General Relativity, Astrophysics, and Cosmology (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library)
For about half a century the general theory of relativity attracted little attention from physicists. However, the discovery of compact objects such as quasars and pulsars, as well as candidates for black holes on the one hand, and the microwave background radiation on the other hand completely changed the picture. In addition, developments in elementary particle physics, such as predictions of the behavior of matter at the ultrahigh energies that might have prevailed in the early stages of the big bang, have greatly en hanced the interest in general relativity. These developments created a large body of readers interested in general relativity, and its applications in astrophysics and cosmology. Having neither the time nor the inclination to delve deeply into the technical literature, such readers need a general introduction to the subject before exploring applica tions. It is for these readers that the present volume is intended. Keeping in mind the broad range of interests and wanting to avoid mathematical compli cations as much as possible, we have ventured to combine all three topics relativity, astrophysics, and cosmology-in a single volume. Naturally, we had to make a careful selection of topics to be discussed in order to keep the book to a manageable length.
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