- Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1993 edition (May 9 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691019339
- ISBN-13: 978-0691019338
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.2 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,312,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Principles of Physical Cosmology Paperback – May 9 1993
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Nothing is more badly needed than a solid but accessible book on cosmology, written by an insider who has not lost his or her skepticism, Peeble's new book fills the bill admirably. (Nature)
From the Back Cover
During the last twenty years, dramatic improvements in methods of observing astrophysical phenomena from the ground and in space have added to our knowledge of what the universe is like now and what it was like in the past, going back to the hot big bang.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I'm not qualified to give a review of Peebles PPC, but I can say it is an invaluable reference and very easy to read. I know only few of the subjects covered. Plan on spending lots of time on the new topics he has covered since his first 'Cosmology"
in those terms would be unfair ( no problem sets for students, for instance). Then, again, it is 'dated' ---how could it not be ?
Given its copyright--1993--and the enormous technological and experimental advances since, it seems out of sorts to assess
its efficacy in that manner. And, then, we have (now) an abundance of up-to-date texts which supersede its scope.
Therefore, I travel back in time and judge the book from the perspective of a reader of 1994 ( year of my purchase ).
And, on that score, I judge this survey to be a resounding success. First, and foremost, Peebles supplies numbers:
That is, he provides derivations from 'theory' and then provides the (then) latest numbers from experiment ( with error bars ).
The comparison of experiment to theory is the hallmark of Peebles' exposition--and that is the book's greatest strength.
It is verbose, therefore, if you do not enjoy " reading, " then, this book is not for you. It is suffused with personal remarks,
therefore if you desire an impersonal accounting, this book is (also) not for you. For those who continue, read Peebles:
(1) "...isotropy allows synchronization of neighboring clocks, and homogeneity carries the synchronization through all of space." ( Page 59).
(2) "...Lemaitre showed how the redshift phenomenon could be related to the expansion of a matter-filled relativistic universe.
This was the connection between theory and phenomena which set cosmology on the road to a mature science." ( Page 82).
(3) "... One might draw many lessons from the history of these discoveries. Perhaps the most significant is that the physical world presented us with a considerable variety of hints to a hot evolving universe that eventually were recognized." (P.151).
(4) "...we must accept that inflation will continue to occupy a central place in the exploration of concepts..." and " The inflation scenario
offers the most elegant way proposed so far to understand why the universe is arranged so remarkably well." ( Pages 363 & 393).
(5) "...the dark mass puzzle also offers a fascinating example of the way ideas evolve in science...it is one of the tasks
in a physical science such as cosmology to sift through the clues that might add to our understanding..." (Page 418).
(6) "...it is useful to pause first to note that a cosmological constant can be described as an ideal fluid, with energy density
and pressure, but satisfying very specific constraints." ( Page 453).
(7) "...is there a believable physical theory for the early universe that reproduces the prescription for an observationally
acceptable world picture ? " ( Page 500).
(8) " Gravitational Waves exist, and it would be easy to imagine they were important actors in the early universe." (Page 670) .
(9) "...the conventional wisdom, which is adopted here, is that new physics is encountered so rarely that we do well to devote
most of our collective attention to the conventional and accepted variety until we are driven away from it." ( Page 672 ).
Again--and, I reiterate--the strength of Peebles survey is his emphasis on numbers, how to arrive at those numbers, and
then their comparison to experiment. In that respect, the book is successful. Very few derivations are left to imagination.
Historical aspects of the subject are also beautifully rendered (see, too, Longair's The Cosmic Century, 2006).
If greater technicality is your preference, Weinberg's 2008 Cosmology, is a wonderful complement.
Finally, James Peebles updates much in his thoughtful Annual Review of 2012 (and, online) " Seeing Cosmology Grow " .
Last, but not least, the manner in which I assailed this survey was this: Nearly every number presented by Peebles is
easily compared to the latest values (again, checking his numbers to the latest numbers)--and, that was a fun exercise !
Amazing to see how many numerical values in this book are still relevant, if not accurate as of today !
There is no reason to downplay this text due merely to the charge that it is "out-of-date" !
You read here--you engage with-- models, derivations, and especially comparison to experiment.
Undergraduates will find much to ponder and much to value.
No footnotes, no appendices. Finally, twenty-five pages of references concludes the text.
Peebles states ( Preface): "...the text does sprawl, but then so does the subject," and, "...I have placed heavy emphasis on order-of-magnitude estimates, the art of estimates is not dying and need not be hidden. I learned as a youth, and still believe, that you shouldn't trust a numerical result you can't understand from sensible estimates."
Excellent advice from an excellent book !