How Cosmologists Explain the Universe to Friends and Family
Springer, 2019, 258 pp., Paperback. $29.99. www.springer.com
This fascinating book provides an accessible and up-to-date overview of modern cosmology. In particular, the book discusses the formation of the Cosmic Microwave Background and the evolution of large-scale structures in the universe, the distribution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies on very large distance scales. Following a brief introduction, the authors describe the scientific method — how science is done. They then discuss observational cosmology, the instruments and what observations can be done with them, and what is derived from those observations. After discussing the constituents of the universe, including dark matter and dark energy, the authors provide an outline of the forces that shape the universe, with particular emphasis on gravitation. Following this, the reader is taken on a journey in time from the present day back to the very beginning of the universe, a period called inflation, which sets the initial conditions for the subsequent evolution of the universe. The book ends with a brief chapter on what lies beyond. Written by two experts, the book is aimed at the interested layperson with little or no physics background, but an interest in modern cosmology.