The Expanding Universe: An Introduction

For those of you reading this blog who feel they need an up-to-date primer for the basics of modern cosmology without too much technical detail, I found a paper on the arXiv that might give you what you want. It’s over a hundred pages long but does not use much complicated mathematics but has some nice illustrations. The author is Markus Pössel; the abstract reads

An introduction to the physics and mathematics of the expanding universe, using no more than high-school level / undergraduate mathematics. Covered are the basics of scale factor expansion, the dynamics of the expanding universe, various distance concepts and the generalized redshift-luminosity relation, among other topics.

This paper focusses on the basics of the standard framework founded on general relativity, especially how cosmological distances are defined and measured, rather than on trendy modern topics like dark energy and the cosmic microwave background. I’d say any first-year physics student should be able to cope with it, but it’s not for someone who hasn’t learned calculus. On the other hand, it’s free to download so you don’t have much to lose by having a look!

You can download a PDF here.

2 Responses to “The Expanding Universe: An Introduction”

  1. Mike Scott Says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the Modern Cosmology primer … just what I needed !

  2. Markus and I were both students in Hamburg at the same time.

    Another good introduction, along roughly the same lines, was reviewed by me a while back. One reason it is interesting is that it provides an introduction to tensor calculus, but just enough to understand its basic usage in GR and cosmology. Most books either leave this out, assume it is known, or go into great detail. I don’t know of any other such introduction where someone interested in cosmology, but ignorant of tensor calculus, gets a small enough but nevertheless useful dose and might actually be motivated to try to understand it.

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