of Astronomers’ Universe titles that attempt to bring front-line astronomy research to the informed amateur astronomer and scientist. The aim is ambitious – to provide a quantitative yet descriptive account of the evolution of the Universe and its contents … . The discussion is supported by an impressive array of appendices, chapter notes, a bibliography (including internet-based sources), a glossary, and symbol definitions! This book will serve best the keen amateur astronomer and scientist … ." (Jon Willis, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1200), October, 2007)

"American physicist Frank Levin has written a comprehensive and authoritative introduction to cosmology – the science that deals with the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe. Levin’s book is based on lectures he gave in several-adult education courses. … we’d recommend … to anyone who wants to get to grips with a weighty but rewarding subject." (Marcus Chown, BBC Sky at Night, May, 2007)

"Calibrating the Cosmos is the first volume in the new series from Springer called Astronomers Universe, intended for just about anyone with a measure of curiosity. … With diagrams and even one or two colour photos the value is excellent and I can recommend it without reservation." (Bill Barlow, Astronomy Now, June, 2007)

"Frank Levin currently teaches cosmology to adults who lack the scientific and mathematical background that would usually be regarded as a sine qua non for anyone embarking on such a course of study. His latest book, Calibrating the Cosmos, grew out of this work and promises to bring the science of modern cosmology within reach of the lay reader." (Brendan K Ward, Astronomy and Space, October, 2007)

About the Author

Until his retirement Professor Levin was a faculty member at Brown University, teaching a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in physics and mathematics. Since retiring in 2001 he has taught adult education courses on cosmology and the universe (2002, 2003, and 2005), and on quantum ideas and phenomena (2004 and 2006). His publications include An Introduction to Quantum Theory (Cambridge, 2001/2002), co-editor with D. A. Micha, two volumes in the series, Finite Systems and Multiparticle Dynamics (Plenum): Vol. 1 Long Range Casimir Forces (1993); Vol. 2 Coulomb Interactions in Nuclear and Atomic Few-body Systems (1996).

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Product Details

  • Series: Astronomers' Universe
  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2007 edition (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387307788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387307787
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,009,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jesse L. Weil on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Frank Levin's new book on Cosmology is a wonderful introduction to the subject for anyone who has read the words "black hole", "inflation", "Big Bang", "omega zero" and wants to know what they are about and how they connect to each other. I am an experimental physicist doing 25% of my work in nuclear astrophysics, i.e. laboratory measurements on what happens inside stars. At conferences, I would hear talks using these words, but only had a vague idea what some of them meant. Dr. Levin's book gave me a coherent explanation of what they mean, using simple models and pictures, and how they could be used to understand the current picture that cosmologists have about the history of your universe. He explains how many of the results are arrived at, in terms that any person, with or without a scientific background, can understand. And he tells what is still not understood. Levin has a great talent for making a complex subject understandable for the average, interested layperson. He uses simple words and pictures, and no equations. I recommend the book highly to all who are interested in modern science, but are not scientists. And even the scientists can learn a lot from his book if cosmology is not their specialty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Bonnan on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a biology professor, but I've always been interested in astronomy -- I was just too math-incompetent to be an effective astronomer. How do they figure out the distances to stars? Why does the big-bang theory provide the most consistent (if not universally accepted) explanation for what we see? If these are the sorts of questions you want the answers to but either got nothing from science TV programs or were intimidated by the math, this is for you. For the first time (thanks for nothing, former physics profs!) I finally understand on a half-way intelligent level why astronomers and cosmologists conceive of the universe as they do. This book ended some of my frustrations with my astronomical ignorance ... now I just need someone to point me towards a book that can explain to me how relativity can effect biological organisms and not just clocks. =)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark K McKinney on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I like to read about cosmology, and want to know more than easy layman stuff but not super mathematical either. I want there to be enough math to give it context though, without making me think too hard. This book will make you think some, but the understanding it gives you in return is phenomenal!!! I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about knowing what humanity currently understands about the universe. It won't make you think about who's trying to BS who with their latest theory on string-branes or multi-universes. This is what is currently accepted as true, and delivered in a context that can be comprehended, with some effort, by the lay person. Want to feed your need for existential validation? This is the physical world's answer!!!!
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