What is a black hole? Could we survive a visit to one? Perhaps even venture inside? What would we find? Have we yet discovered any real black holes?
And what do black holes teach us about what physicist John Archibald Wheeler called “the deep, happy, mysteries of the universe”?
These are just a few of the tantalizing questions examined in this jargon-free review of one of the most fascinating topics in modern science. In search of the answers, we trace a star from its birth to its death throes, take a fabulous hypothetical journey to the border of a black hole and beyond, spend time with some of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and observational astronomers scanning the cosmos for evidence of real black holes, and take a whimsical look at some of the wild ideas black holes have inspired.
Ferguson succeeds in explaining black holes at a level that will be inviting to those with little or no prior knowledge. Her writing is lucid, her analogies good. Just when you thought it was all over, black holes are back.
An astute blend of entertainment and enlightenment, the sort of book that might have come from George Gamow as part of his series Mr Tompkins in Wonderland. Ferguson’s grip on her material is firm, her style crisp, lucid and lively.
Kitty Ferguson marshals her argument well, taking a bite at a time and giving the reader the opportunity to digest before cramming in the next. Her text is carefully thought out, vivid and accurate. I’m glad I read it.
The reader will be amply rewarded not only with knowledge, but also with the humor, fantasy, poetry and awe Ferguson brings to the subject.
Stephen Hawking’s name is well known throughout the world but considerably fewer people are aware of the true scale of the impact he had on science and how that has influenced our wider world. Kitty Ferguson reflects on the time they spent together and the impact that his legacy still has today.