on 31 July 2006
This is by far the most clear and interesting text book ever written (and I've tried to read a lot!)
It explains everything in a precise, sequential manner leaving no questions unanswered. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student, new to astrophysics/cosmology and a bit lost with the amount of jargon and information that you are required to take in, read this book. It will make everything clear. It is the only text book that I have read from cover to cover without skipping a single word.
I wish the authors could write more books like this.
on 18 December 2006
I received this textbook and its partner "An Introduction to the Sun and Stars" as part of the UK Open University's excellent distance-learning course (code S282) on astronomy and cosmology. Both books are among the best texbooks of any kind that I have ever encountered. As an all-too-"mature" student trying to study physical science at home, I found these texts fascinating, engaging, very well-designed, with plenty of questions to test/extend my understanding. If you're studying cosmology or simply want to know more about the science behind all those popular science accounts of the Big Bang and everything after, this is the book for you!
on 19 March 2012
I bought this book for personal use in self-study and can recommend it to all interested parties whether non formally trained scientists, undergraduates, graduates with an interest but perhaps working outside the field or like me a graduate working a million miles away from the subject matter of the book.
If you have a background in the physical sciences this book will make an excellent refresher and reference source for summaries, diagrams and overviews of the relevant arguments. If you don't have a background in the physical sciences this book will help you gain an understanding of the main physical processes governing the formation and evolution of Galaxies (including our own Milky Way galaxy) along with the observational techniques used in obtaining real data to test the theoretical predictions for other Galaxies and the main current Cosmological models. The book is illustrated throughout with beautiful diagrams, photographs and real experimental data and it's fun using the formulae within the book to calculate numbers that you can then see on the experimental graphs and plots.
The book contains summary sections at the end of each chapter and these are excellent, providing not only a reminder of the main points that you've just worked through but a useful "taster" of what's to come before you dive into each chapter. In addition, the book contains many questions in each chapter with answers at the end. These problems are fun to work through and having the answers is a real advantage and a positive asset of the book - there's nothing worse when learning from a book questions being posed but no answers being provided.
On the production of the book, I can't fault it. It's not a massive tomb so I had no problems with the binding splitting - something that can happen with very large paperback text books once opened beyond the first few chapters when the weight of the book splits the binding.
In addition to this book I purchased 2 other books on related topics and have the same comments on them - all 3 books are beautifully illustrated throughout, contain questions with worked solutions and pitch their subject matter at the right level. The books in question are:
An Introduction to the Sun and Stars
by Simon F Green
Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology
by Robert J. A. Lambourne
on 23 March 2010
An extremely well written introduction to this area of Astronomy. The book is designed as part of a distance learning course and so has many exercises with full solutions. Takes you from the properties of Galaxies to the moment after the big bang with the minimum of mathematics, nothing beyond basic algebra is needed to fully understand the material in this book which will make the book appeal to a very wide audience. Relevant areas of Physics are introduced when needed in blue boxes embedded within the text. The lack of maths may disappoint some readers, but other books in this series take you further with the maths needed for a deeper understanding. There are also companion volumes at the same level covering Stars, Planets and the search for Extra Terrestrial Life. Look at the Open University course S282 S283, S382 and S383 for more details. All the books are on Amazon of course.
on 9 December 2013
I love these OU books, designed for students at home, they are clear, have a good lay out, questions and answers, the lot. Their contents level is rare as well. Most Astronomy books out there are either the simple ones for people who just start looking up for the first time at the night sky, or complicated astrophysics books of a 1000 pages + at prices of over 100 euro's, so this book (and the others in its series) is a gem, as it sits right in between the simple and the rocket science stuff.