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Jayant Narlikar

The lighter side of gravity

In this book, Narlikar describes our understanding of gravity and its implications for the behaviour of the universe we live in. The reader is introduced to Newton's laws of motion and gravity and see how they were superceded by Einstein's theories of relativity. The implications of the general theory of relativity such as black holes are then investigated. Narlikar makes good use of diagrams, and has plenty of astronomical photographs, thus linking the book to observational results, rather than it being too abstract. If you want more than the 'pop' descriptions of cosmology and gravitation, but don't want to get into mathematics, then this book should suit you.

As for 'The lighter side', well don't expect the book to be full of witty anecdotes - where it does depart from standard exposition I would call it quirky rather than amusing. For instance the last chapter looks to see whether the Steady-State theory can be salvaged. Also, although the book has been brought up to date with discussion of COBE results and the like, it does seem a bit old-fashioned - for instance there is no mention of Hawking radiation. On the other hand Narlikar does include some more general astrophysics, such as the workings of stars, which is important for getting a more solid grounding in the subject of cosmology.

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Paperback 232 pages  
ISBN: 0521565650
Salesrank: 1745817
Published: 1996 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price $31.68
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Paperback 232 pages  
ISBN: 0521565650
Salesrank: 2834501
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 1996 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price £29.99
Marketplace:New from £23.29:Used from £0.49
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 232 pages  
ISBN: 0521565650
Salesrank: 3954615
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 1996 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 52.33
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 38.29:Used from CDN$ 9.26
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Product Description
From the drop of an apple to the stately dance of the galaxies, gravity is omnipresent in the Cosmos. Even with its high profile, gravity is the most enigmatic of all the known basic forces in nature. The Lighter Side of Gravity presents a beautifully clear and completely nontechnical introduction to the phenomenon of this force in all its manifestations. Astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar begins with an historical background to the discovery of the law of gravitation by Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. Using familiar analogies, interesting anecdotes, and numerous illustrations to get across subtle effects and difficult points to readers, he goes on to describe the general theory of relativity and some of its strange and unfamiliar ideas such as curved spacetime, the bending of light, and black holes. Since first publication in 1982 (W.H. Freeman), Dr. Narlikar has brought his book completely up to date and expanded it to include the discovery of gigantic gravitational lenses in space, the findings of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, the detection of dark matter in galaxies, the investigation of the very early Universe, and other new ideas in cosmology. This lucid and stimulating book presents a clear approach to the intriguing phenomenon of gravity for everyone who has ever felt caught in its grip. Jayant Narlikar is the winner of many astronomical prizes and the author of Introduction to Cosmology (Cambridge University Press, 1993).