Astrophysics in a Nutshell / Edition 1

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Overview

Praise from professors who have adopted the book: "Astrophysics in a Nutshell is a wonderful addition to the advanced undergraduate textbook literature. It covers the important physics with sufficient depth to capture the students' curiosity without getting them lost in too much detail. The book is extremely broad, reaching from stellar to extragalactic to cosmological physics. Nevertheless, from the instructor's point of view, the book is constructed in a convenient modular way, so that one can easily select the relevant parts for one's specific course in any of those areas. Finally, the book emphasizes to the student the fundamental interconnectedness of the different astrophysical subfields."—Volker Bromm, University of Texas at Austin

Praise from professors who have adopted the book: "Astrophysics in a Nutshell is an ideal text for a Junior/Senior course. The essential fundamentals are covered, and there are liberal hints of more to come."—James R. Houck, Cornell

Praise from professors who have adopted the book: "Astrophysics in a Nutshell provides a commendably concise and clear presentation of the core material needed for an advanced undergraduate astrophysics class. Students will welcome both the clarity and the consistent mathematical level of Maoz's text."—Phil Armitage, University of Colorado, Boulder

Praise from professors who have adopted the book: Many texts are aimed at being useful to a broad audience. Their aims are generally to be terse, yet informative and pedagogical, accessible, yet current. No book succeeds at this the way Astrophysics in a Nutshell by Maoz does. Despite being cast as an upper-level undergraduate text, I routinely recommend this book for students from beginning undergraduates to beginning graduate students and they all benefit from studying it."—Andrew Zentner, University of Pittsburgh

Praise from professors who have adopted the book: "Astrophysics in a Nutshell is an important addition to the suite of textbooks for undergraduate astronomy and physics majors. It gives a broad introduction to the major areas of astrophysics, and impels students to think through concepts rather than overwhelming them with detail. Due to its broad coverage, I recommend this book to my graduate students preparing for their preliminary examinations."—Rodger Thompson, University of Arizona

"This is, without a doubt, one of the best books that I have used for an introductory course in astrophysics over the past decade. The book is unique in providing a pedagogical and authoritative overview of all the important topics in present-day astrophysics with mathematical rigor. The equations are self-contained and well explained, and the results are derived in a concise, factual manner with careful attention to details. My students, teaching assistant, and I have all found the book to be outstanding."—Avi Loeb, Harvard University

"Dan Maoz's Astrophysics in a Nutshell is perfect for an advanced astrophysics course for physical science majors. It covers modern topics from stars to galaxies and cosmology. I've already begun using problems from the book to test our first-year graduate students."—John Huchra, Harvard University

"Astrophysics in a Nutshell is just that—a no-nonsense, fast-paced textbook that authoritatively covers the concepts underlying modern astronomy at an advanced undergraduate level. Dan Maoz does a remarkably good job of presenting the widest range of material that can be reasonably contained in a serious one-semester course. The book's scholarship is excellent and fully up to date, and I will certainly adopt it in my undergraduate class."—Greg Laughlin, University of California, Santa Cruz

"I have nothing but praise for this textbook. It is a significant contribution to a field that is short on introductions to astronomy for science majors. Astrophysics in a Nutshell fills a basic need, and I will give it a try in my course."—Lynne Hillenbrand, California Institute of Technology

"Astrophysics in a Nutshell introduces the serious student to the tools, diversity, and power of modern astrophysical theory. In one panoramic volume, both text and reference, the author presents and applies essential concepts and equations, introducing the methods by which we seek to understand the inner workings of the cosmos. It will make a useful addition to the libraries of novice and pundit alike."—Adam Burrows, University of Arizona

"Despite the glut of introductory descriptive astronomy texts, there is a serious need for a one-semester introductory astronomy/astrophysics textbook that caters to mathematically literate students. This book fills that void and is a welcome addition on that count."—Ronald F. Webbink, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Editorial Reviews

Choice - K.L. Schick
[M]aoz makes generous and excellent use of back-of-the-envelope calculations and approximations to the more complete theory, accurate enough to both illustrate the physics and to arrive at decent numerical answers...Lots of material is squeezed into this thin volume. The treatment of stellar physics is particularly is particularly insightful; other topics—galaxies and galactic structure and cosmology, are also very well done.
The Observatory - Leon Mestel
The presentation of so much material within 250 pages is done very skillfully, with a judicious balance between mathematical discussion and physical argument. The pedagogic value of the text is greatly enhanced by the problems given at the end of each chapter. Altogether, the book lives well up to the publisher's declared aims.
Time Magazines Higher Education
Tel Aviv University professor Dan Maoz aims to provide a concise guide to the subject for advanced science undergraduates. The essentials of modern astrophysics are covered, from traditional topics such as stellar remnants and galaxies to recent research including dark matter and dark energy, while training students in order-of-magnitude analysis.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2009 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for an academic book, American Astronomical Society

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2007

"Tel Aviv University professor Dan Maoz aims to provide a concise guide to the subject for advanced science undergraduates. The essentials of modern astrophysics are covered, from traditional topics such as stellar remnants and galaxies to recent research including dark matter and dark energy, while training students in order-of-magnitude analysis."—Times Higher Education

"[M]aoz makes generous and excellent use of back-of-the-envelope calculations and approximations to the more complete theory, accurate enough to both illustrate the physics and to arrive at decent numerical answers...Lots of material is squeezed into this thin volume. The treatment of stellar physics is particularly is particularly insightful; other topics—galaxies and galactic structure and cosmology, are also very well done."—K.L. Schick, Choice

"The presentation of so much material within 250 pages is done very skillfully, with a judicious balance between mathematical discussion and physical argument. The pedagogic value of the text is greatly enhanced by the problems given at the end of each chapter. Altogether, the book lives well up to the publisher's declared aims."—Leon Mestel, The Observatory

Times Higher Education
Tel Aviv University professor Dan Maoz aims to provide a concise guide to the subject for advanced science undergraduates. The essentials of modern astrophysics are covered, from traditional topics such as stellar remnants and galaxies to recent research including dark matter and dark energy, while training students in order-of-magnitude analysis.
Choice
[M]aoz makes generous and excellent use of back-of-the-envelope calculations and approximations to the more complete theory, accurate enough to both illustrate the physics and to arrive at decent numerical answers...Lots of material is squeezed into this thin volume. The treatment of stellar physics is particularly is particularly insightful; other topics—galaxies and galactic structure and cosmology, are also very well done.
— K.L. Schick
The Observatory
The presentation of so much material within 250 pages is done very skillfully, with a judicious balance between mathematical discussion and physical argument. The pedagogic value of the text is greatly enhanced by the problems given at the end of each chapter. Altogether, the book lives well up to the publisher's declared aims.
— Leon Mestel
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691125848
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/5/2007
  • Series: In a Nutshell Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 780,101
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Maoz is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Tel-Aviv University. His main research interests are supermassive black holes, gravitational lensing, and supernovae.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi Constants and Units xv

Chapter 1: Introduction 1
1.1 Observational Techniques 2
Problems 8

Chapter 2: Stars: Basic Observations 10
2.1 Review of Blackbody Radiation 10
2.2 Measurement of Stellar Parameters 14
2.3 The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram 27
Problems 29

Chapter 3: Stellar Physics 31
3.1 Hydrostatic Equilibrium and the Virial Theorem 32
3.2 Mass Continuity 36
3.3 Radiative Energy Transport 36
3.4 Energy Conservation 41
3.5 The Equations of Stellar Structure 42
3.6 The Equation of State 43
3.7 Opacity 45
3.8 Scaling Relations on the Main Sequence 46
3.9 Nuclear Energy Production 48
3.10 Nuclear Reaction Rates 53
3.11 Solution of the Equations of Stellar Structure 58
3.12 Convection 58
Problems 61

Chapter 4: Stellar Evolution and Stellar Remnants 65
4.1 Stellar Evolution 65
4.2 White Dwarfs 69
4.3 Supernovae and Neutron Stars 81
4.4 Pulsars and Supernova Remnants 88
4.5 Black Holes 95
4.6 Interacting Binaries 99
Problems 108

Chapter 5: Star Formation, H II Regions, and the Interstellar Medium 114
5.1 Cloud Collapse and Star Formation 114
5.2 H II Regions 122
5.3 Components of the Interstellar Medium 133
5.4 Dynamics of Star-forming Regions 136
Problems 137

Chapter 6: The Milky Way and Other Galaxies 140
6.1 Structure of the Milky Way 140
6.2 Galaxy Demographics 162
6.3 Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars 165
6.4 Groups and Clusters of Galaxies 171
Problems 175

Chapter 7: Cosmology: Basic Observations 178
7.1 The Olbers Paradox 178
7.2 Extragalactic Distances 179
7.3 Hubble’s Law 185
7.4 Age of the Universe from Cosmic Clocks 187
7.5 Isotropy of the Universe 188
Problems 189

Chapter 8: Big Bang Cosmology 190
8.1 The Friedmann-Robertson-Walker Metric 190
8.2 The Friedmann Equations 193
8.3 History and Future of the Universe 196
8.4 A Newtonian Derivation of the Friedmann Equations 202
8.5 Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe 204
Problems 206

Chapter 9: Tests and Probes of Big Bang Cosmology 209
9.1 Cosmological Redshift and Hubble’s Law 209
9.2 The Cosmic Microwave Background 213
9.3 Anisotropy of the Microwave Background 217
9.4 Nucleosynthesis of the Light Elements 223
9.5 Quasars and Other Distant Sources as Cosmological Probes 226
Problems 229

Appendix. Recommended Reading and Websites 235
Index 239

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