Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Plus Maths
Paul Heffernan
SkyWatch

Kip Thorne

Black holes and time warps

Black holes are well known objects, but their study using general relativity requires some difficult mathematics. In Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's outrageous legacy Kip Thorne manages to put over some highly theoretical notions without needing any mathematical details - the excellent drawings by Matt Zimet are a great help. Although it is a large book it has a very readable style. It might also serve as a source book for further study, as its biographical details of the main people in the field give a starting point to investigate their work. Its a valuable addition to the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in the development of modern ideas about space and time.

The book describes Einstein's development of general relativity and how the possibility of black holes arose with the work of Schwarzchild. This leads on to the study of compact objects by Chandrasekhar and Zwicky, which was strongly resisted by Eddington and Einstein. Thorne also looks at how the Cold War interfered with the study of General relativity, and how a new 'golden age' of black hole research started in the 1960's with the acceptance that they weren't just frozen stars. Later chapters deal with Hawking radiation, gravitational waves (Thorne's speciality) and the possibility of time travel using wormholes.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 624 pages  
ISBN: 0393312763
Salesrank: 21720
Weight:1.5 lbs
Published: 1995 W. W. Norton & Company
Amazon price $10.99
Marketplace:New from $5.88:Used from $2.49
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 624 pages  
ISBN: 0393312763
Salesrank: 163500
Weight:1.5 lbs
Published: 1995 W. W. Norton & Company
Marketplace:New from £8.39:Used from £4.88
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Paperback 640 pages  
ISBN: 0393312763
Salesrank: 51530
Weight:1.5 lbs
Published: 1995 WW Norton
Amazon price CDN$ 20.54
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 16.00:Used from CDN$ 8.52
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Product Description

Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics

Ever since Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity burst upon the world in 1915 some of the most brilliant minds of our century have sought to decipher the mysteries bequeathed by that theory, a legacy so unthinkable in some respects that even Einstein himself rejected them.

Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to exist and space becomes a kind of foam; gravitational waves, which carry symphonic accounts of collisions of black holes billions of years ago; and time machines, for traveling backward and forward in time.

Kip Thorne, along with fellow theorists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, a cadre of Russians, and earlier scientists such as Oppenheimer, Wheeler and Chandrasekhar, has been in the thick of the quest to secure answers. In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know? Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component.

Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.