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Cosmology. The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure - Coles P., Lucchin F.

 
Название: Cosmology. The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure
Автор: Coles P., Lucchin F.
Категория: Астрономия
Тип: Книга
Дата: 23.03.2009 18:35:06
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Описание: This is a book about modern cosmology. Because this is a big subject – as big as the Universe – we have had to choose one particular theme upon which to focus our treatment. Current research in cosmology ranges over fields as diverse as quantum gravity, general relativity, particle physics, statistical mechanics, nonlinear hydrodynamics and observational astronomy in all wavelength regions, from radio to gamma rays. We could not possibly do justice to all these areas in one volume, especially in a book such as this which is intended for advanced undergraduates or beginning postgraduates. Because we both have a strong research interest in theories for the origin and evolution of cosmic structure – galaxies, clusters and the like – and, in many respects, this is indeed the central problem in this field, we decided to concentrate on those elements of modern cosmology that pertain to this topic. We shall touch on many of the areas mentioned above, but only insofar as an understanding of them is necessary background for our analysis of structure formation. Cosmology in general, and the field of structure formation in particular, has been a ‘hot’ research topic for many years. Recent spectacular observational breakthroughs, like the discovery by the COBE satellite in 1992 of fluctuations in the temperature of the cosmic microwave background, have made newspaper headlines all around the world. Both observational and theoretical sides of the subject continue to engross not only the best undergraduate and postgraduate students and more senior professional scientists, but also the general public. Part of the fascination is that cosmology lies at the crossroads of many disciplines. An introduction to this subject therefore involves an initiation into many seemingly disparate branches of physics and astrophysics; this alone makes it an ideal area in which to encourage young scientists to work. Nevertheless, cosmology is a peculiar science. The Universe is, by definition, unique. We cannot prepare an ensemble of universes with slightly different parameter values and look for differences or correlations in their behaviour. In many branches of physical science such experimentation often leads to the formulation of empirical laws which give rise to models and subsequently theories. Cosmology is different. We have only one Universe, and this must provide the empirical laws we try to explain by theory, as well as the experimental evidence we use to test the theories we have formulated. Though the distinction between them is, of course, not completely sharp, it is fair to say that physics is predominantly characterised by experiment and theory, and cosmology by observation and paradigm.
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