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Introduction to Cosmology

  1. Oct 13, 2015 #1
    What are the essentials to starting on this topic from the very beginning? What are topics I should have covered before starting? Suggestions please? Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2015 #2
    Cosmology, as with every other field of physics, is math heavy. I would begin there; calculus, linear algebra, etc.
  4. Oct 13, 2015 #3
    Please put some effort in your post. This does not tell us anything useful. You could be a 10 year old who just watched Hawking and thought he was cool. Or you could be a 30 year old electrical engineer who is interested in doing cosmology as a hobby. If you don't tell us more about you, don't expect good advice from us.
  5. Oct 14, 2015 #4
    You're right. I guess I didn't know whether to write something longer or to keep it plain and simple. Well, I'm a 24 year old layman with no background in physics and minimal math (last math course I took in high school was Geometry). I've always been fascinated with the universe but I would avoid the math. Until recently I decided I wanted to work some of the problems out to further my understanding of the cosmos. I don't want to continue reading books with no math and just assume everything is true without working out the math problems. With my minimal math and no background physics (I got the 'Basic Physics' workbook that I've been working on), I know it may take years, but I'm willing to work my way from the bottom. Not to mention I have a full time job and I have a little extra time on my hands. I hope this helps and I hope I didn't leave out any information that might be useful. Thanks once again.
  6. Oct 14, 2015 #5
    Well a willingness to work and learn the maths is a good start. I'm not an expert on cosmology, but I know it's based on general relativity, which is a typically a graduate course. So to really understand cosmology and where it comes from, you need a fairly strong background in both math and physics.
    If you are just starting out from the ground up, try to solidify your knowledge of algebra, trigonometry, and geometry, and then move onto to calculus.
  7. Oct 14, 2015 #6
    Yes, I have also started reviewing algebra as a start. I forgot to include that as well. But thanks for the insight.
  8. Oct 14, 2015 #7


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    One doesn't need GR to start learning cosmology. Most introductory textbooks begin with sections on Newtonian treatment. Some books never go deep into GR, and treat it in purely descriptive terms, or leave the more nitty-gritty bits for their 'advanced topic' sections - like Liddle's 'Introduction to Modern Cosmology'.
    You can get quite a good understanding of the subject from that book, and all you need is the basic mathematical background mentioned above (mostly algebra and calculus - up to a good understanding of derivatives and integrals), and a secondary school-level understanding of physics.
  9. Oct 14, 2015 #8
    ^He would know better than I would. Three good starting points for self studying, if you are willing to buy textbooks,

    -Precalculus: A Right Triangle Approach (Lial/Hornsby/Schneider/Daniels)
    -Calculus: A Complete Course (Adams)
    -Fundamentals of Physics (Halliday/Resnick)

    There are tons of books out there that can prepare you, so don't feel you have to use these books. They just cover a lot of ground, everything bandersnatch mentioned.
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