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4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Comprehensive Cosmology Text, 6 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Primordial Cosmology (Oxford Graduate Texts) (Hardcover)
There are now available for the beginning graduate student a large number of excellent texts dealing with the early stages of the universe. Most of these assume a substantial background in General Relativity and Particle Physics - including at least some acquaintance with the Standard Model and Quantum Field Theory. There are exceptions such as Peacock's Cosmological Physics, but even so, these works merely present rather than derive the needed results from the various fields of physics that are necessary for a proper appreciation of modern cosmology. Those books that do present complete derivations usually confine themselves to only a few aspects of cosmology that follow directly from the branch of physics of which the work is primarily concerned. Thus, the majority of works on General Relativity will contain a derivation of the Friedman equation and say something of the inflationary scenario, but leave much of the content cosmology either wholly unmentioned or only alluded cursorily.
The book under review attempts to resolve this problem by providing relatively complete derivations of all the appropriate expressions from physics whilst covering the vast area of theoretical cosmology, but with some observational cosmology included. It even contains a discussion of the topology of the universe as well as string theory and related topics. In this sense, it is almost encyclopedic. Obviously, with such an ambitious program, sacrifices have been made. The derivations are sometimes extremely succinct and often just hinted at. Nevertheless, under the guidance offered within these pages, the serious student should have little difficulty in filling in the details. With this proviso, it would be fair to say that Peter and Uzan have produced a genuinly useful text, quite unlike any equivalent extant work. Of course, the reader must decide how successful these writers have been, but for my part, I have found the book extremely useful and much more complete than I had expected. If I were to select only a single cosmology text, then this would be the one.
There are some drawbacks. The present work is translated from the original french edition and occasionally it shows. Nevertheless, it is quite well-written, although the index could be expanded. For example, the Ekpyrrotic model is discussed, but there is no corresponding indexed entry, although there is a section heading for this construction. This situation is repeated for many other topics. But this is a minor criticism of a superb and comprehensive cosmology text that is more than a mere survey.
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