Gravity's Engines by Caleb A. Scharf

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

...his thesis is that the biggest black holes serve as cosmic regulators: that they control the production of stars in the great clouds of gas and dust from which, ultimately, all stars and planets must condense.
-Guardian

Synopsis

We have long understood black holes to be the points at which the universe as we know it comes to an end - mysterious chasms so destructive and unforgiving that not even light can escape their deadly power. Recent research, however, has led to a cascade of new discoveries that have revealed an entirely new, and crucially important, side to black holes. Super-sized versions, often billions of times more massive than the Sun, lurk in every galaxy in the universe. And these chasms don't just vacuum up everything around them; they also spit out huge clouds of matter and energy. In "Gravity's Engines", renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf reveals how these giant black holes profoundly rearrange the cosmos that surrounds them, controlling the number of stars in the galaxies and, in turn, the entire universe. With lucidity and elegance, Scharf traces the two hundred year history of our attempts to discover the nature of black holes, from an English academic turned clergyman in the late 1700's who first identified these 'dark stars' to Einstein and the great revolutions of relativity and quantum mechanics. Engaging with our deepest questions about our origins, he takes us on an intimate journey through our endlessly colourful universe, revealing how the cosmic capacity for life is ultimately governed by - and perhaps could not exist without - black holes.
 

About Caleb A. Scharf

See more books from this Author
Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's Astrobiology Center. He has written for New Scientist, Science, Nature, and more. He was born in England, and now lives in New York City.
 
Published January 1, 2012 by Allen Lane.
Genres: Science & Math.
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Gravity's Engines
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Oct 29 2013

This is a book that is rich in the poetry of scientific language. Terms such as Schwarzschild radius, gravity wells, galaxy clusters and synchroton radiation stir me strangely; it is jargon that describes things that are immense, and extreme.

Read Full Review of Gravity's Engines | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Tim Radford on Dec 12 2012

...his thesis is that the biggest black holes serve as cosmic regulators: that they control the production of stars in the great clouds of gas and dust from which, ultimately, all stars and planets must condense.

Read Full Review of Gravity's Engines | See more reviews from Guardian

Rate this book!

Add Review