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Cosmic Wormholes: The Search for Interstellar Shortcuts

Overview

Today such marvels are the stuff of science fiction. But one of the most provocative theories in modern astrophysics suggests that in the future they may well be reality. In this lively, wondrously accessible book, physics professor Paul Halpern takes us on a fantastic intellectual journey into the world of exotic matter, black holes, white holes, and wormholes - celestial objects that could theoretically bridge distant parts of the universe. With clear and concise explanations and vivid analogies, Cosmic ...
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Overview

Today such marvels are the stuff of science fiction. But one of the most provocative theories in modern astrophysics suggests that in the future they may well be reality. In this lively, wondrously accessible book, physics professor Paul Halpern takes us on a fantastic intellectual journey into the world of exotic matter, black holes, white holes, and wormholes - celestial objects that could theoretically bridge distant parts of the universe. With clear and concise explanations and vivid analogies, Cosmic Wormholes illuminates the bold leaps of thought that may someday make travel across the universe as common as a transatlantic flight today. Halpern includes gripping fictional scenarios that depict some of the extraordinary events - including travel to the past and future and the mining of black hole energy - that might be possible if indeed we are able to construct wormholes. He also describes some of the baffling paradoxes inherent in such time travel. This is fascinating reading for all who follow the leading edge of science as it pushes back the frontiers of human knowledge and expands the limits of human possibility.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Halpern ( Time Journeys ) tackles the No. 1 recreational problem of theoretical physics: actual applications of special relativity to create the possibility of spacetime travel. The ``intersteller shortcuts'' in the subtitle is an oxymoron in present technical terminology, so Halpern himself is free to travel freely between the ground of astrophysical theory and the speculative time-travel canon. Indeed, he borrows his illustrations from Asimov and Heinlein as often as from Thorne and Morris. The result is more a colorful survey-style lecture script than a coherent theory, sufficient to general readers and certainly inspiring to a science fiction following but without a firm sense of scale of the science involved (and none of the mechanics or mathematics). Halpern's wormholes appear deus ex machina, nearly the last loop of this joyride through astrophysical theory, and somehow one can't help wanting to get back on line. Halpern teaches mathematics and physics at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. (Oct.)
Jon Kartman
Though all good Trekkies know the starship "Enterprise" can zip around the universe with ease, one Albert Einstein proved in the early part of this century that reality makes things considerably more difficult. Our own galaxy is so vast that even if a ship could move at the speed of light, which is impossible, it would take more than four years to reach the nearest star outside our solar system. Halpern, however, outlines concepts and ideas for the twenty-first (if not the twenty-second) century that may allow space travelers to enter a "wormhole" in the very fabric of space-time in one corner of the universe and exit in another. In some ways, this would be like opening a door in one's house only to walk, without going outside, into the living room of a house three blocks away. These concepts are only speculative, and the practical engineering for them may be impossible, but, challenging commonsense notions of what space and time really are, they're sure intriguing on paper. After reading about them, you may wonder just what reality really is.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525270294
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Lift-Off 7
Ch. 2 Cosmic Roadmaps 22
Ch. 3 Black Holes: Into the Void 44
Ch. 4 White Holes: Out of the Light 77
Ch. 5 Wormholes: Interstellar Passageways 89
Ch. 6 The Black Hole Mining Expedition of 2500 121
Ch. 7 The Future Was Yesterday 139
Ch. 8 The Great Cosmic Billiards Game 163
Ch. 9 Scenes from the Next Millennium 201
Related Reading 213
Index 221
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