Weinberg strikes again: new cosmology text

21Mar08

I was skimming through this month’s Physics World magazine and was pleasantly surprised to see that Steven Weinberg is back in the book-writing business. He has just put out a new book with Oxford University Press on Cosmology. No, it’s not the same as his well-known `gravitation and cosmology’ text from the ’70s… Oxford press emphasises that this text is `entirely up to date.’ It’s an whole new book focusing exclusively on cosmology.

I’m not much of a cosmologist nor do I happen to have a copy of the book handy, but I will pause to note the rather distinctive cover. Despite the book going to a new publishrs, Weinberg has carried over the ‘strip of color on a black background’ motif of his (in)famous quantum field theory texts. Having already used up the primary colors for his three-volume opus, The Quantum Theory of Fields, he colours this one with a rainbow. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having secretly spent hours wondering what a fourth volume of Weinberg would look like. I’m willing to bet that there’s a story behind this cover, much like there was a big story behind the ‘Q’ on the cover of Tony Zee’s QFT book.

No word yet if he’s also carried over the distinctive LaTeX fonts that 90% of the human population is incapable of reproducing by hand.

Why hasn’t this made more of a splash in the blogophere? Surely someone must have been asked to review the book… other than New Scientist magazine. Upon closer examination Stanford Professor A. Linde had some nice things to say, including the statement, “It should be on the desk of every actively working cosmologist.”

If that is indeed the case, then Weinberg may soon have a monopoly on the bookshelf space of Phys. Rev. D (particles/gravity/cosmology) subscribers.



8 Responses to “Weinberg strikes again: new cosmology text”

  1. 1 Rien

    Heh, I misread the title of this post as “Weinberg strikes against new cosmology text” and thought “ha, this is going to be interesting!”. But then, this is even more interesting.

  2. Ah, there was supposed to be a colon in the title… I’ll fix it.🙂

  3. Also, apparently the book hasn’t been released in the US yet. I will interpret this to be the UK’s revenge for having to wait for two months after the US to watch the movie Juno.

  4. 4 Harold

    So, what is the story behind the ‘Q’ on Tony Zee’s book? =D

  5. Apparently there was a long debate with the publishers about the choice of font for the `Q’ on the book cover. The story is alluded to in Prof. Zee’s ASTI lectures which are online. He claims that he’s now posted up a printout of that ‘Q’ somewhere in his office.🙂

  6. 6 Sein Htoon

    This is the kind of book only Steven Weinberg -a supreme teacher -could write..full of physical insights and real thoroughness.

    But Weinberg was so intent on non-speculative cosmology that he missed out on topics such as black holes as per Chandrashekhar’s tome “Mathematical Theory of Black Holes” the then his(Chandra’s) current thinking on the work for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics; the work on pulsars by Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Anthony Hewish ,the work on radioastronomy by Martin Ryle for which Hewish and his mentor Ryle shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics. Yet Weinberg decided the “controversial/ speculative”Bondi-Gold,Hoyle Steady theory was important enough worthy of a brief mention!

    There is a hint in his current book that he would write a second volume on such topics and I for one am very much looking forward to reading and studying !

    Amongst the American scientists I think apart perhaps from Feynman with whom Weinberg gave Dirac memorial lectures later published as a well known monograph by Oxford, Weinberg perhaps “appreciates” better the British way of propagating knowledge through the two “shops” Cambridge and Oxford! Indeed Weinberg is a consulting editor for Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics.

  7. 7 Sein Htoon

    For Bondi-Gold,Hoyle Steady theory please read Bondi-Gold,Hoyle Steady State theory. SH


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