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Black Holes and Time Warps: Einsteins Outrageous Legacy Paperback – Mar 7 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; Reprint edition (March 7 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393312763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393312768
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at CalTech, here offers an accessible, deftly illustrated history of curved spacetime. Covering developments from Einstein to Hawking, he takes his readers to the very edge of theoretical physics: straight through wormholes--and maybe back again--past hyperspace, "hairless" wormholes and quantum foam to the leading questions that drive quantum physics. He even addresses the tabloid taunt that has tantalized him since 1988: Do quantum laws allow time travel? (In his foreword, Hawking suggests, "Maybe someone will come back from the future and tell us the answers.") Thorne is rigorous, modest and, true to the spirit of science, determined that readers move beyond the appeal of exotic answers and grasp the significance of quantum questions. This volume, a model of style, format and illustration, will speak eloquently to the readership, ranging widely in scientific literacy and interest, that such theoretical physics writers as Hawking and Feynman have established.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book's subtitle explains it all. Virtually all astrophysicists accept the fact that Einstein's theory of general relativity is the best model of physical reality that we have. In other words, it is essentially correct. Yet the model requires the existence of physical phenomena beyond one's wildest imagination. One of the investigators attempting to fathom the depths of the theory, Thorne here describes the people who have done the work and the trails, both false and fruitful, they have followed. He brings us up-to-date on the state of the art in black hole research and the attempts to find definitive proof of their existence. Even with the mathematics removed, his explanations can be pretty heavy going. Nevertheless, the payoff is worth the work. For academic and larger public library science collections.
Harold D. Shane, Baruch Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Kip Thorne is the author of one of the most authoritative texts on Gravitation and Astrophysics. "Black Holes and Time Warps" is meant to bring these recent advanced discoveries in cosmology to the masses. What makes this book most valuable is that it not only devotes many pages explaining the physics in simple terms, but also introduces the major players in the field, telling the stories of their lives, and describing in detail how they achieved their discoveries. The book is therefore very inspiring to young scientists. It is written in a highly narrative style that keeps up a heightened suspense as one wonders what the next discovery will be, what it's impact is one our world vision, and which scientist will bring about such a breakthrough.
We read about the life story of Einstein, and how he worked hard and long hours in between babysitting his children so as to come up with his masterpieces on relativity. We then read about Chandrasekhar, the young student from India, who with nothing more than his own brain and a crude mechanical calculator achieved what is perhaps one of the greatest theoretical discoveries of the 20th centuries: black holes. It would be years before astronomers concur and document the existence of these beasts, years in which Chandrasekhar had to suffer rejection and alienation from his peers in the scientific community. We read about the wonderful experiments physicists set up to understand the world: from massive arrays of radio telescopes for listening to the furthest reaches of the universe, to cosmic ray detectors to measure the minute remnants of supernova explosions. We read about the atomic and H-bombs, about Oppenheimer and his own personal feelings about his creation.
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Format: Paperback
Kip Thorne is an eccentric author who reveals scientific enterprise of quantum gravity and black holes research in a simple language. This book is rich in history, and classical (Newtonian physics and theory of relativity) and modern physics (quantum mechanics) are presented in non mathematical form. We get rare first hand insights of scientific styles and temperament, and his personal involvement in various aspects of black holes research and his interaction with scientists all over the world especially those from former Soviet Union and the impact of communism on black hole research. The first part of the book describes theory of relativity, concept of spacetime fabric of the universe and curvature of spacetime in presence of matter (stars, galaxies, etc.) to generate gravity. The author gives us a good historical background to build his case for black hole concept. Theory of relativity predicts the existence of black holes but Einstein refused to accept it and so is Arthur Eddington another leading exponent of theory of relativity. The idea of black holes remained in academic obscurity among few who believed in it and it progressively became clear that dying giant stars undergo implosions in which nuclear force the strongest of all four forces of cosmos buckles under gravitational force creating a blackholes. Black holes have been discovered in the center of dying giant stars and in centers of galaxies, and efforts are underway to detect the black hole gravitational waves carried to earth from distant parts of the universe and to seek the secret of what is inside a black hole: a route to another universe?Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book. It describes the history of how the idea of black holes developed. Even in the 18th century Newtonian physics was shown to predict 'dark stars', because even light could not escape from them. With the great revolution brought about by Einstein and his theory of relativity the subject came alive when people started asking what happens to a star when its fuel is all burnt up. A black hole seemed to be the inevitable result if the star had enough mass. Astronomers are now generally convinced that black holes do exist and have identified a number of them.
Now what happens inside a black hole? Theory is now on very uncertain grounds. Thorne indicates it predicts travel in ways that are more familiar to science fiction fans. This is entertaining stuff, but should be read with a healthy dose of skepticism.
What is really great about this book is that Thorne gets the history from 47 taped interviews he did with most of those who have contributed to the development of the subject, thus providing a wonderful history of who contributed what idea and when. These tapes appear to be a treasure that belong in a public archive.
I don't think there is a single equation in the book. The ideas are explained with numerous diagrams to get them across. They work well. Do not expect to understand relativity without doing some mental work of your own though; one cannot draw pictures that show four dimensions.
Short biographies of the significant characters, a chronology, a glossary and 23 pages of documentary notes are welcome inclusions.
I am an experimental physicist. For me, the writing is wonderful and I had a hard time putting the book down. A non-scientist should enjoy the first half, but might get bogged down well before the end.
This book was finished in 1993, so for developments since then one needs to look elsewhere.
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