Cosmology is the study of the origin, size, and evolution of the entire universe. Every culture has developed a cosmology, whether it be based on religious, philosophical, or scientific principles. In this book, the evolution of the scientific understanding of the Universe in Western tradition is traced from the early Greek philosophers to the most modern 21st century view.
After a brief introduction to the concept of the scientific method, the first part of the book describes the way in which detailed observations of the Universe, first with the naked eye and later with increasingly complex modern instruments, ultimately led to the development of the "Big Bang" theory. The second part of the book traces the evolution of the Big Bang including the very recent observation that the expansion of the Universe is itself accelerating with time.
Table of Contents
1. The scientific method
2. Early astronomy
4. Cosmic distances
6. The Big Bang
7. Cosmic microwave background radiation
8. Dark matter
9. The standard model of cosmology
10. The very early Big Bang
12. Dark energy
13. Higher dimensions
14. String theory
15. Black holes and wormholes
16. Reading list
17. Links to astronomy websites
About the Author(s)James Kolata
, University of Notre Dame
James Kolata is Emeritus Professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Notre Dame. He received his B.S. from Marquette University and his M.S. and PhD from Michigan State University. Before coming to Notre Dame, he worked at the Naval Research Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at the University of Pittsburgh. This book is from his elective course at Notre Dame entitled "Elementary Cosmology."