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I'm not sure where to start with very basic cosmology

  1. Aug 31, 2015 #1
    I understand that to make any sort of equations or mathematics I'll need some calculus and GR but beyond that I'm at a loss. What sort of books should I be picking up as a beginner before I can start touching on other things, such as GR? Is there something I should read before trying to attempt self-teaching differential equations or series expansions? I have no knowledge of where I should begin or where I should be asking this question. Specifics would be very helpful, such as certain books or certain authors I should be looking at. To give you an insight of where I would be starting, I have never had or took any courses in physics whatsoever and I have no idea what a Quantum Theory is. But I'm going insane wanting to learn more.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2015 #2
    Hi @astralarcher

    Two suggestions for you - both of which I've watched and are excellent

    A non-maths (or very basic maths content) set of lectures are available for download in lots of places by Robert Wagner. They are
    ATR103 Introduction to Planetary Astronomy
    ATR104 Introduction to Stellar Astronomy
    Although it's astronomy and cosmology, it will give you a fabulous grounding in the basics and is some of the most accessible content I've ever watched / listened to. I would really recommend starting here before you move onto cosmology

    If you then want to move onto the broader subject - with math... Leanord Suskind is one of the greatest tutors (in my opinion anyway!). Google "Modern Physics Cosmology Winter 2013" and download in your prefered format.

    Both HACC and Stanford make great lectures available to the public for free
    Best Regards
  4. Aug 31, 2015 #3
  5. Aug 31, 2015 #4


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    If you don't plan to be a cosmologist, there's little reason to try to learn the math of GR and modern cosmology. It's NOT simple and you'd need to go through several years of school to understand anything but the most basic mathematical concepts. Luckily, cosmology can be pretty well understood without getting into all the mathy bits.

    Try here: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmo_01.htm
    And here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astronomy/bigbang.html#bigbang
  6. Aug 31, 2015 #5


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    Gravity is usually the jumping off point. You start with orbits and build from there.
  7. Sep 2, 2015 #6


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    To get started on special relativity, a good book is Takeuchi, An Illustrated Guide to Relativity.
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