by Edward Harrison, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 66148 X (£32.50/$54.95).
A great deal has happened to our understanding of the universe in the almost 20 years since the first edition of “Cosmology” became a bestseller. Now Prof. Harrison has produced this updated and extended second edition. It has many new sections and revisions and it is wonderfully informative and authoritative on an amazingly wide range of topics.
My own particular favourites are his treatment of Special Relativity – just the way particle physicists like it – and his explanation of Olbers’ paradox – the clearest I’ve ever seen. The entire book is quirky and entertaining, peppered with historical facts, extremely perceptive questions, and provocative and challenging issues for discussion. All of this comes with essentially no mathematics in a very satisfactory and readable introductory overview of modern cosmology.