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Physics Web

Jayant Narlikar

Seven Wonders of the Cosmos

The title Seven wonders of the Cosmos suggested to be that this would be a 'coffee table book' - that is a book which showed off some impressive astronomical objects without going into the theory. However, that is not what I found - the book does contain quite a bit of astrophysics. Narlikar's presentation skilfully makes this accessible to the novice (I felt that it was less suited to those with some experience in the subject), hence the book seems best suited to those who have developed an interest in astronomy and want to find out more about it, without going too much into the technicalities.

The first chapter looks at what we see from the Earth, and how our view might be different if it were from the Moon. This is followed by a look at the lives of stars, with a chapter on how some end up as supernovae. This leads on to pulsars and so to gravity and black holes. There is a chapter on 'Illusions in space', in particular gravitational lensing. As well as moving outward from the earth, the book moves in a roughly historical way, starting with the knowledge of the ancients and progressing to recent results. It finishes with a look at cosmology, with some of Narlikar's own ideas on the nature of the universe.

Product Description
Our cosmic tour begins here. As we leave the secure confines of the Earth and journey into space, we find a plethora of strange and unexpected phenomena. Little can we anticipate from the quiet, star-studded sky the violent events in the cosmos. Stars explode. Powerful radio sources eject matter in jets. The ever-changing Universe grows more beautiful and more complex the deeper into it we go. Professor Narlikar skillfully steers us through a cosmic journey of discovery, starting from the Earth and Solar System and stepping out to the farthest reaches of the Universe. Using simple analogies, humorous anecdotes, and a wealth of illustrations, he conveys the thrill of observing strange and surprising features of the Universe. The seven wonders represent a range of mysterious phenomena, a class of spectacular events, or remarkable cosmic objects that have challenged human curiosity and defied explanation. They concern the giants and dwarfs of the stellar world, the catastrophic explosion of massive stars, pulsars--the ultimate timekeepers of the cosmos, the strange effects of gravity, illusions of space, and the majestic expansion of the Universe as a whole. With lucid prose, the author weaves together a host of exciting recent discoveries in astronomy and shows us how these motivate astronomers to unravel the wonders of tomorrow.