Item description for An Invitation to Astrophysics (World Scientific Aeries in Astronomy and Astrophysics) by Thanu Padmanabhan...
This unique book provides a clear and lucid description of several aspects of astrophysics and cosmology in a language understandable to a physicist or beginner in astrophysics. It presents the key topics in all branches of astrophysics and cosmology in a simple and concise language. The emphasis is on currently active research areas and exciting new frontiers rather than on more pedantic topics. Many complicated results are introduced with simple, novel derivations which strengthen the conceptual understanding of the subject. The book also contains over one hundred exercises which will help students in their self study. Undergraduate and graduate students in physics and astrophysics as well as all physicists who are interested in obtaining a quick grasp of astrophysical concepts will find this book useful.
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Studio: World Scientific Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.1" Weight: 1.4 lbs.
Release Date Feb 7, 2006
Publisher World Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN 9812566384 ISBN13 9789812566386
Reviews - What do customers think about An Invitation to Astrophysics (World Scientific Aeries in Astronomy and Astrophysics)?
An Invitation to Astrophysics Apr 24, 2007
I have been trying to find a book like this for years because I want a deeper understanding of the many exciting contemporary issues of astrophysics. Older, classic texts were of little help, but Prof. Padmanabhan's book has become the perfect companion and guide to my more fully appreciating today's technical papers, ranging from solar system physics to cosmology, published in journals like Science and Nature.
But you must be facile with theoretical physics at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level and be willing to fill in the missing, but usually obvious,algebraic steps between formulae to get the most from this book. The book is hard, but not dry and Prof. Padmanabhan accompanies you with many personal comments as if you were in his class.
Even if you can only work through a few pages at a time, the rewards are high. I will leave with two personal experiences: (1) in the spirit of Feynman, Prof. Padmanabhan gives a physically intuitive development of the classical radiation field in two or three pages that I wished I had seen as a student many years ago, and (2) in one and a half pages, he cogently discusses Lagrangian points and the Roche limit that, in the former is relevant to LISA, the orbiting gravitational intevferometer, and in the latter quantifies the iconic picture of a white dwarf capturing gas from its bloated red giant companion. Michael Bozoian, Ph.D.
Twinkle, twinkle, little equations... Dec 8, 2006
This book, while an introduction to astrophysics, really is an introduction for those already at a fairly high level of sophistication with theoretical physics and mathematics. According to the preface, Padmanabhan states, `I expect the reader to know the basics of classical and quantum mechanics, special relativity, electrodynamics, etc.' The algebra and calculus requirements are at the very least to the advanced undergraduate level - I've had calculus through differential equations, statistics and abstract algebra, and still found this a very challenging text. The development of the subject is carried forward as much by mathematical equations as it is through narrative description - this is very far from being a text for the popular press; Stephen Hawking made the comment in his book, `A Brief History of Time,' that his publisher warned against equations, stating that for every equation one loses half the readership - by that calculation, the readership here becomes very small. I do not say this as a criticism of the text or its contents, but simply to advise those expecting a more layperson-friendly text that this is not that book.
For those with education and background in physics and mathematics who might want a rigourous introduction to astrophysics, this might well be the book to use. The development of topics is sound. There are occasional flourishes of creativity in the text, but for the most part, this is a straight-forward presentation. General relativity is introduced early, along with other issues of gravitation, radiative processes and topics dealing with matter. These set the stage for the more familiar astrophysical topics of stellar evolution and star structures, star remnants (black holes, white dwarves, supernova, etc.), cosmology and early universe (including the early minutes and earlier, in which so much work has been done in the past few decades), large scale structures such as galaxies, and how galaxies can evolve and demonstrate activity.
For those who find mathematics an impediment, this is not the right text. For those who have a solid background in physics and mathematics, this book will be a good choice. Padmanabhan is author of a much larger series on astrophysics, a three-volume set published through Cambridge - it is clear that he knows his topic, but as a self-study, this is a not a cake-walk for most.