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Einstein's Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes

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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 cent 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.


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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 cent 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.

45 review for Einstein's Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Its rare to find a died in the wool science practicioner who can talk about their field in such an accessible and informative way, but that's Imprey for you. Fortunately, his field is the most interesting in all of physics, the study of black holes. Unlike so very many of the astronomy and physics books that are made today, this one is not 2/3 a history of scientists slowly building their knowledge until a final and rushed 1/3 of recent discoveries, but rather a well paced back and forth of conc Its rare to find a died in the wool science practicioner who can talk about their field in such an accessible and informative way, but that's Imprey for you. Fortunately, his field is the most interesting in all of physics, the study of black holes. Unlike so very many of the astronomy and physics books that are made today, this one is not 2/3 a history of scientists slowly building their knowledge until a final and rushed 1/3 of recent discoveries, but rather a well paced back and forth of concepts, how they were discovered, who discovered them, and what their real and potential imports might well be. All the while the sub-categories are split up between topics of how we learn about black holes, and what we can learn about the greater universe from them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blaine Morrow

    Impey explores the most mysterious "monsters" predicted in Einstein's general relativity theory, giving experimental, observational, and theoretical details. Readers will be amazed, perhaps bewildered, and left wondering how the universe (or multiverses) came to be.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    It's more technical than other books of this type, but still it's well written.

  4. 5 out of 5

    VJ

    Interesting read on forces, gravitational and relativity theory, black holes, physicists, astronomy, advances in telecopy but portions of the book was a tough read for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tom Mayer

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

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    Robert O'neal

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tate Quinton

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fatih Uzun

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  11. 5 out of 5

    PWRL

    E

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Singer

    Didn’t finish

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

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    David R.

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    Mark Wolowick

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    Mahyar

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    Steve Walker

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    Diana

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    Ken Dilella

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    Hestia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phred

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    Nelson Noven

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    Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.

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    Stardust

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    Tara

  26. 4 out of 5

    DB in Richmond

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    M

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    Ryan

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    Kimberley

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    Terri Rowe

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    Anna Richey

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    Marleah

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    John H

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    Chris

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    David Good

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    Samarjeet Das Ray

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    Lin Ding

  39. 4 out of 5

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    Franziska Koeppen

  41. 4 out of 5

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  42. 4 out of 5

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    Andrew

  44. 5 out of 5

    Hans Mohlman

  45. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

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