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Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Peter Coles
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book is a simple, non-technical introduction to cosmology, explaining what it is and what cosmologists do. Peter Coles discusses the history of the subject, the development of the Big Bang theory, and more speculative modern issues like quantum cosmology, superstrings, and dark matter.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Product Description

New Scientist, September 29, 2001

a pleasure to read

From the Back Cover

Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structures, Second Edition, is a modern introduction to this fascinating and fast developing subject. The book provides a unique bridge between introductory and advanced material, starting with the elementary foundations of basic cosmological theory, to 'state-of-the-art' frontier research. Extensively revised and updated, the Second Edition includes the latest observational and theoretical developments. The book is fully illustrated throughout with completely updated references.


*Recent observational breakthroughs including high redshift supernovae, CMB measurements, gravitational lensing and galaxy studies.

*The latest theoretical developments, such as supercomputer simulations and semi-analytical galaxy formation

*Around 100 graded problems, ranging from basic cosmology to advanced topics.

This book will be invaluable to advanced undergraduates and postgraduates taking cosmology courses and will also be a useful reference for researchers in the field.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1118 KB
  • Print Length: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (23 Aug. 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #132,859 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced view of cosmology 3 Mar. 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a truly excellent introduction to cosmology for specialist and non-specialist alike. It is non-mathematical and so may be read by anyone, but the overall cover is so good, in my opinion, that it would prove an ideal first read for both undergraduates and postgraduates. All the main topics are covered; the big problems facing us are all highlighted, but what makes this book stand out is the total lack of arrogance displayed by the author. When dealing with something which is not established fact, he gives his opinion but makes it absolutely clear that it is just that - his opinion! This is in marked contrast to the attitude displayed in most texts and is certainly contrary to the policy adopted by some popular scientific journals, which seem to establish a sort of 'perceived conventional wisdom' and refuse to publish anything which disagrees with that so-called wisdom. This book will certainly not lead the interested amateur astray, but will present both facts and theories and leave the reader to make up his own mind over matters which are still open to question.
I would urge anyone with an interest in cosmology to buy this book and read it . However, be warned; physically it is a little book but, to gain the maximum from reading it, it is definitely not a quick read! Read it, digest it and enjoy! It really is worth the effort!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to cosmology 7 Aug. 2005
By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE
Laymen's guides to physics usually resort to metaphors that are seriously misleading. The alternative is a highly mathematical approach that is inaccessible to most readers. Coles manages to simplify without misleading. Actually, some basic knowledge of physics is assumed, at least if you want a full understanding of what is being said, but it is never beyond high school level and most of the book does not require even that.
Covering relativity, quantum theory, particle physics and much else, this is a perfect introduction to a vast and profound topic. My only complaint: cosmology is a fast-changing subject. A new edition is needed very soon.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro, but slightly out of date 9 Dec. 2010
By Darthy
I found this to be a very useful introduction to Cosmology - though the concepts are notoriously difficult to understand, Coles writes well and covers all the basics. The history of the study of cosmology is outlined, and relativity and quantum mechanics given equal weight.
However, readers should be warned that, having been published in 2001, the book is a little out-of-date now - Coles often refers to forthcoming studies which have now been completed, and to mysteries about which we know a lot more - the value of Omega and "shape" of space, for example. The book was also written at a time when the notion that the expansion of the universe is accelerating was new, and Coles therefore often writes on the assumption that the expansion of the universe is slowing down - which we now know not to be true. Dark energy, another new concept at the time, is not mentioned by name, only as a new theoretical notion of "vacuum energy", and string theory is also given just one paragraph.
I would suggest going on to read "Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction", which updates much of the information in this book. I would also suggest Michio Kaku's "Parallel Worlds", the first few chapters of which provide an excellent overview of cosmology and which also discusses string theory, as well as Stephen Hawking's "The Grand Design", which summerises much of current understanding.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good and non-mathematical introduction. 14 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This book lives up to its title as a very short introduction. It covers the history of cosmological ideas including the great astronomical discoveries and theoretical triumphs of the 20th century. It also brings up the questions that are baffling todays cosmologists, the Hubble Constant, Omega, quantum-gravity, dark matter etc.
The introduction is non-mathematical and can be appreciated by non-scientists. There are relevant diagrams and photographs. Ideas are expressed clearly and logically. The book is an ideal starter for anyone interested in this exciting subject.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 26 Mar. 2009
This is an outrageously well-written and FUN book covering the biggest topic it is possible to imagine (in our physical world, at least).

The VSI format is well-established and the publishers choose their writers carefully. I am not a cosmologist so I have no idea where Peter Coles stands in any sort of pecking order of those specialists, but he is the perfect choice to make this (potentially) difficult topic easily accessible to anyone willing to engage with it. Technical terms and jargon are ruthlessly eschewed in favour of transparent clear writing. The sheer wonder involved in considering the Universe we inhabit is effortlessly painted, without ever losing a sense of playfulness and humility (i.e. there are a lot of things even the best cosmologists do not understand, but we are trying our best).

I can assure potential readers that this is ACCESSIBLE and FUN. Bravo to Peter and all concerned!

As a rider, an excellent companion volume for those with their appetite whetted by this book - do not fail to read "Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction" by John Gribbin. John is of course a well-known general science writer but he was an astrophysicist (or some such) first. A great book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction.
Clear, comprehensive and readable. An excellent introduction.
Published 4 months ago by Thales
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good introduction
Of all branches of all the physical sciences, cosmology is by far the most far reaching. As far as we know for certain, biology is a science that is restricted to just one planet,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by S. Meadows
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosmology
A good read, explains clearly what cosmology is without being overly complicated. Very good for anyone not familiar with the subject.
Published 14 months ago by Claire Derby
3.0 out of 5 stars A readable account of quickly aging content (2001)
I bought this book as an initial prop for moving on to more complete accounts by Brian Green and L. Krauss, etc. However its content written circa 2001 is showing its age already. Read more
Published on 26 Sept. 2012 by George Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars An Introduction not a Simplification
This is the first book I've read from Oxford University Press' A Very Short Introduction series. Launched in 1995, there are now over 300 in the range covering topics as diverse as... Read more
Published on 9 April 2012 by A. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars short, precise and up to date
I bought this book for someone else as an introduction
to modern cosmology. The book is intended for an non
expert audience and touches on all major issues in... Read more
Published on 23 Aug. 2011 by Hubert
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to a fascinating subject
As a complete newbie to Astronomy, Cosmology, Nuclear physics etc., but feeling I might be interested in it, I found this book to be just a perfect introduction. Read more
Published on 3 May 2011 by Cyclops
4.0 out of 5 stars :)
It is a book for those who enjoyed Science, especially Astrophysics and Universe.
For those, who do keen to know any of the dark sky, it is surely the one to get.
Published on 4 May 2010 by T. T. Yan
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but needs a new updated edition to be perfect
I like this book, and several others in the series of "Very Short Introduction to...". I read some relevant chapters on the way to a talk on Highest Energy Physics at the Science... Read more
Published on 23 Dec. 2009 by M. Ringrose
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Goody in the Series
Fine summary of the state of knowledge, if slightly dated.
Excellent as quick refresher, well written, knowledgeable and witty style.
Published on 15 July 2009 by M. Pearson
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