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Robert P Kirshner

The Extravagant Universe

The 1990's brought some big surprises in cosmology. Some thought that the universe was fairly low density with gravity having little effect, others that it had the critical density, so that gravity would asymptotically bring the expansion to a stop. Then suddenly people were talking about an accelerating universe. This book is about some of these developments. More precisely its main subject is the work done studying supernovae by Kirshner and his colleagues in order to learn more about the expansion of the universe. If you're interested in how a research group in astronomy tackled this important question then you should read this book.

I don't think that this book is really suitable for a complete beginner in the subject - I think that the early chapters which introduce the concepts used might be a bit confusing for anyone who didn't already have a grounding in the cosmology. The second half of the book goes more into the activies of Kirshner's research group - for example how the competition from other groups influenced their research. Again this can be hard to follow if you're unfamiliar with the subject. At the very least the book needs a glossary of the abbreviations used. On the other hand the book is not at all technical, so if you have read other books on this topic then you will have no problems with this one.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews