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Black holes and time warps, Einstein's outrageous legacy, Kip S. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology

Black holes and time warps, Einstein's outrageous legacy, Kip S. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 585-600) and indexes
index present
Literary Form
non fiction
Main title
Black holes and time warps
Nature of contents
Oclc number
Responsibility statement
Kip S. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology
"Ever since Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity burst upon the world in 1915 some of the most brilliant minds of our century have sought to decipher the mysteries bequeathed by that theory, a legacy so unthinkable in some respects that even Einstein himself rejected them." "Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to exist and space becomes a kind of foam; gravitational waves, which carry symphonic accounts of collisions of black holes billions of years ago; and time machines, for traveling backward and forward in time." "Kip Thorne, along with fellow theorists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, a cadre of Russians, and earlier scientists such as Oppenheimer, Wheeler and Chandrasekhar, has been in the thick of the quest to secure answers. In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know?" "Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component."--Jacket
Series statement
The Commonwealth Fund Book Program
Sub title
Einstein's outrageous legacy
Table Of Contents
Foreword / by Stephen Hawking -- Introduction / by Frederick Seitz -- Preface: What this book is about, and how to read it -- Prologue: A voyage among the holes, in which the reader, in a science fiction tale, encounters black holes and all their strange properties as best we understand them in the 1990s -- The relativity of space and time, in which Einstein destroys Newton's conceptions of space and time as absolute -- The warping of space and time, in which Hermann Minkowski unifies space and time, and Einstein warps them -- Black holes discovered and rejected, in which Einstein's laws of warped spacetime predict black holes, and Einstein rejects the prediction -- The mystery of the white dwarfs, in which Eddington and Chandrasekhar do battle over the death of massive stars; must they shrink when they die, creating black holes? or will quantum mechanics save them? -- Implosion is compulsory, in which even the nuclear force, supposedly the strongest of all forces, cannot resist the crush of gravity -- Implosion to what? in which all the armaments of theoretical physics cannot ward off the conclusion: implosion produces black holes -- The golden age, in which black holes are found to spin and pulsate, store energy and release it, and have no hair -- The search, in which a method to search for black holes in the sky is proposed and pursued and succeeds (probably) -- Serendipity, in which astronomers are forced to conclude, without any prior predictions, that black holes a millionfold heavier than the Sun, inhabit the cores of galaxies (probably) -- Ripples of curvature, in which gravitational waves carry to Earth encoded symphonies of black holes colliding, and physicists devise instruments to moniter the waves and decipher their symphonies -- What is reality? in which spacetime is viewed as curved on Sundays and flat on Mondays, and horizons are made from vacuum on Sundays and charge on Monday, but Sunday's experiments and Monday's experiments agree in all details -- Black holes evaporate, in which a black hole horizon is chothed in an atmosphere of radiation and hot particles that slowly evaporate, and the hole shrinks and then explodes -- Inside black holes, in which physicists, wrestling with Einstein's equation, seek the secret of what is inside a black hole: a route into another universe? a singularity with infinite tidal gravity? the end of time and gravity, and birth of quantum foam? -- Wormholes and time machines, in which the author seeks insight into physical laws by asking: can highly advanced civilizations build wormholes through hyperspace for rapid interstellar travel and machines for traveling backward in time? -- Epilogue: An overview of Einstein's legacy, past and future, and an update on several central characters -- Characters: a list of characters who appear significantly at several different places in the book -- Chronology: a chronology of events, insights, and discoveries -- Glossary: what makes me confident of what I say?
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