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Modern Cosmology: Anisotropies and Inhomogeneities in the Universe Hardcover – 1 Mar 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 2 edition (1 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0122191412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0122191411
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"...I like the choice of topics and detailed derivations of some of the basic processes which cannot be found in any other textbook and which really make this book a textbook out of which one can actually learn something. Examples include detailed derivation of inflationary spectrum, Boltzmann equation etc. ... I also like the extensive list of problems at the end of each chapter. This is a great textbook that is long overdue given the importance of the subject..." - Uros Seljak, Princeton University "This book is very up to date and gives excellent treatments of structure formation...This provides what is the most complete such description in an textbook." - Paul H. Frampton, Universtiy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CERN COURIER (Oct 2003) "(In) Dodelson's Modern Cosmology we have recently obtained an appropriate textbook for the dawn of this new epoch...In a sense, this book is postmodern cosmology (with an affirmative connotation!), in being the first to consider the new wave of challenges for this oldest scientific philosophical pursuit...it provides an excellent introduction to some of the most dynamical areas in physics and astronomy, very likely to remain attractive for at least a couple of decades." - Milan M. Cirkovic, Astronomical Obervatory of Belgrade, FOUNDATIONS OF PHYSICS (Oct 2003) "Dodelson writes well and the mathematical derivations are generally well laid out and easy to follow. Useful sets of exercises appear at the end of each chapter, along with suggestions for further reading, often with amusing commentaries. New graduate students, Dodelson's intended audience should find it easy to learn from this book." -George Efstathiou, University of Cambride, England (July 2004)

About the Author

Scott Dodelson is Head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at Fermilab and Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He received in Ph.D. at Columbia University and was a research fellow at Harvard before coming to Fermilab and Chicago. He is the author of more than seventy papers on cosmology, most of which focused on the cosmic microwave background and the large scale structure of the universe.

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Einstein's discovery of general relativity in the last century enabled us for the first time in history to come up with a compelling, testable theory of the universe. Read the first page
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Calculations presented in the book are very through, especially in the part devoted to cosmological perturbation theory. This is particularly useful if you are new to the subject and do not mind getting insight on the topic through the math. All the topics have a good balance between conciseness and clarity. A particular emphasis is given to Cosmic Microwave Background related topics with detailed calculation of temperature anisotropies physics. I think it's a must have for people approaching this field. Good reference from the literature are also provided. The CMB data analysis chapter is very useful to grasp the high level of statistical data analysis tools that CMB community has developed over the years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x903e5480) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8feed918) out of 5 stars Impressive even at a first look 3 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled across the title of this book when I was browsing around somebody's cosmology course website. I know that Scott Dodelson is a quite well-known cosmologist, so I start searching for more information. After reading the preliminary detailed table of contents (I found it somewhere on the web) and the book description from Academic Press, I decided to pre-order the book. The book arrived just on March 31. I tried to take a quick but thorough view before write this comment. I haven't read the book in full. Here i would just like to write the Table of Contents in more detail by including the sections.
1. The Standard Model and Beyond. The expanding universe, Hubble diagram, Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN), Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), beyond Standard Model.
2. The Smooth, Expanding Universe. General relativity (crash course), distances, evolution of energy, cosmic inventory (photons, baryons, matter, neutrinos, dark energy, epoch of matter-radiation equality).
3. Beyond Equilibrium. Boltzmann equation for annihilation, BBN (neutron & light elements abudance), recombination, dark matter.
4. The Boltzmann Equations (BE). BE for harmonic oscillator, the collisionless BE for photons (0th and 1st order), collision terms: Compton scattering, BE for photons, BE for Cold Dark Matter (CDM), BE for baryons.
5. Einstein Equations. Perturbed Ricci tensor and scalar, two components of Einstein Equations, tensor perturbations, decomposition theorems, gauges.
6. Initial conditions. Einstein-Boltzmann equations at early times, the horizon, inflation, gravity wave production, scalar perturbations.
7. Inhomogeneities. Prelude, large scales (super-horizon & through horizon crossing), small scales (horizon & sub-horizon crossing), growth function, beyond CDM.
8. Anisotropies. Overview, large-scale anisotropies, acoustic oscillations (tightly coupled), diffusion (Silk) damping, inhomogeneities to anisotropies (free streaming, C_{l}s), anisotropy spectrum (Sachs-Wolfe, small scales), cosmological parameters.
9. Probe of Inhomogeneities. Angular correlation, peculiar velocities, redshift space distortions, galaxy clusters.
10. Weak Lensing and Polarization. Gravitational distortion, geodesics and shears, ellipticity, weak lensing power spectrum, polarization, quadrupole and Q/U (or E/B as in recent literatures) decomposition, polarization power spectra, detection of gravity waves.
11. Analysis. Likelihood function, signal covariance matrix, Karhunen-Loeve & optimal quadratic, Fisher matrix, mapmaking & inversion, systematics, foregrounds.
Appendix A. Solution to Selected Problems
Appendix B. Numbers
Appendix C. Special Functions
Appendix D. Symbols.
In addition, each chapter is ended with a summary and further reading list. Quite nice indeed. The bibliography are extensive: there are classic, pioneering papers, recent papers, textbooks. There are some color plates in the middle part of the book.
In my opinion, this book is far better than Peacock in discussing new aspect of anisotropies and inhomogeneities. Lots of topics that were only previously available in research papers, review articles, summer school lectures, preprints, are brought together to the form of a decent book. The chapter of analysis is quite interesting, since the subject has become very demanding but there are still no single treatment of it.
Dodelson said in the preface that the expected audience are advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students. Some of the necessary materials (GR, inflation, are introduced in the text).
I myself suggests, however, that the reader should have a proficient knowledge in standard undergraduate physics (mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, quantum physics), mathematical physics, and general relativity if possible. Some knowledge of astrophysics/astronomy, statistics/data analysis, kinetic theory, would certainly be welcomed.
A little bit of cons, however are inevitable. The current development in cosmology is astounding. Just a few weeks before the book was published, the WMAP team released their first result after a year of observations, which put tight constraints for cosmological models. Several numbers and figures in the book then are in the need to be updated. Topics such as distant quasars, cosmic reionization and the end of cosmic dark ages, first-generation stars, might be worthy enough to be included in the future.
This book is definitely a must buy for cosmologist.
Update 2003 July 8
Author's website for the book is available with full table of contents at
Update 2003 September 8.
You should also get two more books beside this.
1) Kinetic theory in the expanding universe by Jeremy Bernstein, Cambridge, 1988, ISBN 0-521-36050-1. Best reference material to understand relativistic Boltzmann equation in Dodelson chapter 3-5.
2) The Early Universe by Edward W. Kolb and Michael S. Turner, Perseus/Westview, 1994, ISBN 0-201-62674-8. Contains extensive material on FRW metric, detailed discussion on nucleosynthesis and particle physics-cosmology interface, inflation, and structure formation.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x905d1f9c) out of 5 stars The best book on graduate cosmology. 18 Mar. 2006
By Andrew J. S. Hamilton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am currently teaching graduate cosmology. Modern cosmology is an extraordinarily beautiful piece of physics that has allowed cosmologists to learn from observations fundamental facts about our universe. Graduate students want to understand this beautiful subject themselves. Dodelson's book is the one that delivers that understanding. Of the several graduate cosmology texts out there, this one is unquestionably the best.

The book is uncompromisingly a graduate level text. The material is intrinsically hard, but Dodelson does a remarkable job of taking the reader through it. The problem sets at the end of each chapter (some with solutions) are well thought out, and fill in many gaps. Each chapter concludes with a thoughtful summary and a guide to further reading. If you are going to teach a graduate level cosmology class with this book, then you should impress on your students that the text is not easy, but it's the real unwatered-down thing.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x900b2744) out of 5 stars Great text 25 Jun. 2004
By M. Salem - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I haven't used another cosmology text for comparison, but have been very pleased with this one. The text is everywhere clear, reasonably concise, and the author uses good judgment in determining which calculations to present as examples and which to reserve for practice, all of which make this a very easy text to read. My only reservations are that necessary assumptions and approximations do not always seem fully justified, and the reader is often asked to wait until later in the text for certain approximations to be justified, which at times disrupts the logical flow of the text. The text is also somewhat incomplete in the sense that Dodelson does not always start from first principles. In my case I considered this an advantage as it allowed for quicker reading and less overhead before important results are presented. The discussion of inflation was less complete than I had hoped, but sufficient to prepare me for the literature.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x900e1cb4) out of 5 stars Approachable Cosmology 19 Jun. 2003
By f. j. busch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must-have for the cosmos-curious. Well organized and indexed and excellently written, the author puts difficult information within reach of the student who aspires to understand one of the most complex disciplines. A superb accomplishment by a fine teacher and consummate scientist that should become the definitive text for all would-be cosmologists.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fe68a20) out of 5 stars My favorite cosmology book 20 Aug. 2015
By James Lynch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The editorial review by Professor Efstathiou (below) is a very concise description of what this book is:

"Dodelson writes well and the mathematical derivations are generally well laid out and easy to follow. Useful sets of exercises appear at the end of each chapter, along with suggestions for further reading, often with amusing commentaries. New graduate students, Dodelson's intended audience should find it easy to learn from this book."
-George Efstathiou, University of Cambride, England (July 2004)

What I might add is that, if you have a physics background and are interested in picking up cosmology as an "enthusiast" (not necessarily a graduate student in the field), this book is quite approachable and, as noted above, actually fun to read. Professor Dodelson's book is indeed an advanced textbook, and if you take the time to read it through carefully (and perhaps more than once!) and do a fair fraction of the problems, you will have a solid background to approach the research literature. But, it also is as much fun to read as the popularizations and less advanced books. Balancing the rigor of the math and physics with the sheer sense of joy and discovery is not an easy thing to do, but Professor Dodelson has done it. This is what textbooks should aspire to!
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