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Book review

Author(s) Padmanabhan, T.
Title Structure Formation in the Universe
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Year of publication 1993
Reviewed by Paul Blaga

In the most accepted Cosmological models it is considered that the Universe was, at its beginning, a ball of fire resulted from the Big Bang. On the other hand, as we can see, the Universe we are living in is not anymore like this. It is filled with stars, galaxies, cluster of galaxies and so on. That's the way appeared one of the most challenging question of cosmology: how did these structures forms? Unfortunately, so far we have not a final answer at this question. The main purpose of this book is to provide an introduction to this field of research, appropriate for a graduate student in physics. I have to say that very few books on this topic are available and most of them are of a higher level (e.g. Peebles - The Large Scale Structure of the Universe, Princeton University Press, 1980). Moreover, these books do not include the most recent achievements, as cosmic strings, inflation a.o. As a Consequence, I can say that in many respects this is the first textbook in the worldwide literate devoted to the difficult problem of the formation of the large scale structures in the Universe.

The book consists of three parts. The first part (the smooth Universe) contains some basic informations from astrophysics and a fresh look at the standard cosmological model. The second part (the clumpy Universe) is devoted to the linear theory of perturbations. Then this theory is applied to the study of the microwave background radiation and of the large scale velocities. The last part presents first the nonlinear theory of perturbations and compares the theoretical evaluations obtained by this theory with observational data obtained from high redshift objects. The next step is to analyse the origin of perturbations. Two models are examined. One of them is related to the concept of inflation and the other is related to the concept of cosmic strings. In the sequel, there is, also, a chapter on dark matter.

As I have already said, the book is addressed to graduate students in physics and it is really structured as a textbook not as a monograph. The author insists rather on physical principles than on different details of the models examined. The derivation of the main formulae is made in all details, but there are provided simplified derivations for someone not interested in this details. I should remark, also, that within the book there are analysed many observational data, obtained in the last years. There are included many exercises and worked examples. The book is appropriate, and can be highly recommended, to be used as a textbook for a course in structure formation, or as a reference for a course in cosmology. It is an exellent lesson for any physicist about how can we use the modern physics to construct a coherent image of our Universe.