In the event that this course has not exhausted your interest in cosmology, there are many good popular and semi-popular accounts of modern cosmology that can tell you about things we didn't cover in much depth. I have only read a handful of these, so I cannot give you a comprehensive list of recommendations. However, four books I can recommend are

*The Whole Shebang* covers somewhat the same territory
as our course, but with more discussion of current work.
The level and style are sort of like that of
*The Light at the Edge of the Universe*, but *Shebang*
has more emphasis on theory and less on observation.

*The Inflationary Universe* is, obviously enough, the book
you should read if you want to know more about inflation, or about
particle physics in the early universe (there is also a good,
quick review of standard cosmology along the way).
The level is more like that of *The First Three
Minutes*, i.e., a bit tougher than *The Whole Shebang*.
Guth tells the exciting (to a physicist anyway) story of how the
theory of inflation came about in the first place, and about
the more interesting ideas that have come from extending the inflation
theory, such as the possibility that different parts of the
universe (beyond the part that we can observe)
have different physical laws or even different numbers of dimensions,
and the possibility that new universes (!) could be created
in the laboratory.

*The Elegant Universe* is only incidentally about cosmology;
mostly it is about string theory, the attempt to develop a single,
consistent theory that consistently describes gravity, quantum theory,
and the rest of particle physics. If you are interested in these
kinds of questions, extra dimensions, and so forth, this is the
book for you.

I haven't actually read *Just Six Numbers*, but I have heard
good reports of it, and Martin Rees is a great astrophysicist and
writer. This book explores a speculative answer to
the question of why the parameters of the universe (like Omega and Lambda)
are what they are, and it covers a lot of modern cosmology
along the way. Rees has written several previous books on cosmology,
and if you like this one, you might want to look at some of the
others.

If you're interested more in the observational aspects of astronomy
rather than theoretical ideas in cosmology, the book I recommend
is *First Light*, by Richard Preston (Random House),
which tells the story of two telescopes on Mount Palomar and
their use to search for distant quasars and nearby asteroids.
Preston is a superb writer, and he captures both the feel of
astronomy and the personalities of his main characters (one of
them being my thesis advisor Jim Gunn, arguably the greatest
observational astronomer working today).

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Updated: 2002 December 4[dhw]