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Book review

Author(s) Beskin, V.S.
Gurevich, A.V.
Istomin, Ya.N.
Title Physics of the Pulsar Magnetosphere
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Year of publication 1993
Reviewed by Paul A. Blaga

The pulsars were a subject of intense researches in the past twentyfive years, since they have been discovered. We already have three excellent monographs on this topic (Manchester and Taylor - Pulsars, Freeman, 1977, Smith - Pulsars, Cambridge, 1977, and Lyne and Smith - Pulsar Astronomy, Cambridge, 1990). Nevertheless, these already classical books do not answer at some questions, arising from observational data. For instance: Why is a neutron star decelerated? or: What is the plasma in the pulsar magnetosphere? It is the aim of this book to give answers to these questions and to many others, in the case of radio pulsars.

The book begins with three introductive chapters: the first is concerned with the basic observational characteristics of radio pulsars, the second provides a brief, but clear picture of the formation and evolution of neutron stars, while the third one presents, at a qualitative level, the main physical processes in the magnetosphere. The following three chapters give a quantitative theory of these processes, dealing with: the electrodynamics of the pulsar magnetosphere, the generation of electron-positron plasma and the explication of the pulsar radio emission. A full chapter, the last of the book, is dealing with the confrontation of the theory with the observational data. There is, also, an appendix containing a list with the characteristics of the most thoroughly studied pulsars, as well as a table with 403 pulsars for which the quantity P (the variation of the period of pulsation in the unity of time) is known. Beside the classical list of references, including the works quoted in the text, the authors included an additional list, reflecting the variety of approaches to pulsar theory. There are, also, an author index and a subject index.

As I said before, this book is the first monograph in the world-wide literature, addressing the physical processes in the magnetosphere of a pulsar. On the other hand, the understanding of these processes is crucial for a complete understanding of pulsars. It is for these reasons that I think I can conclude that this book is a valuable addition to the literature. It can be highly recommended to graduate students and researchers in astrophysics and plasma physics, interested in radio pulsars. I ought to say, also, that the monograph is excellency written and a lot of results belong to the authors, well known experts in the field, from the former Soviet Union.