The authoritative story of the headline-making discovery of gravitational waves - by an eminent theoretical astrophysicist and award-winning writer.
From the author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, the epic story of the scientific campaign to record the soundtrack of our universe.
©2016 Janna Levin (P)2016 Random House Audio
"This is a beautifully written account of the quest to open the 'gravitational-wave window' onto our universe, and use it to explore our universe's warped side: black holes and other phenomena made from warped spacetime. As a participant in this wonderful quest, I applaud Janna Levin for capturing so well our vision, our struggles, and the ethos and spirit of our torturous route toward success." (Kip Thorne, author of The Science of Interstellar)
Wow! I saw an interview on PBS news hour with the author and decided that such a significant event as hearing two black holes merge had to be an interesting read. Believe me, it was and I am not a scientist. Janna Levin is a scientist but she is also a wonderful interpreter of complex information, shares an ability to describe complex scientists, and allow the reader to understand the politics and frustration of being one of a very few people who can perceive this concept. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in November 1916 and a few scientists wanted to build a device to capture the event...if in fact there was such an event. After much political arguments, changes of the guard, and lots of ego battles, two receptors were built. One in Louisiana and one in Washington. The two had been fully locked in place only a few weeks, when the wave came. The fact was kept secret until it could be verified, and re-verified, and then published. The chirp of the two black holes merging was captured. You can hear the chirp if you research black hole mergers on the Internet. This is a remarkable piece of writing and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about this major scientific event. Makes you wonder what more is out there in space. Let's keep looking. Now that Juno is circling Jupiter, who knows what we will find. I listened to the author read the book on Audible and recommend it.
This is a wonderful book about one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time, written by a physicist who has been following the work for years before the successful culmination.
The personal stories of the scientists are almost as engaging as the scientific story.
And Dr. Levin's prose is at times so eloquent and moving it can bring you to tears. At some points I almost thought Carl Sagan wad whispering in her ear.
Janna spends most of the book repeating old biographical info on a handful of well known scientists. She describes them as quirky, uniquely formed individuals as if that was something specific to scientists. She wants to sound like an insider, but she's really a poser. And like all scientists who receive funding from the Pentagon, Janna loves to eulogize the American success in WW2. Its all fine and dandy, just really redundant. Her description of black holes is so pedestrian and Hawking-approved that its frustratingly dumb for a "new" book. Don't waste a cent on this. If you want to actually learn something about black holes and how gravity waves might function, check out The black Hole War, by Susskind.
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