Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Physics and Astrophysics

Overview

Intended for undergraduate non-science majors, satisfying a general education requirement or seeking an elective in natural science, this is a physics text, but with the emphasis on topics and applications in astronomy. The perspective is thus different from most undergraduate astronomy courses: rather than discussing what is known about the heavens, this text develops the principles of physics so as to illuminate what we see in the heavens. The fundamental principles governing the behaviour of matter and energy ...

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Paperback (Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1998)
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Overview

Intended for undergraduate non-science majors, satisfying a general education requirement or seeking an elective in natural science, this is a physics text, but with the emphasis on topics and applications in astronomy. The perspective is thus different from most undergraduate astronomy courses: rather than discussing what is known about the heavens, this text develops the principles of physics so as to illuminate what we see in the heavens. The fundamental principles governing the behaviour of matter and energy are thus used to study the solar system, the structure and evolution of stars, and the early universe. The first part of the book develops Newtonian mechanics towards an understanding of celestial mechanics, while chapters on electromagnetism and elementary quantum theory lay the foundation of the modern theory of the structure of matter and the role of radiation in the constitution of stars. Kinetic theory and nuclear physics provide the basis for a discussion of stellar structure and evolution, and an examination of red shifts and other observational data provide a basis for discussions of cosmology and cosmogony.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the reviews

"This excellent text on physics is intended for undergraduate non-science majors. It is a unique introductory physics book in the sense that its emphasis is on applications in astronomy … This kind of well-written and compelling text is the best publicity for the physical sciences! Even science majors and physicists (especially teachers) should read it and enjoy (at least the reviewer enjoyed it a lot)." Mathematical Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461268680
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Watchers of the Heavens 1
2 The Stuff Moves Around 16
3 Eyes on the Skies 33
4 Newton Puts It All Together 54
5 Running the Machine 69
6 Off the Straight and Narrow 82
7 The Gravity of It All 89
8 Round and Round She Goes 104
9 As the World Turns 113
10 Let There Be Light! 127
11 What's the Matter? 148
12 Hot Stuff 156
13 Einstein's Bundles 161
14 The Great Dane 172
15 Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice... 187
16 The Starry Messenger 196
17 The Sun Is a Gas 218
18 The Sun Is a Nuclear Furnace 233
19 No More to Wonder What You Are... 249
20 The Flight of the Galaxies 266
21 The Big Picture 277
App. A Linear Graphs 285
App. B Physical and Astronomical Data 289
App. C Useful Formulas 291
App. D The Chemical Elements 292
App. E The Brightest Stars in the Sky 295
Bibliography 296
Index 297
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