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The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics Paperback – Bargain Price, July 22, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft begged to differ. Loss of information would violate the basic time-reversibility of QM: Hawking's ideas would lead to universe-destroying phenomena (p. 23). Somehow, the information locked the wrong side of the event horizon must leak out via Hawking radiation. But how?
The resolution of this dilemma took many years of conjectures and refutations. Susskind takes us on a tour of entropy, holographic principles and physics at the Planck scale. And the adversarial plot keeps the reader turning the pages.
I am normally very dubious about popularisations. They proceed by raking up endless analogies which never quite fit together, so that by the end of the book, your mind is like that jig-saw puzzle you bought and could never fit together.
This book was never going to be the exception - the mathematics of quantum field theory, general relativity and string theory are just too arcane for popular culture concepts to cohere around. However, there are wonderful insights all the way through this book and we do end up learning something about the large scale map of the territory. Apparently even the experts find it hard to get the whole thing into one focus.
One other aspect bothered me, and that was the overly blunt assessment of Stephen Hawking's current cognitive abilities. It was speculative and not particularly nice. A scientist search for truth needs to be bounded by a respect for the personal (as opposed to professional) privacy of living fellow scientists.
Finally, the whole premise of a "war" is really labored. Scientific theories change over time as new facts arrive. War is something else. The Catholic Church went to war against Galileo. Mr. Susskind participated in a, at-best, spirited debate.
Susskind makes heavy use of String Theory to establish the theory. Actually, one can arrive at the same conclusion without the use of String Theory or quantum mechanics, by simply focusing on basic principles of physics and general relativity (GR). According to GR, it takes an object forever to reach the BH, and so it never gets inside. We therefore cannot speak about the inside. Everything falling down a BH is eternally falling, and so the information is not lost. We cannot speak about the inside of the BH. This then is exactly Susskind's Holographic Principle, where all information is outside the BH.
Science, and in particular physics, is a collection of theories. A theory is a mathematical system along with observational and experimental agreement. If it is impossible in principle to perform an observation, the theory cannot speak about that situation. Science also includes guesses, research proposals, and hypotheses, not all of which are theories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't speak much about the theories, but the self-aggrandizement is more than a little annoying. It opens with a diatribe about his war with God, which he won, then goes on to how... Read morePublished 7 days ago by yale
Clear explanations of all the physics to do with the question about loss or not of information in black holes.
Well written, easy read.
Maybe it was just me, but I really had to work to get through this one. Not because the content is challenging, but I struggled with the writing style - I just didn't seem to get... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Darvish Shadravan
An engaging recounting of a contretemps that had spanned several decades, in the highest ivory towers of theoretical physics. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very good book, explains everything perfectly, but reconsider befor buying because Leonard changed his theory last yearPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer