The astonishing science of black holes and their role in understanding the history and future of our universe. Black holes are the most extreme objects in the universe, and yet they are ubiquitous. Every massive star leaves behind a black hole when it dies, and every galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole at its center. Frighteningly enigmatic, these dark giants continue to astound even the scientists who spend their careers studying them. Which came first, the galaxy or its central black hole? What happens if you travel into one—instant death or something weirder? And, perhaps most important, how can we ever know anything for sure about black holes when they destroy information by their very nature? In Einstein’s Monsters, distinguished astronomer Chris Impey takes readers on an exploration of these and other questions at the cutting edge of astrophysics, as well as the history of black holes’ role in theoretical physics—from confirming Einstein’s equations for general relativity to testing string theory. He blends this history with a poignant account of the phenomena scientists have witnessed while observing black holes: stars swarming like bees around the center of our galaxy; black holes performing gravitational waltzes with visible stars; the cymbal clash of two black holes colliding, releasing ripples in space-time. Clear, compelling, and profound, Einstein’s Monsters reveals how our comprehension of black holes is intrinsically linked to how we make sense of the universe and our place within it. From the small questions to the big ones—from the tiniest particles to the nature of space-time itself—black holes might be the key to a deeper understanding of the cosmos.
Richly illustrated with the images from observatories on the ground and in space, and computer simulations, this book shows how black holes were discovered, and discusses what we've learned about their nature and their role in cosmic evolution. This thoroughly updated third edition covers new discoveries made in the past decade, including the discovery of gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars, the first close-up images of the region near a black hole event horizon, and observations of debris from stars torn apart when they ventured too close to a supermassive black hole. Avoiding mathematics, the authors blend theoretical arguments with observational results to demonstrate how both have contributed to the subject. Clear, explanatory illustrations and photographs reveal the strange and amazing workings of our universe. The engaging style makes this book suitable for introductory undergraduate courses, amateur astronomers, and all readers interested in astronomy and physics.
Ron Cowen offers a sweeping account of the century of experimentation that has consistently confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity. He shows how we got from Eddington’s pivotal observations of the 1919 eclipse to the Event Horizon Telescope, aimed at starlight wrapping around the black hole at our galaxy’s center.
Starting from informal cross-disciplinary conversations between colleagues, this volume is the result of an experiment in understanding the standpoints and methodologies of others in a multidisciplinary setting. At its heart are the core values of a liberal arts education: intellectual curiosity and the ability to communicate across borders. Written with the aim of communicating academic content to non-specialists, the essays interweave narratives about truth with various kinds of dialogue and the importance of historical consciousness. Together they illustrate the power of writing as a tool for strengthening a scholarly community. “A treasure trove of inventive, accessible, and deeply thoughtful writing, that ranges from astrophysics to anthropology, from literature to law, and from politics to public health. These are essays very much in the spirit of Montaigne: wise and witty, their open, exploratory, and at times personal approach make them ideal for classroom discussion. They offer us opportunity and space for valuable reflection and learning, and remind us that the liberal arts and sciences must be at the heart of debates about the human condition and the world’s most important and pressing concerns.” - Professor Ian Gadd, Academic Director of the Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA) “The classroom is where important but complex issues are explained in accessible form and language. This book offers its readers a crash course in such essential topics as truth, language, the law, religion, statistics, and history, but you don’t have to stick to a school timetable and there is no exam afterwards. It’s a feast for the mind; enjoy!” - Maarten Prak, Emeritus Professor of History at Utrecht University and first chair of the Board of Studies at University College Utrecht
Some time ago, an unusual book sold over seventy million copies and was translated into twenty-eight languages. It dealt with the possibility of life from the cosmos visiting humanity. This was just one of many surges of public interest in this matter. Unfortunately, the scientific community rarely addresses the causes of these surges. This leaves many confused, not sure what to believe. Indeed, there are always those who try to exploit this confusion. This book explores the causes of the surges, the stories they generate and the relevant science. It does not presuppose in-depth knowledge on the part of the reader, allowing them to become aware of the sciences behind these stories, and to judge them for themselves.
An award-winning science writer traces our millennia-long effort to understand the phenomenon of gravity--the greatest mystery in physics, and a force that has shaped our universe and our minds in ways we have never fully understood until now.
The Cosmos Explained is an exciting and beautifully designed book that charts the life of our universe from the Big Bang to the present day and beyond. Starting with the moment of the Big Bang—at exactly one ten-millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second—this book charts a history of space and time all the way through the evolution of our solar system, the birth of stars and the formation of life on Earth, to the future of our galaxy and beyond. With deeply insightful and fascinating text by Hayden Planetarium Associate Professor Charles Liu, who also hosts the immensely popular StarTalk podcast, this book is an accessible and enthralling gateway into the mysteries of space, time and the universe. Pinpoint exactly where you are in space and time using the timeline at the bottom of every page, and explore the history of the cosmos and the science behind it through beautiful telescope images and striking illustrations. Packaged in a unique retro design that reflects the 1960s cosmonaut era but still feels modern and relevant today, this title is as rich with information as it is with stunning visualisations of the concepts and bodies detailed within. An ideal gift for anyone interested in space or curious about the cosmos, The Cosmos Explained is a unique and entertaining timeline of life, the universe, and everything!
In 2015 two powerful telescopes detected something physicists had been seeking for more than one hundred years—gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes. This announcement thrilled the scientific community. Since the eighteenth century, astronomers have predicted the existence of massive, invisible stars whose gravity would not let anything—even light—escape. In the twenty-first century, sophisticated technologies are bringing us closer to seeing black holes in action. Meet the scientists who first thought of black holes hundreds of years ago, and learn about contemporary astrophysicists whose work is radically shaping how we understand black holes, our universe, and how it originated.
This introduction to one of the liveliest and most popular fields in philosophy is written specifically for a beginning readership with no background in philosophy or science. Step-by-step analyses of the key arguments are provided and the philosophical heart of the issues is revealed without recourse to jargon, maths, or logical formulas. The book introduces Einstein's revolutionary ideas in a clear and simple way, along with the concepts and arguments of philosophers, both ancient and modern that have proved of lasting value. Specifically, the theories of the ancient Greek philosophers, Zeno, Euclid and Parmenides are considered alongside the ideas of Newton, Leibniz and Kant as well as the giants of twentieth-century physics, Einstein and Lorentz. The problems at the heart of the philosophy of space and time, such as change, motion, infinity, shape, and inflation, are examined and the seismic impact made by relativity theory and quantum theory is assessed in the light of the latest research. The writing is lucid and entertaining, allowing a beginning readership to grasp some difficult concepts while offering the more experienced reader a succinct and illuminating presentation of the state of the debate. "Space, Time and Einstein" shows the reader the excitement of scientific discovery and the beauty of theory in the search for answers to these fundamental questions.
History's biggest lie is that there's one "God" and he created the universe out of nothing. Nothing has done more damage to the human psyche than monotheism - the doctrine of an all-powerful "Spy God", the divine peeping Tom, who sentences to hell anyone who doesn't slavishly obey him. In fact, the universe is a mathematical "God factory" and creates infinite Gods over eons of time. The universe, via dialectical ontological mathematics, is converging on the perfect answer to everything: the condition known as the Absolute or the Omega Point. The universe travels, mathematically, from Alpha to Omega, from perfect potential to perfect actualization. The ancient secret society of the Illuminati has waged a war against Abrahamic monotheism and promoted the doctrine of "becoming God". Mathematics is the Philosopher's Stone that can transmute base metal (ordinary humans) into gold (Gods). You too can complete your cosmic journey, across countless reincarnations. Are you ready to become an Omega Human?
The science of finding habitable planets beyond our solar system and the prospects for establishing human civilization away from our ever-less-habitable planetary home. Planet Earth, it turns out, may not be the best of all possible worlds—and lately humanity has been carelessly depleting resources, decimating species, and degrading everything needed for life. Meanwhile, human ingenuity has opened up a vista of habitable worlds well beyond our wildest dreams of outposts on Mars. Worlds without End is an expertly guided tour of this thrilling frontier in astronomy: the search for planets with the potential to host life. With the approachable style that has made him a leading interpreter of astronomy and space science, Chris Impey conducts readers across the vast, fast-developing field of astrobiology, surveying the dizzying advances carrying us ever closer to the discovery of life beyond Earth—and the prospect of humans living on another planet. Since the first exoplanet, or planet beyond our solar system, was discovered in 1995, over 4,000 more have been pinpointed, including hundreds of Earth-like planets, many of them habitable, detected by the Kepler satellite. With a view spanning astronomy, planetary science, geology, chemistry, and biology, Impey provides a state-of-the-art account of what’s behind this accelerating progress, what’s next, and what it might mean for humanity’s future. The existential threats that we face here on Earth lend urgency to this search, raising the question: Could space be our salvation? From the definition of habitability to the changing shape of space exploration—as it expands beyond the interests of government to the pursuits of private industry—Worlds without End shows us the science, on horizons near and far, that may hold the answers.