Black holes are a source of wide fascination. In this Very Short Introduction, Katherine Blundell addresses a variety of questions, including what a black hole actually is, how they are characterised and discovered, to what happens if you get too close to one. Explaining how black holes formand grow across cosmic time, as well as how many there are in the Universe, she also considers how black holes interact with matter - by stealing material that belongs to other stars, and how black holes give rise to quasars and other spectacular, yet exotic phenomena in outer space.
Galaxies are the building blocks of the Universe: standing like islands in space, they are where the stars are born and where extraordinary phenomena can be observed. Many exciting discoveries have been made: how a supermassive black hole lurks at the centre of every galaxy, how enormous forces are released when galaxies collide, and what the formation of young galaxies can tell us about the mysteries of Cold Dark Matter. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned science writer John Gribbin describes the extraordinary things that astronomers are learning about galaxies, and explains how this can shed light on the origins and structure of the Universe.
100 years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: if you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier; travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever. And that was just the Special Theory. With the General Theory came even stranger ideas of curved space-time, and changed our understanding of gravity and the cosmos. This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory's impact on science and on our understanding of the universe. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Proving to be both varied and fascinating, moons are far more common than planets in our Solar System. Our own Moon has had a profound influence on Earth, not only through tidal effects, but even on the behaviour of some marine animals. Many remarkable things have been discovered about the moons of the giant outer planets from Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and other spacecraft. Scientists have glimpsed volcanic activity on Io, found oceans of water on Titan, and captured photos of icy geysers bursting from Enceladus. It looks likely that microbial life beyond the Earth may be discovered on a moon rather than a planet. In this Very Short Introduction David Rothery introduces the reader to the moons of our Solar System, beginning with the early discoveries of Galileo and others, describing their variety of mostly mythological names, and the early use of Jupiter's moons to establish position at sea and to estimate the speed of light. Rothery discusses the structure, formation, and influence of our Moon, and those of the other planets, and ends with the recent discovery of moons orbiting asteroids, whilst looking forward to the possibility of finding moons of exoplanets in planetary systems far beyond our own. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Stars are a constant source of fascination. In this Very Short Introduction Andrew King introduces us to the science of stars; how they are born, how they live, and how they die. He shows how understanding the stars is the key to understanding the galaxies they inhabit, and how they provide us with clues to the existence of planets like our own.
Saas-Fee Advanced Course 48. Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy
Author: Tiziana Di Matteo
The ultimate proofs that black holes exist have been obtained very recently thanks to the detection of gravitational waves from their coalescence and due to material orbiting at a distance of some gravitational radii imaged by optical interferometry or X-ray reverberation mapping. This book provides three comprehensive and up-to-date reviews covering the gravitational wave breakthrough, our understanding of accretion and feedback in supermassive black holes and the relevance of black holes for the Universe since the Big Bang. Neil Cornish presents gravitational wave emission from black hole mergers and the physics of detection. Andrew King reviews the physics of accretion on to supermassive black holes and their feedback on host galaxies. Tiziana Di Matteo addresses our understanding of black hole formation at cosmic dawn, the emergence of the first quasars, black hole merging and structure formation. The topics covered by the 48th Saas-Fee Course provide a broad overview of the importance of black holes in modern astrophysics.
Without cause and effect, there would be no science or technology, no moral responsibility, and no system of law. Causation is therefore the most fundamental connection in the universe and a core topic of philosophical thought. This Very Short Introduction introduces all of the main theories of causation and its key debates.
This book aims to explain, in clear non-technical language,what it is that mathematicians do, and how that differs from and builds on the mathematics that most people are familiar with from school. It is the ideal introduction for anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of mathematics.
Black Holes are still considered to be among the most mysterious and fascinating objects in our universe. Awaiting the era of gravitational astronomy, much progress in theoretical modeling and understanding of classical and quantum black holes has already been achieved. The present volume serves as a tutorial, high-level guided tour through the black-hole landscape: information paradox and blackhole thermodynamics, numerical simulations of black-hole formation and collisions, braneworld scenarios and stability of black holes with respect to perturbations are treated in great detail, as is their possible occurrence at the LHC. An outgrowth of a topical and tutorial summer school, this extensive set of carefully edited notes has been set up with the aim of constituting an advanced-level, multi-authored textbook which meets the needs of both postgraduate students and young researchers in the fields of modern cosmology, astrophysics and (quantum) field theory.
Astrobiology is the study of the origin and development of life on this and other planets. What fascinates people about astrobiology is that it seeks answers to long-standing unsolved questions: How quickly did life evolve on Earth and why did life persist here? Is there life elsewhere in the Solar System or beyond? The research of astrobiology has become more crucial than ever in recent decades, as biologists have discovered microbes that live in ever more extreme settings, such as bubbling hot springs, in acid, or deep within rocks. Rooted in strong and rigorous research, astrobiology incorporates the work of microbiologists, geologists, and astronomers. In this Very Short Introduction, David C. Catling introduces the origins of astrobiology and demonstrates its impact on current astronomical research and potential future discoveries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.