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VINE VOICEon 20 April 2010
Cosmology is not one of those subjects which allows itself to be taken up lightly. Not only is there a universe, comprising, for instance literally billions galaxies (in clusters and super-clusters), black holes, dark energy and dark matter; there is the question of The Beginning, The Concept of its size and the contemplation of The End; the constituent particles which makes up the matter, and the possibility of other universes, and quite frankly I haven't even begun.
So I am very grateful to Oxford University Press and authors Andrew Liddle and Jon Loveday for successfully compiling a compact, easy to read and efficiently cross-referenced work on such an immense subject. From a definition of the Universe itself, down to explanations of the fundamental particle the quarks, each subject is described in a clear and concise way, with an impressive number of illustrations and photographs. There are also excellent small biographies of notables such as Eisenstein, Hoyle and Zel'dovich.
Now I admit I struggle a bit with some items on the theoretical particles, the various items relating to other possible universes and Planck Scales, but seeing as how I have no grounding in the relevant physics or mathematics then that's my problem for venturing there, and the joy of this book is after a few careful readings of the relevant passages I am beginning to get a clearer perspective.
Also one of the delights of reading the various passages is coming across snatches of humour, some of it self-deprecating of the Study and those involved, which makes us with just an interest but no relevant qualifications feel a lot better about ourselves.
Overall you can pick this up this volume and dive in wheresoever you wish, then be prepared to be transported off on a journey of cross-referencing (but try and concentrate on the one subject you started with- I don't, so many interesting things to read about).
Ideal for many; for those who have simply asked `How?' or `Why?'; for students hoping to enter the field and of course those with serious interest either amateur or professional.
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on 5 February 2013
I bought this book for my husband as a Christmas present - he has a scientific background. He found it an excellent read with clear definitions. However, he said the entries are somewhat repetitous and could have been reduced in length by more careful cross-referencing..
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on 21 August 2013
I am an academic historian of science and my speciality is the history of astronomy in the 20th century. This Oxford Companion is an excellent one-stop reference. It has plenty of small illustrations. Importantly for me the book has many pen portrait biographies of astronomers.

First sentence: "The universe is a big place so it's nice to have a guide to help you find your way around" I agree. The book is suitable for lay readers as a bridge from popular science accounts and the academic literature. It is not suitable for outright beginners
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on 5 July 2013
very well packaged, no signs or marks within the pages, a hard cover would be more fascinating, but unfortunately is too expensive
anyway, pretty interesting
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