Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos

Caleb Scharf - 2012
    Often billions of times more massive than the Sun, they lurk in the inner sanctum of almost every galaxy of stars in the universe. They're mysterious chasms so destructive and unforgiving that not even light can escape their deadly wrath.Recent research, however, has led to a cascade of new discoveries that have revealed an entirely different side to black holes. As the astrophysicist Caleb Scharf reveals in Gravity's Engines, these chasms in space-time don't just vacuum up everything that comes near them; they also spit out huge beams and clouds of matter. Black holes blow bubbles.With clarity and keen intellect, Scharf masterfully explains how these bubbles profoundly rearrange the cosmos around them. Engaging with our deepest questions about the universe, he takes us on an intimate journey through the endlessly colorful place we call our galaxy and reminds us that the Milky Way sits in a special place in the cosmic zoo—a "sweet spot" of properties. Is it coincidental that we find ourselves here at this place and time? Could there be a deeper connection between the nature of black holes and their role in the universe and the phenomenon of life? We are, after all, made of the stuff of stars.

Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe (Hot Science)

Brian Clegg - 2019
    The rest is hidden. This could be the biggest puzzle that science has ever faced. Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should fly apart, but something concealed holds them together. That ’something' is dark matter – invisible material in five times the quantity of the familiar stuff of stars and planets. By the 1990s we also knew that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. Something, named dark energy, is pushing it to expand faster and faster. Across the universe, this requires enough energy that the equivalent mass would be nearly fourteen times greater than all the visible material in existence. Brian Clegg explains this major conundrum in modern science and looks at how scientists are beginning to find solutions to it.

Black Holes: A Very Short Introduction

Katherine Blundell - 2014
    This Very Short Introduction, addresses a variety of questions, including what a black hole actually is, how they are characterized and discovered, and what would happen if you came too close to one. Professor Katherine Blundell looks at the seemingly paradoxical, mysterious, and intriguing phenomena of black holes. Outlining their nature and characteristics, both those resulting from the spectacular collapse of heavy stars, and the giant black holes found at the centres of galaxies, she separates scientific fact from science fiction, and demonstrates the important role they play in the cosmos. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes

Alex Vilenkin - 2006
    His contributions to our current understanding of the universe include a number of novel ideas, two of which—eternal cosmic inflation and the quantum creation of the universe from nothing—have provided a scientific foundation for the possible existence of multiple universes.With this book—his first for the general reader—Vilenkin joins another select group: the handful of first-rank scientists who are equally adept at explaining their work to nonspecialists. With engaging, well-paced storytelling, a droll sense of humor, and a generous sprinkling of helpful cartoons, he conjures up a bizarre and fascinating new worldview that—to paraphrase Niels Bohr—just might be crazy enough to be true.

Black Holes: The Reith Lectures

Stephen Hawking - 2016
    Black holes are stranger than anything dreamed up by science fiction writers.”In 2016 Professor Stephen Hawking delivered the BBC Reith Lectures on a subject that fascinated him for decades – black holes.In these flagship lectures the legendary physicist argued that if we could only understand black holes and how they challenge the very nature of space and time, we could unlock the secrets of the universe.

Our Cosmic Habitat

Martin J. Rees - 2001
    Is this happenstance, providence, or coincidence? According to cosmologist Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's famous remark: ''What interests me most is whether God could have made the world differently.'' This highly engaging book explores the fascinating consequences of the answer being ''yes.'' Rees explores the notion that our universe is just a part of a vast ''multiverse, '' or ensemble of universes, in which most of the other universes are lifeless. What we call the laws of nature would then be no more than local bylaws, imposed in the aftermath of our own Big Bang. In this scenario, our cosmic habitat would be a special, possibly unique universe where the prevailing laws of physics allowed life to emerge. Rees begins by exploring the nature of our solar system and examining a range of related issues such as whether our universe is or isn't infinite. He asks, for example: How likely is life? How credible is the Big Bang theory? Rees then peers into the long-range cosmic future before tracing the causal chain backward to the beginning. He concludes by trying to untangle the paradoxical notion that our entire universe, stretching 10 billion light-years in all directions, emerged from an infinitesimal speck. As Rees argues, we may already have intimations of other universes. But the fate of the multiverse concept depends on the still-unknown bedrock nature of space and time on scales a trillion trillion times smaller than atoms, in the realm governed by the quantum physics of gravity. Expanding our comprehension of the cosmos, Our Cosmic Habitat will be read and enjoyed by all those--scientists and nonscientists alike--who are as fascinated by the universe we inhabit as is the author himself.

Extreme Cosmos: A Guided Tour of the Fastest, Brightest, Hottest, Heaviest,Oldest, and Most Amazing Aspects of Our Universe

Bryan Gaensler - 2011
    The universe is all about extremes, and in this engaging and thought-provoking book, astronomer Bryan Gaensler gives a whirlwind tour of the galaxies, with an emphasis on its fastest, hottest, heaviest, brightest, oldest, densest, and even loudest elements. From supernova explosions a billion times brighter than the sun to an asteroid the size of a beach ball, Extreme Cosmos offers a fascinating, fresh, and informed perspective of the remarkable richness of the universe, and the incredible physics that modern astronomy has revealed.

Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe

Marcus Chown - 2018
    But our adventures in space, our deepening understanding of the quantum world and huge leaps in technology over the last century have also revealed a universe far stranger than we could ever have imagined.With brilliant clarity and wit, bestselling author Marcus Chown examines the profound science behind fifty remarkable scientific facts that help explain the vast complexities of our existence. Did you know that you could fit the whole human race in the volume of a sugar cube? Or that the electrical energy in a single mosquito is enough to cause a global mass extinction? Or that, out there in the cosmos, there are an infinite number of copies of you reading an infinite number of copies of this?Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand is a mind-bending journey through some of the most weird and wonderful facts about our universe, vividly illuminating the hidden truths that govern our everyday lives.

Black Holes and Warped Spacetime

William J. Kaufmann III - 1979
    They infinitely warp space and time, allowing nothing to escape: not matter, not even light. They are stellar corpses that have crushed themselves into oblivion, seemingly suspending the traditional laws of physics. The Big bang may have peppered the universe with primordial black holes, as small as protons but as massive as mountains. The universe itself may be disappearing into the final black hole. Black holes (BHs) and their warping effect on spacetime are described, beginning with a discussion on stellar evolution that includes white dwarfs, supernovas and neutron stars. The structure of static, rotating, and electrically charged BHs are considered, as well as the general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, the Einstein-Rosen bridge, and wormholes in spacetime. Attention is also given to gravitational lenses, various space geometries, quasars, Seyfert galaxies, supermassive black holes, the evaporation and particle emission of BHs, and primordial BHs, including their temperature and lifetime. The author's engrossing, non-technical explanations are enhanced by numerous illustrations.

Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System

Michael Summers - 2017
    Since its 2009 launch, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than two thousand exoplanets, or planets outside of our solar system. More and more exoplanets are being discovered all the time, and even more remarkable than the sheer number of exoplanets is their variety. In Exoplanets, astronomer Michael Summers and physicist James Trefil explore the unbelievable recent discoveries: planets revolving around pulsars, planets made out of diamond, planets that are mostly water, and numerous rogue planets wandering through the emptiness of space. This captivating book reveals the latest, greatest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in the questions we ask and the mental paradigms we use. In short, we have to change how we think about the universe and our place in it, because it is stranger and more interesting than we can even begin to imagine.

The Speed Of Time

Sharad Nalawade - 2012
    The world you live in is stranger than fiction... as you read this, you exist in other places at the same time. Do not regret having missed the chance to realize your dreams, for you may just have fulfilled it in another universe.. * Are the trillions of atoms that make you, nothing but vibrations in 10 dimensions?* Is it true that we are all connected with each other?* Can you go into the future to change the present?* Why do scientists and philosophers struggle with the concept of Time?* Can science explain consciousness through physics?* Is our fate driven by the underlying randomness in nature?* Is nature hiding the best-kept secrets which can never be unravelled by humans?The Speed of Time approaches the most complex and esoteric theories of science in lucid, clear and simple language and in the style of a thriller, leaving you wanting more... while addressing questions through the enigmatic theories in Physics such as Quantum Mechanics, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Time, Chaos, and much more. Just start reading and you will not put it down.

The Red Limit

Timothy Ferris - 1977
    In the late 1920s, astronomers defeated this assumption with a startling new discovery. From Earth, the light of distant galaxies appeared to be red, meaning that those galaxies were receding from us. This led to the revolutionary realization that the universe is expanding. The Red Limit is the tale of this discovery, its ramifications, and the passionately competitive astronomers who charted the past, present, and future of the cosmos.

Einstein's Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable

Seth Fletcher - 2018
    But Shep Doeleman and a global coalition of scientists are on the cusp of doing just that.With exclusive access to the team, journalist Seth Fletcher spent five years following Shep and an extraordinary cast of characters as they assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a virtual radio observatory the size of the Earth. He witnessed their struggles, setbacks, and breakthroughs, and along the way, he explored the latest thinking on the most profound questions about black holes. Do they represent a limit to our ability to understand reality? Or will they reveal the clues that lead to the long-sought Theory of Everything?Fletcher transforms astrophysics into something exciting, accessible, and immediate, taking us on an incredible adventure to better understand the complexity of our galaxy, the boundaries of human perception and knowledge, and how the messy human endeavor of science really works.Weaving a compelling narrative account of human ingenuity with excursions into cutting-edge science, Einstein’s Shadow is a tale of great minds on a mission to change the way we understand our universe—and our place in it.

Measuring the Universe: Our Historic Quest to Chart the horizons of Space and Time

Kitty Ferguson - 1900
    Today, scientists are attempting to measure the entire universe and to determine its origin. Although the methods have changed, the quest to chart the horizons of space and time continues to be one of the great adventures of science.Measuring the Universe is an eloquent chronicle of the men and women– from Aristarchus to Cassini, Sir Isaac Newton to Henrietta Leavitt and Stephen Hawking–who have gradually unlocked the mysteries of "how far" and in so doing have changed our ideas about the size and nature of the universe and our place in it. Kitty Ferguson reveals their methods to have been as inventive as their results were–and are–eye-opening. Advances such as Copernicus's revolutionary insights about the arrangement of the solar system, William Herschel's meticulous creation of the first three-dimensional map of the universe, and Edwin Hubble's astonishing discovery that the universe is expanding have by turns revolutionized our concept of the universe. Connecting centuries of breakthroughs with the political and cultural events surrounding them, Ferguson makes astronomy part of the sweep of history.To measure the seemingly immeasurable, scientists have always pushed the boundaries of the imagination–today, for example, facing the paradox of an ever-expanding universe that doesn't appear to expand into anything. In Kitty Fergeson's skillfill hands, the unimaginable becomes accessible and the splendid quest something we all can share.

Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (For the Cosmically Curious)

Michael Wall - 2018
    It's impossible to look up at the stars and NOT think about it: Are we alone in the universe? Books, movies and television shows proliferate that attempt to answer this question and explore it. In Out There senior writer Dr. Michael Wall treats that question as merely the beginning, touching off a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier. He considers, for instance, the myriad of questions that would arise once we do discover life beyond Earth (an eventuality which, top NASA officials told Wall, is only drawing closer). What would the first aliens we meet look like?Would they be little green men or mere microbes?Would they be found on a planet in our own solar system or orbiting a star far, far away?Would they intend to harm us, and if so, how might they do it?And might they already have visited?Out There is arranged in a simple question-and-answer format. The answers are delivered in Dr. Wall's informal but informative style, which mixes in a healthy dose of humor and pop culture to make big ideas easier to swallow. Dr. Wall covers questions far beyond alien life, venturing into astronomy, physics, and the practical realities of what long-term life might be like for we mere humans in outer space, such as the idea of lunar colonies, and even economic implications. Dr. Wall also shares the insights of some of the leading lights in space exploration today, and shows how the next space age might be brighter than ever.