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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy / Edition 1

Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy / Edition 1

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Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics

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, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus 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.

Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393312768
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/17/1995
Series: Commonwealth Fund Book Program Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 159,564
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kip Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, is the author of the bestselling books Black Holes and Time Warps and The Science of Interstellar. Thorne was an executive producer for the 2014 film Interstellar. For “bridging the worlds of science and the humanities,” Thorne received Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science. He lives in Pasadena, California.

Stephen W. Hawking is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

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Black Holes and Time Warps : Einstein's Outrageous Legacy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thorne is very clear and detailed. I would say for non-scientists like myself, if you're only going to read one book on the subject of Cosmology in your life, make it this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No self-respecting physics, cosmology, astronomy, or even sci-fi fan should pass up on this book. Though this is definetely not a work of fiction, the chapter on time travel is sheer fun to read -- as engaging as any sci-fi novel, but with speculations based on sound physics theories nevertheless. The majority of the book deals with (you guessed it) black holes of course! Anything you ever wanted to know about them, as well as all the revelant physics (i.e., Einstein's general relativity, quantum physics and quantum gravity theories) is beautifully presented by Thorne. Though some mysteries will inevitably remain, 500+ pages will surely satisfy most of your curiosity. Just a word of caution for some hardcore science readers: 30% of this book is pure science, while 70% is history (background info on all import events and people contributing to our current knowledge of physics and cosmology). If you deem this to be a problem, feel free to seek out more intensive science literature but you'll be missing out. This is a rare opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at how talented or crazy some physicists are (what's with their betting obsession anyway?).
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is just amazing. i think this book offers you almost all the answers to black holes problems. it was so easy to understand and really enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't often spend money but this book is certainly worth the few pounds I spent. I have wanted to read it for a long time previously. Stephen tells us about complex physics theories. I love the chapter on wormholes and time machines as he gives an understandable and interesting account of the physics of time-travel. He assures us how to travel into the far future using the time dilation effect predicted in Einstein's special theory of relativity. He explain wormholes in detail and reveal several ways to build a time machine. They are not practical as you need things like cosmic strings(which may have been created in the early universe). He tells us the laws of quantum gravity (as it's still ill understood)hide from us weather nature would destroy any time machine. I was impressed by the diagrams which made the ideas easier to understand. When he describes how a wormhole could be made into a time machine I read amazed... Travel in time backwards is more than science fiction because Kip Thorne showed how it might be possible and how we might do it. 1, Find a wormhole i.e. enlarge one from quantum foam using anti-gravity aimed correctly so the wormhole becomes macroscopic. 2, Using high speeds or gravity move the mouths(ends)away from each other i.e.hold one mouth in strong gravity or move it at a high speed(direction is unimportant). 3, When the mouths travel with time at relative speeds a time machine is built! Going in one mouth will take you to a different point in time and space! A major problem with this plan is that a huge amount of anti-gravity is needed to feed the wormhole. This pushes the walls of the wormhole appart prevents the wormhole from collapsing. Anti-gravity also defocuses energy preventing the destruction of the wormhole. Also you either need to move the mouths at relative speeds or put one in intense gravity. But no known laws of physics forbid it and people who have researched solutions to general relativity have found nothing that would prevent time-travel to the past(although it might be difficult)! Will we succeed with it? Time will tell!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating, extremely well-written, easy to understand. Suitable for scientists and laymen alike. Highly recommended.
yapete on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Still one of the best popular physics books out there on all the 'cool' stuff like time travel and wormholes.
duanewilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although a bit dated now, this book is a fascinating explanation of the history of black holes. It is very accessible to readers not trained in advanced physics. The author's writing style is engaging throughout and the book is full of anecdotes about the physicists who contributed to our understanding of black holes. The author explains relativity, warped space-time, gravitation, singularities, how black holes are formed, and how they may evaporate. The final chapter is a diversion about the possibility of wormholes and time machines, with a interesting connection to Carl Sagan's book Contact (which was made into a wonderful movie by the same name).
Airycat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I liked best about this book is that it was very readable for the non-scientist/mathematician without over explaining things any intelligent, educated person might know. The topic is fascinating. Though some details are now outdated, it is an invaluable history of the scientific path from Einstein's theories to black holes. It left me wanting to read more.
name99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An extremely profitable read. The history of modern GR was interesting, but even better was that it forced me to really sort out in my mind a number of GR concepts.Having said all this, I was disappointed by a lot of the book and remain extremely unconvinced by the final chapters. Like every pop GR book I have ever read, this one embeds spacetime in hyperspace, IMHO an extremely misleading move. Beyond that, it talks about non-simply connected spacetimes (wormholes) in a way that strikes me as unjustified. My view is that a responsible discussion of this topic would point out that (as far as I know)* GR in no way requires this assumption of spacetime* GR in no way generates solutions with this property* The simplest assumption is that it doesn't exist and finally* If it did exist, the observational properties would be blah blah blah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Einstein’s legacy was his entirely reworked view on physics. This view effectively toppled the foundations of Newtonian physics in favor of special relativity, and later, general relativity. Kip Thorne explains relativity and its use in finding out more about our universe through the studies of many physicists, including Einstein, from the early 20th century to the present. From early ideas about the warpage of space and time to the complicated discovery and formation of black holes, Black Holes and Time Warps explains each concept in detail with respect to the physicists that led to it. The idea of relativity is the basis of Black Holes and Time Warps. The physics we know of today and huge amounts of research have gone into proving correct the theory of general relativity and all of our knowledge about the physics of the universe is based around this theory. The postulates presented in this book allow the reader to reflect on their knowledge as well as the vastness and beautifully organized chaos of the universe we exist in. In addition, the perceptions built around common newtonian physics are broken down and the implications of relativity are able to be examined with the help of Kip Thorne’s book. Although the topic of the book is often difficult to understand easily, Kip Thorne is able to present the information in an almost step by step way with each concept leading to the next. The physicists that are written about in the book are humanized and their theories explained in detail and Kip is even able to give some comedic relief amidst all of the brain wrenching facts that he presents. Also, the figures that are liberally scattered throughout the book help to visualize and make more clear the concepts he describes. At times the book does continue through long stretches where confusion is likely to set in, but with a little prior knowledge about what is being discussed, it is easy to get through this confusion. Black Holes and Time Warps isn’t a book for everybody since it can get really boring really fast however, if physics is an interest to the reader then it certainly is a good choice. However, It helps immensely to have at least some knowledge about physics before reading the book. Kip Thorne is a great author and knows a huge amount about the subject he writes about seeing as he himself is a theoretical physicist who has contributed greatly to that field of study. Another one of Kip’s books, The Science of Interstellar, would be a great read for a fan of movies and/or physics since it explains physics in a more modern and relatable way by tying it together with the movie Interstellar.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I took a great pleasure,reading this book,in discovering how Einstein was able to set up the basis concepts of his theories about relativity of time and space one century ago. The Eistein quest is a revelation of how one human being can achieve in term of researches. It also points up that even such a giant may be reluctant with his own researches results. The book covers many other great scientists history in relation with spacetime phenomenom. But at the end one thing becomes obvious: Einstein is the greatest and that two equations give the framework of physic non quantic I.E: -Einstein field equation -Mass/energy equivalence Thank you Einstein
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book to read if you not only want to know how certain celestrial bodies come to being, but also the coditions on which they leave. He goes into some of the history of early astronamers and the first microwave detector. It has a lot of facts that i didn't know about before!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some of the chapters are not for everyone. There were many times when I read a paragraph, looked back and said, 'What?' Some of the math is very difficult. So for the few of us that are not a recognized mind of the world I recommend this book to anyone that has a sense of wonder. You read one line and it freezes your thoughts. If you are into books that are very deep and just blow your mind. If you are someone that loves to ponder the question, 'How large is the universe?' Or, 'What is time?' My friend this book is for you. We owe Einstein more than we will ever know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't think I could ever have so much fun reading the printed word, but Kip Thorne proved me wrong. His book is an odyssey in the way-cool implications of General Relativity, with the bizarre objects known as black holes-- gravitationally collapsed stars, or still-mysterious relics of an early era in the universe at the centers of galaxies-- discussed in the most awe-inspiring and mind-stretching detail. The book is filled with excellent diagrams and, most fascinatingly of all, actually ponders what it is like in a black hole or wormhole itself. While obviously some of this is speculative, Thorne draws from the solutions of the relativistic equations and quantum physics to provide an at-least plausible picture of what is happening deep down. The one chapter that seemed a little overdone was Serendipity-- a little too much speculation, too little backing it up, and going all over the place. But this is a minor quibble. This is definitely one of the better popular science books on the market.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book rocks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the world of physics. Black Holes and Time Warps is stunning combination of law and theory that seamlessly incorporates the history and controversy that surrounds modern ideas. The author¿s genius definitely shines through.