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5.0 out of 5 stars A Covariant and Geometric Approach to Relativistic Cosmology!
This book is written by three authors who are all authorities on the subject of relativistic cosmology. The book, as per its description, is aimed at graduate students and researchers within the field. One of the best points to this book is its emphasis on the covariant and geometric approach to relativistic cosmology. The book contains a solid introduction to the 1+3...
Published 13 months ago by Geraint

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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complex and irritating issue
To begin with, a warning might be appropriate:
This book is by no means stand-alone literature!
First, as you may already have noticed in the product description, you have to open the link to get larger and coloured versions of the figures. When you try this, you find a zip-file with four different file formats (jpg, pdf, eps and ps, the last two most likely not...
Published on 30 Nov. 2012 by casey-san


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5.0 out of 5 stars A Covariant and Geometric Approach to Relativistic Cosmology!, 3 April 2014
This book is written by three authors who are all authorities on the subject of relativistic cosmology. The book, as per its description, is aimed at graduate students and researchers within the field. One of the best points to this book is its emphasis on the covariant and geometric approach to relativistic cosmology. The book contains a solid introduction to the 1+3 formalism and the foundations of modern relativistic cosmology. The book then proceeds to detail a large number of key applications of the 1+3 approach to modern cosmology. A few topics of interest include: perturbation theory, cosmic microwave background anisotropies, structure formation, gravitational lensing and inflation. The book also contains a good introduction to current areas of research such as: modified gravity, inhomogeneous or anisotropic cosmologies and a brief introduction to cosmological implications of quantum gravity (e.g. covariant brane-world dynamics).

Another review complains about certain features of the book such as its tendency to reference the literature. This is extremely important for a textbook surveying the current state of relativistic cosmology and it is vital that an up to date list of references is provided. The body of work on this subject is substantial and providing directed reading to new graduate students is a good way to provide exposure to the wider literature available. There are certainly many other topics that have not been covered in this book but all attempts to refer the reader to the appropriate references have been made. This is very much appreciated.

As for the Newtonian limit of general relativity, this is a more subtle point and involves understanding how general relativity behaves in a Newtonian limit. The real Universe is certainly not Newtonian but many astrophysical calculations, including some in large scale structure, are performed in a Newtonian framework. It is important to understand what the phenomenological and dynamical differences between the two approaches are such that we may quantify the errors that a Newtonian approximation could give rise to. Newtonian theory should only be a good approximation when its results are a good approximation to those obtained from GR, not the other way around. This is emphasised in the book and a more detailed discussion is provided (e.g. Section 3.4).

It is also important for many astrophysicists as relativistic effects are becoming more and more important with upcoming surveys that provide an unprecedented levels of radial depth and sky coverage (e.g. cosmological light cone effects).

For graduate students, researchers and anyone interested in relativistic cosmology, this book is a very good reference and an insightful introduction to the field. It is clear, concise and will bring you up to speed with current research.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complex and irritating issue, 30 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Relativistic Cosmology (Hardcover)
To begin with, a warning might be appropriate:
This book is by no means stand-alone literature!
First, as you may already have noticed in the product description, you have to open the link to get larger and coloured versions of the figures. When you try this, you find a zip-file with four different file formats (jpg, pdf, eps and ps, the last two most likely not standard software on your machine). Not too much care has been taken to fit an image to the available space either, at least in the pdf-files.
Second, this book cannot be read without preparation: You need a solid knowledge of both Special and General Relativity and have a good understanding (better: application) of tensors and, as surprising as it may seem, thermodynamics. Moreover, you should be familiar with different kinds of mathematical notations, as the notation used (and not thoroughly explained) in this book is obviously specific to the authors to some extent. Not to mention a variety of meanings for Pi, V, v, E and many more.
When you are prepared, you are ready to indulge yourself.

Indeed, the book provides a large spread of current descriptions - models - of cosmology. However, to achieve an understanding, it takes patience:
I've never before seen/ read any book where so few graphics are used to support the text and especially the key equations. As the notation appears not always applied in the same way, several of those equations remain vague or doubtful, a few of those are definitely wrong. However, you will still be able to grasp the subject(s).
Quite distracting is the extremely high amount of cross-references not only to other topics in the book, but to further literature, quoting at least one of this book's authors. Unfortunately, (too) many statements are exclusively referred to such external literature.
Irritating to some extent is the frequent reference of relativistic equations to the Newtonian world. Usually, you would expect science proceed the other way, i.e. to set up the Newtonian world and develop from there.
Consequently, you'll most likely be surprised what classical equations look like in their tensor forms.
Equally surprising: The frequent relation to thermodynamics, often trying to describe the cosmos as an almost perfect fluid. Having studied thermodynamics myself, this approach is extremely doubtful.
Closely connected to this observation, but applicable to almost every basic equation (of which there are hundreds in the book), the frequent, very selective (or subjective) assumptions and conditions to proceed in a pre-conceived way, without even once considering a possible alternative.
This leaves you with many more questions on the subject then you had when you started.

As the focus of the book is on the variety of models to describe a universe, occasionally looking at a physical (observational) evidence, you are left with a clutter of individual fragments and are considerably far away from any unification that would describe our universe on all scales.

When you are studying cosmology or even happen to have your professor rely his lectures on this book, you can hardly avoid the purchase.
For an interested reader, I cannot suggest the purchase at all.
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Relativistic Cosmology
Relativistic Cosmology by Malcolm A. H. MacCallum (Hardcover - 22 Mar. 2012)
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