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Black Hole: How an Idea Abandoned by Newtonians, Hated by Einstein, and Gambled On by Hawking Became Loved Hardcover – April 28, 2015
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Bartusiak traces the conception of the idea of black holes to a Cambridge don named Joh Mitchell who asked whether an object could be so dense that even light would not escape its gravitational pull. This idea lay buried in the scientific literature until the early 20th century when astronomers began asking questions about the constitution of stars. It was a young Indian astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who first thought about gravitational collapse on his way to graduate school in England. Bartusiak describes well Chandrasekhar's battles with the old English establishment of astronomers in getting his ideas accepted. He was so frustrated in his endeavors that he switched to studying other topics before he finally got the Nobel Prize for his work decades later.
The next actors on the stage were the volatile Fritz Zwicky and the brilliant Lev Landau and Robert Oppenheimer. Landaa and Zwicky laid out the first contours of what's called a neutron star while Oppenheimer was really the first scientist who asked what happens when a star completely collapses to a point, what was later called a singularity. Interestingly both Oppenheimer and Einstein - whose general theory relativity shines in all its glory in black holes - either refused to accept their reality or showed a complete lack of interest in them in their later years. After his pioneering work Oppenheimer never even entertained the subject.Read more ›
The book does an excellent of describing Newton's laws, special relativity and general relativity (Einstein), and some of the follow up concepts, e.g. Schwarzschild singularity (won't get into defining this and other concepts in this book - read the book!), and Oppenheimer's unusual finding. And, the description is very readable and understandable.
This is an excellent book for anyone with just a casual interest in the concept of a black hole and the theories and discoveries clearly identifying that these exist.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good overview of the history of Black Holes. However, its seems to be tilted toward those readers with no knowledge of Physics. Read morePublished 22 hours ago by David R Wheaton
This had a focus on the history of black holes that I have not seen before. The history and development of the discovery was very interesting to follow and was well presented.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a terrific Science history book that read like a detective story. I became interested in Science and Astronomy in 1964 and books like this have kept me excited and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very well written although no effort to explain the effect of compressing protons and electrons into extremely confined volumes. SadPublished 5 months ago by Graham. R. Smith
“Theorists, meanwhile, found humor in the physics [of a black hole] itself. They jokingly talked about how you would get “noodlized” as you passed, feet first,... Read more
A beautifully written and engaging book. It takes you down the path of not only what happened, but also who did it and why it happened. Read morePublished 6 months ago by David Fox