Neutron stars are the most compact astronomical objects in the universe which are accessible by direct observation. Studying neutron stars means studying physics in regimes unattainable in any terrestrial laboratory.
Understanding their observed complex phenomena requires a wide range of scientific disciplines, including the nuclear and condensed matter physics of very dense matter in neutron star interiors, plasma physics and quantum electrodynamics of magnetospheres, and the relativistic magneto-hydrodynamics of electron-positron pulsar winds interacting with some ambient medium. Not to mention the test bed neutron stars provide for general relativity theories, and their importance as potential sources of gravitational waves. It is this variety of disciplines which, among others, makes neutron star research so fascinating, not only for those who have been working in the field for many years but also for students and young scientists.
The aim of this book is to serve as a reference work which not only reviews the progress made since the early days of pulsar astronomy, but especially focuses on questions such as: "What have we learned about the subject and how did we learn it?", "What are the most important open questions in this area?" and "What new tools, telescopes, observations, and calculations are needed to answer these questions?".
All authors who have contributed to this book have devoted a significant part of their scientific careers to exploring the nature of neutron stars and understanding pulsars. Everyone has paid special attention to writing educational comprehensive review articles with the needs of beginners, students and young scientists as potential readers in mind. This book will be a valuable source of information for these groups.