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The Lighter Side of Gravity
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From the drop of an apple to the stately dance of the galaxies, gravity is omnipresent in the Cosmos. Even with its high profile, gravity is the most enigmatic of all the known basic forces in nature. The Lighter Side of Gravity presents a beautifully clear and completely nontechnical introduction to the phenomenon of this force in all its manifestations. Astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar begins with an historical background to the discovery of the law of gravitation by Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. Using familiar analogies, interesting anecdotes, and numerous illustrations to get across subtle effects and difficult points to readers, he goes on to describe the general theory of relativity and some of its strange and unfamiliar ideas such as curved spacetime, the bending of light, and black holes. Since first publication in 1982 (W.H. Freeman), Dr. Narlikar has brought his book completely up to date and expanded it to include the discovery of gigantic gravitational lenses in space, the findings of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, the detection of dark matter in galaxies, the investigation of the very early Universe, and other new ideas in cosmology. This lucid and stimulating book presents a clear approach to the intriguing phenomenon of gravity for everyone who has ever felt caught in its grip. Jayant Narlikar is the winner of many astronomical prizes and the author of Introduction to Cosmology (Cambridge University Press, 1993).
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Why things move; 2. From the falling apple to Apollo II; 3. How strong is gravity?; 4. Fusion reactors in space; 5. Living in curved spacetime; 6. Ocean tides and gravity waves; 7. The strange world of black holes; 8. Cosmic energy machines; 9. The Big Bang; 10. The Universe: from simplicity to complexity; 11. Gravity and the creation of matter; 12. The many faces of gravity.

Reviews

'an accessible account of gravity, black holes and the Universe ... A refreshing alternative to the received wisdom.' New Scientist 'For readers who really want to get to grips with the concepts and don't mind a few simple equations (on the level of F=ma), Narlikar's exposition is masterly, a model of clarity and illumination. And it is enlivened wtih many interesting side-lights and touches of humour ... This book is not only full of insights, it is also fun.' Werner Israel, Physics World 'This pocket-sized text on a difficult subject makes good reading (a trip home on the train!) for the general reader.' Irish Astronomical Journal ' ... a refreshing read ... rewards await those who concentrate on its contents.' Quentin Stanley, Journal of the British Astronomical Association ' ... clear and simple explanations of basic gravitational phenomena: it does not try to rush headlong into exotica, but takes time to coax the reader through orbits, motions and the fate of stars.' John D. Barrow, The Observatory

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