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Cover

The Astronomers' Magic Envelope

An Introduction to Astrophysics Emphasizing General Principles and Orders of Magnitude

Prasenjit Saha and Paul A. Taylor

June 2018

ISBN: 9780198816478

144 pages
Paperback
246x171mm

In Stock

Price: £19.99

Working physicists, especially astrophysicists, value `back-of-the-envelope' calculations — short elegant computations or arguments that start from general principles and lead to interesting results. This book guides advanced undergraduates and lower graduates on how to understand astrophysics using general principles and concise calculations.

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Description

Working physicists, especially astrophysicists, value `back-of-the-envelope' calculations — short elegant computations or arguments that start from general principles and lead to interesting results. This book guides advanced undergraduates and lower graduates on how to understand astrophysics using general principles and concise calculations.

  • Contains numerous exercises and general principles
  • Integrates scientific computing alongside other mathematics
  • Offers adaptive uses of units, including Planckian units
  • Includes pointers to many astronomical images found on the online archive Astronomy Picture of the Day

About the Author(s)

Prasenjit Saha, Titular Professor of Physics, University of Zurich, and Paul A. Taylor, Lecturer and Staff Scientist, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences network, and NIH, Bathesda, USA

Prasenjit Saha is an astrophysicist working mainly on various aspects of gravitational dynamics, including gravitational lenses. He has also contributed to the literature on Bayesian inference, intensity interferometers, and literate programming. He got hooked on astrophysics from books like George Gamow's, and loves books that present a subject in an interesting and slightly subversive way.

Paul A. Taylor completed his doctorate in the area of stellar astrophysics at the University of Oxford. He has subsequently been a tutor, visiting researcher and lecturer in the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) network in Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. He continues to teach programming and signal processing within the AIMS network, and is also a staff scientist in the Scientific and Statistical Computing Core at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA.

Table of Contents

    1:Orbits
    2:Celestial Mechanics
    3:Schwarzschild's spacetime
    4:Interlude: Quantum ideal gases
    5:Gravity versus pressure
    6:Nuclear fusion in stars
    7:The main sequence of stars
    8:The expanding Universe
    9:The cosmic microwave background

Reviews

"This is a delightful small book... It will be a good resource for lecturers, showing some nice examples of applications of the physical principles, and of especial interest to advanced undergraduates and postgraduates. The reader is encouraged to write computer codes to find solutions, and the student with a thirst to learn and the motivation to engage fully with the book will be amply rewarded." - Alan Heavens, The Observatory

"Astronomers like the concept of back-of-the-envelope calculations. Such calculations help us get a handle on very complex problems that would otherwise require far more time and effort to solve properly. Prasenjit Saha and Paul A. Taylor build an introductory guide to astronomy on exactly this premise." - Nature Astronomy

"A sophisticated text that will bring physical intuition for astronomy for mathematically able students. The computationally based problems are a welcome addition to better empower student learning." - Brian Schmidt, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 2011, Australian National University

Additional Resources

A solutions manual is available for this title. Please click here to order your copy.

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