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This timely book is suitable for the general reader wishing to find answers to some of the intriguing questions now being asked about black holes. Although once recognized as the most destructive force in nature, following a cascade of astonishing discoveries, the opinion of supermassive black holes has undergone a dramatic shift. Astronomers are discovering that these objects may have been critical to the formation of structure in the early universe, spawning bursts of star formation, planets, and even life itself. Fulvio Melia is Associate Head of Physics and Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He is author of Electrodynamics (University of Chicago, 2001), and a forthcoming title, The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy (Princeton).
Preface; 1. The most powerful objects in the universe; 2. Weighing supermassive objects; 3. The black hole spacetime; 4. Formation of supermassive black holes; 5. Relativistic ejection of plasma; 6. Supermassive black holes in the universe.
Posted June 12, 2004
O.k., so I didn't know what to expect, but I bought the book because I had heard that the 2005 Annual Issue of Astronomy magazine had chosen it as one of the best astronomy books of the year. I would have to agree with their choice. Melia introduces supermassive black holes in a novel fashion. Sure, we first came to know of their existence because of the weird behavior of some galaxies. But he shows how in the past few decades, they've come to represent a totally new and dominant category of objects throughout the universe. It now seems that many of them were here long before galaxies formed, and it looks like they were responsible for the formation of galaxies and structure in the universe. But the most amazing thing of all is what observational cosmology is now telling us. Is it true that the universe itself may be a giant black hole? Melia's book has the best discussion of this that I have yet seen. After reading this, I feel like I'm right on the edge of what astrophysicists know.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2004
Last week I was fortunate to hear Prof. Melia speak on the subject of his two new books, this title, and 'The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy,' and was so impressed I rushed out to get copies of both. I was not disappointed. Both books are very well written, and beautifully produced, with color images throughout. His style is similar to that with which he presented the subject at our amateur astronomy meeting---clear, lively, and thoughtful. I am recommending these to all my friends and relatives. They're the best astronomy books I've read in years, and am looking forward to reading more from him in the years to come!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.