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Physical Foundations of Cosmology 1st Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521563987
ISBN-10: 0521563984
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Editorial Reviews


“Mukhanov has written an excellent text in cosmology for students who have a good understanding of theoretical physics at the undergraduate level.”

"This book contains a thorough and modern introduction to physical cosmology...There is much in this book for experts as well as serious students of cosmology. Anyone mastering the second part of it will have a firm foundation for frontier research in theoretical cosmology."

Book Description

This textbook takes an original approach to cosmology by showing where theoretical results come from, in addition to discussing the basis of modern cosmology. The book covers established material as well as bringing the reader to the frontiers of current cosmological research by the discussion of more speculative ideas. An ideal textbook for advanced students of physics and astrophysics, all of the necessary back ground material is included in every chapter and no prior knowledge of general relativity and quantum field theory is assumed.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 421 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521563984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521563987
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A. Zee on August 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
With the rising importance of cosmology has come an increasing flood of textbooks on modern cosmology. While I have not surveyed all the textbooks out there, many of those I have looked at suffered from serious problems. Recently, I had the opportunity of looking at Slava Mukhanov's new book on cosmology and I was so struck by its excellence that I am moved to post a review on Amazon, something I am not in the habit of doing. The bottom line is that I heartily recommend to any student or physicist serious about mastering modern cosmology. Mukhanov is one of the earliest pioneers in inflationary cosmology and a towering figure over the whole field, particularly when it comes to actual calculation, as compared to mere talk, of the density fluctuation spectrum.

Different people have different criteria for an outstanding textbook. I like a textbook to slice away all the obscure and unnecessary formalism shrouding the subject and to get through to the underlying concepts and the important physical ideas. So, dear reader, if you love heavy dry formalism that does not help you understand physics, then this book is not for you. (An aside: from a cursory glance at some of the reviews of physics books posted on Amazon I was amazed by the number of readers, apparently misinformed and misguided, more interested in mathematics and formalism than in understanding physics.)

There is a whole spectrum of books on cosmology. There are the giant compendia of every imaginable topic, but with almost nothing really derived, such as the book by Peacock. Then there are those books notorious for the amount of hype and hot air they blow. Such books apparently really appeal to people who want to "grasp" cosmology without doing any work; they could just read the hype and "be happy.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By smallphi on February 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've read the book and solved part of the problems in the course of a few months.

Let's start with the good. Viatcheslav Mukhanov is obviously an expert in theoretical cosmology, he is well known for quantizing the cosmological inhomogeneities. On 400 pages, he discusses all major topics like the necessary general relativity, hot universe (nucleosynthesis and recombination), the speculative ideas about the very early universe, inflation, inhomogeneities (their quantization and subsequent evolution), primordial quantum fluctuations, CMB, the gravitational wave background, and the CMB polarization. He is apparently a wizzard in obtaining semi-analytical approximations of differential equation solutions where others use numerical code. Experts in the field will appreciate the book as a primer for formulas and approximations. It feels like the author has shown his own view in the derivations, and often generalizes them compared to more elementary texts - for example the general relativity chapter is not limited to flat universes only and the inflation chapter discusses a rolling de Sitter space (H varies with time) not the easier exact de Sitter. The emphasis is on deriving approximate formulas in gory detail and interpretation of the results.

Now the bad for which I deducted one point. This books is definitely not for undegraduate or even middle level graduate student despite the author's claims. Understanding the GR chapter requires a course in GR and understanding the early universe chapter with its speculative fantasies coming from particle physics require a REALLY GOOD understanding of the ideas at frontiers of QFT - I had hard time telling what was going on conceptually behind the messy formulas.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By reader canada on February 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Long-waited excellent textbook on phyical cosmology.

Contrary to many other texts on cosmology, which report

numerous facts, this one is self-consistent and derives

results from the first principles, economically

and often neatly. It covers main topics where

theoretical physics operates in cosmology.
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