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Cosmological Physics (Cambridge Astrophysics) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0521422703 ISBN-10: 0521422701 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Astrophysics
  • Paperback: 694 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521422701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521422703
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Even under the best circumstances, writing a textbook on modern cosmology is not easy...one must provide three textbooks in one, and this has, to date, been largelly beyond anyone's ambitions. John Peacock however, has taken up this...challenge, and he has very largely succeeded. [This is] a remarkable book, both for its scope and for its depth of understanding." Physics Today

"The majestic sweep of [Peacock's] discussion of this vast terrain is awesome, and is bound to capture the imagination of most students....The result is an impressive overview of cosmology as a physical science. This abundance will communicate the widespread excitement of the subject..." Nature

"...a truly magnificent achievement. I will certainly adopt it for my courses....[includes] all the most recent important observational developments...and a very thorough pedagogical treatment of the relevant background physics...I am sure this will become one of the classic texts in cosmology." Professor Richard Ellis, FRS, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

"Peacock has done an excellent job of setting out astrophysical cosmology and its underlying physics. This book is sure to be a hit with both professors and students. Cosmology with just the right touch of general relativity and quantum physics." Professor John Huchra, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"I know no other book that covers these wide-ranging topics with such authority." Professor Martin Rees, FRS, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

"Should excite and challenge advanced physics undergraduates and help them to make the transition from learning standard material to research." Professor Roger Blandford, FRS, California Institute of Technology

"...an extraordinary achievement. [Peacock] has succeeded in condensing the essence of modern astrophysical cosmology and particle physics into a single text. It is all written with his characteristic insight and economy of expression. The result is an extraordinary panorama of many of the hottest issues in contemporary science, all done with mathematical precision and total authority. This book is an essential purchase for all physicists and astronomers..." Professor Malcolm Longair, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge

"Cosmological Physics is a truly first class text book." Contemporary Physics

Book Description

This eagerly-awaited textbook provides advanced undergraduate and graduate students with a complete introduction to contemporary cosmology. It successfully bridges the gap between undergraduate and advanced graduate texts by discussing topics of current research, starting from first principles.Throughout this authoritative volume, emphasis is given to the simplest, most intuitive explanation for key equations used by researchers. To aid understanding, the book is well illustrated with helpful figures and includes outline solutions to more than 90 problems. All necessary astronomical jargon is clearly explained, ensuring the book is self-contained for any student with undergraduate physics.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Andy Gregory on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I got this book on short term inter-library loan hoping to further my knowledge of inflationary cosmology. I don't think that this is a suitable volume from which to begin study of this topic unless you have a supervisor on hand for occasional help.The chapter on inflation for example summarises standard results. I found derivations of these not to be explained fully enough for a first encounter. The derivation of the basic equations of motion for the scalar field cosmologies from the Lagrangian is an example.The slow -roll parameters and their relationship to the Friedmann equations are summarised - (a much fuller discussion of these is given in Scott Watson's e -book - see below).This sometimes terse approach can make the book heavy going for people like me working on their own for 'fun'.I did enjoy the chapter though as I had already studied a lot of the material using John Norbury's e-book 'General Relativity'(pdf and html available -contains quite a few errors but inflation is very clearly explained),Scott Watson's (pdf/html)'Exposition on inflationary cosmology'and numerous preprints from the e-archives. With mastery of this material under my belt I therefore found Peacock's material on this topic readable and enjoyable although I did not learn anything new from it. The problems (and solution hints) were good.I enjoyed the chapters on the rudiments of GR (being already very familiar with this albeit from long ago)but again the treatment is brief and constitutes a review rather than a place to start learning GR from.
Dipping into the chapters of material new to me, I could see little hope of personal progress here using this book as a starting point.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JDG on March 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
First the good:
Peacock clearly knows his subject, and he is a good writer. His prose is well-constructed and easy to read. This text makes a good reference, with important results placed in easy-to-find boxes and tables of cosmological values and formulae in the back.

This book's problem stems more from its presentation of ideas. The publisher's foreword states, "The essential concepts and key equations used by professional researchers in both theoretical and observational cosmology are derived and explained from first principles... the book is self-contained for students with a background in undergraduate physics." These statements are laughable.

Even the more rigorous of Peacock's derivations jump large chunks of reasoning and mathematics; most rely largely on vague arguments (frequently by the author's own admission). One may accept the results of such derivations, but it is difficult to gain a true understanding of the physics involved. It is nearly impossible to then apply these results to cases that differ from the specific assumptions made by the author.

The exercises the author includes frequently rely on the student to make similar leaps of logic. For example, Peacock provides a plausible derivation of the form of the stress-energy tensor for a perfect fluid, but not for any other case. He then asks the student to consider cases such as rotating mass shells; the hint provided for this problem assumes that the student can simply infer what the stress-energy tensor is in this case without any guidance whatsoever.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jill Bechtold on April 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Very lucid and up-to-date description of cosmology and relativity, with the right balance of qualitative discussion, presentation of the important observations, and mathematical formalism.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Great book. Unlike many other cosmology books it is very up to date. Should be used with another book, such as Rowan-Robinson or Kolb and Turner for class atmosphere. It is a little lacking in examples, while the presentation is very good. This book is for the undergraduate senior or the graduate student.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mohammad Kianjah on October 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Cosmological Physics by J.A. Peacock is little more than an arrogant exhibition of author's mastery of the subject at the expense of his unsuspecting reader. speaking in a language that is way over the head of his intended audience, Peacock makes no efforts at providing the mathematical derivation for the many obscure formulas which appear to have been pulled from the thin air, thereby leaving the reader with a "take it or leave it" option; and with no worked examples to put these equations into proper context, the reader is left dangling in an abstract wander-land of largely unproven equations. Though this approach may help conceal author's own difficulties with the underlying mathematics, it does little to convince even the least skeptical of readers of the scientific merits of much of what he has to say. Peacock's book is in the worst tradition of textbooks largely responsible for dislike of science in general and mathematics in particular by generations of otherwise inquiring minds. While this book may be of some value at a Cosmological symposium, primarily as a means of impressing one's colleagues with half-baked pronouncements, it is of no value either as a teaching tool or as a comprehensible source of learning.
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