Foundations of High-Energy Astrophysics

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Written by one of today’s most highly respected astrophysicists, Foundations of High-Energy Astrophysics is an introduction to the mathematical and physical techniques used in the study of high-energy astrophysics. Here, Mario Vietri approaches the basics of high-energy astrophysics with an emphasis on underlying physical processes as opposed to a more mathematical approach. Alongside more traditional topics, Vietri presents new subjects increasingly considered crucial to understanding high-energy astrophysical sources, including the electrodynamics of cosmic sources, new developments in the theory of standard accretion disks, and the physics of coronae, thick disks, and accretion onto magnetized objects.

The most thorough and engaging survey of high-energy astrophysics available today, Foundations of High-Energy Astrophysics introduces the main physical processes relevant to the field in a rigorous yet accessible way, while paying careful attention to observational issues. Vietri’s book will quickly become a classic text for students and active researchers in astronomy and astrophysics. Those in adjoining fields will also find it a valuable addition to their personal libraries.

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Editorial Reviews

Roger Blandford

“Mario Vietri has written a lucid text, for both students and established researchers, that connects exciting research at the frontiers of high-energy astrophysics to basic physical processes.”

— Roger Blanford, Director, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmolog

Luigi Stella

“This book provides an elegant, self-contained introduction to fundamental aspects of the physics of high-energy cosmic sources. Great emphasis is placed on physical intuition. Subjects such as hydrodynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, and radiative processes are presented at the level required for applications to high-energy astrophysics. Rigorous derivations are often complemented with simple arguments that facilitate an immediate grasp of the relevant processes. The chapters dealing with nonthermal particles, accretion onto compact objects, and explosions guide the reader through the foundations of some of the most relevant recent developments in these fields. Topics that are rarely addressed in introductory monographs are also treated in this book in a very clear fashion; these include pair-dominated plasmas and the electrodynamics of neutron stars and black holes. This is an excellent book and an invaluable tool for advanced students and researchers in astrophysics.”—Luigi Stella, INAF, Astronomical Observatory of Rome
Abraham Loeb

“Mario Vietri’s book provides an excellent pedagogical introduction to the basic elements of high-energy astrophysics. The authoritative text is well balanced to serve both beginning students and advanced researchers. The comprehensive description of hydrodynamic and radiative processes from first principles is applied to the extreme environments near compact objects or energetic shocks. This exceptional combination of basic physics and its applications, rarely found to this level of rigor in a single textbook, demonstrates how fundamental physical principles shape observable phenomena in one of the most exciting frontiers of present-day astrophysics.”
Roger Blandford - Roger Blanford

“Mario Vietri has written a lucid text, for both students and established researchers, that connects exciting research at the frontiers of high-energy astrophysics to basic physical processes.”

Pasquale Blasi

“A quite remarkable book, successful in explaining a wide range of high energy astrophysical phenomena in all their technical and mathematical details and in illustrating numerous physical implications of these phenomena. At the same time, concepts are discussed with such a fascinating style that the reader gets caught up in the learning process and feels able to look at any topic in a completely new way. Mario Vietri is a renowned scientist working in the field of high energy astrophysics. He has contributed seminal papers to different fields, such as galaxy formation, general relativity, gamma ray bursts and cosmic rays. The width and depth of his knowledge and his ability to charm the reader with science are effectively reflected in this book, which may easily become a new reference point for high energy astrophysicists as well as for graduate students willing to build solid foundations.”

Peter Mészáros

This book will be a very useful addition to the library of every working theoretical astrophysicist, and a great reference for observers, students and scientists in general who are interested in the subject of high energy astrophysics. The emphasis on physical principles and basic processes, rather than on specific phenomena and observations, ensures that the material is relevant for a wide range of astrophysics applications, and will remain so for a long time.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226855691
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Theoretical Astrophysics Series
  • Pages: 568
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario Vietri is professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore, in Pisa, Italy.

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Table of Contents

1 Hydrodynamics 1

2 Magnetohydrodynamics and Magnetic Fields 55

3 Radiative Processes 115

4 Nonthermal Particles 191

5 Spherical Flows: Accretion and Explosion 255

6 Disk Accretion I 303

7 Disk Accretion II 347

8 Electrodynamics of Compact Objects 419

App. A Propagation of Electromagnetic Waves 513

App. B Orbits Around Black Holes 519

App. C Useful Formulae 529

Bibliography 533

Index 543

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