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Black holes : the key to understanding the universe
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Known for his BBC Wonders series, BBC podcast "The Infinite Monkey Cage," and numerous Sunday Times best sellers, University of Manchester professor Cox joins with colleague Forshaw to explain those enticing black holes in outer space. With a 40,000-copy first printing.
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A new look at one of the universe's most intriguing marvels. Did gravitational waves, spilling from a black hole collision discovered in 2015, signal the opening of a wormhole through space and time? This is just one of many profound questions previously asked only in science-fiction movies and now studied in scientific circles as technology progresses. In their latest collaboration (Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, The Quantum Universe, etc.), particle physicists Cox and Forshaw ask and answer many such questions. (Their answer to the above is a tantalizing "maybe.") Black holes are the remains of massive stars that have collapsed under their own gravity. Until recently, they glowed "gently like faint coals in the cold sky," so distant they existed only "at the edge of our current understanding." In 1915, Einstein predicted their existence with the Theory of General Relativity, and the concept of "Hawking radiation" resolved an inaccurate view of them (that information disappears into them permanently, a belief challenged when physicist Stephen Hawking described black-hole radiation leaks). Are we close to an understanding? The authors think so. Inside black holes, principles of general relativity and quantum physics collide in such a way it is becoming clear we live in a "quantum universe." Cox and Forshaw believe that quantum computers will help us solve the last mysteries of black holes in what will be "the ultimate vindication of research for research's sake: two of the biggest problems in science and technology" turning out to be "intimately related. The challenge of building a quantum computer is very similar to the challenge of writing down the correct theory of quantum gravity." One way or another, they write, black holes are helping us see the exhilarating extent to which we are "constantly discovering techniques that Nature has already exploited." A spellbinding cosmic exploration that resists collapsing under the weight of jargon. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

By the star physicist and author of multiple #1 Sunday Times bestsellers, a major and definitive narrative work on black holes and how they can help us understand the universe.

At the heart of our galaxy lies a monster so deadly it can bend space, throwing vast jets of radiation millions of light years out into the cosmos. Its kind were the very first inhabitants of the universe, the black holes.

Today, across the universe, at the heart of every galaxy, and dotted throughout, mature black holes are creating chaos. And in a quiet part of the universe, the Swift satellite has picked up evidence of a gruesome death caused by one of these dark powers. High energy X-ray flares shooting out from deep within the Draco constellation are thought to be the dying cries of a white dwarf star being ripped apart by the intense tides of a supermassive black hole - heating it to millions of degrees as it is shredded at the event horizon.

They have the power to wipe out any of the universe's other inhabitants, but no one has ever seen a black hole itself die. But 1.8 billion light years away, the LIGO instruments have recently detected something that could be the closest a black hole gets to death. Gravitational waves given off as two enormous black holes merge together. And now scientists think that these gravitational waves could be evidence of two black holes connecting to form a wormhole - a link through space and time. It seems outlandish, but today's physicists are daring to think the unthinkable - that black holes could connect us to another universe.

At their very heart, black holes are also where Einstein's Theory of General Relativity is stretched in almost unimaginable ways, revealing black holes as the key to our understanding of the fundamentals of our universe and perhaps all other universes.

Join Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw in exploring our universe's most mysterious inhabitants, how they are formed, why they are essential components of every galaxy, including our own, and what secrets they still hold, waiting to be discovered.

Table of Contents
1A Brief History of Black Holes1
2Unifying Space and Time22
3Bringing Infinity to a Finite Place46
4Warping Spacetime75
5Into the Black Hole97
6White Holes and Wormholes112
7The Kerr Wonderland131
8Real Black Holes from Collapsing Stars149
9Black Hole Thermodynamics163
10Hawking Radiation187
11Spaghettified and Vaporised197
12The Sound of One Hand Clapping208
13The World as a Hologram226
14Islands in the Stream239
15The Perfect Code254
Picture Credits271
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