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Einstein's enigma or black holes in my bubble bath

Author: C V Vishveshwara
Publisher: New York : Copernicus Books, ©2006.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats

This is a fascinating popular science book on gravity and black holes written by a celebrated relativist. The black hole story is an adventure through physics, philosophy, history, fiction and  Read more...


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Genre/Form: Popular works
Ouvrages de vulgarisation
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: C V Vishveshwara
ISBN: 3540331999 9783540331995
OCLC Number: 493998089
Notes: Popular treatment.
Description: 1 vol. (360 p.) : ill. ; 24 cm
Contents: Chapter 1. The Bathtub The Prologue. Alfonso L Sabio, the protagonist, or Alfie for short, introduces himself. Alfie meets Professor George Gallagher, the theoretical astrophysicist, at their favourite haunt, Bruno's Italian restaurant. They plan to have discussions on black holes. On his way home, Alfie acquires his magical bathtub and the special bubble bath mix from a mysterious store. He has his first experience of the fantasy inducing bubbles that suspiciously resemble evaporating black holes. Chapter 2. The Stellar BED Bruno's Italian restaurant. George explains stellar evolution leading to the end products - the white dwarfs, the neutron stars and the black hole. The acronym BED stands for Birth - Existence - Death. Chapter 3. The Casanova Connection Fantasy induced by the bubble bath. Casanova appears and explains why he has been chosen to be Alfie's escort. He gives a guided tour of some of the constellations and takes Alfie on a trip through space and time. They visit Yang Wei-te, the Chinese astronomer who observed and recorded the supernova of 1054 AD as well as Tycho Brahe and Kepler. The fantasy ends with the battle between Orion and Scorpio. Chapter 4. Footprints of the Giants A park in the university. Alfie and George discuss science before Newton as represented by the ideas and work of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. Chapter 5. Cosmic Framework Newton's theory of gravitation and several phenomena that are explained within that framework, in particular those that would be of relevance to the general theory of relativity and black hole physics. Chapter 6. Moving Experience Bruno's restaurant. George surveys the ideas that led to Einstein's special theory of relativity and the consequences of the theory. Chapter 7. Fabric of Spacetime Minkowski's concept of spacetime is described. This sets the stagefor the development of the general theory of relativity. Chapter 8. Grappling with Gravity Discussion continues. Einstein's remarkable odyssey from special relativity to the general theory of relativity is traced. Chapter 9. Beetles on a Branch The main tenets of general relativity are described highlighting the revolutionary idea of identifying spacetime curvature with gravitation. Implications of the theory are discussed with special reference to gravitational waves and black holes. Chapter 10. Tub Talk Bubble bath. Einstein's life in Princeton is chronicled by one who knew him closely in his Mercer Street home. Einstein's ideas are presented essentially through his own quotations. Chapter 11. The First Solution and the Last Statement George's office in the university. Discussions focus on the discovery and the general properties of the non-rotating Schwarzschild exterior spacetime Chapter 12. Sphere of Darkness Properties of the non-rotating Schwarzschild black hole are discussed in detail. An important aspect elucidated in depth is the characterization of the black hole itself, in particular the exact reason for its one-way membrane property, which is hardly ever explained properly. Some of the common misconceptions about black holes are also dispelled. Chapter 13. The Voracious Whirlpool George's office. The rotating Kerr black hole. Novel features engendered by rotation such as the existence of the ergosphere and the possibility of extraction of energy are highlighted. Flow of matter leading to the formation of accretion disks is described. Chapter 14. Dynamics of the Unique Uniqueness of black holes is discussed. George's three graduate students join in for a lively discussion of black hole thermodynamics and black hole evaporation. Chapter 15. A Date with Dante A virtual reality trip to the
Responsibility: C.V. Vishveshwara.


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