Black Holes: The Key to Understanding the Universe
A Brief History of Time for the 21st Century
At the heart of our galaxy lies a monster so deadly, not even light can escape its grasp. Its secrets lie waiting to be discovered. It’s time to explore our universe’s most mysterious inhabitants
At the heart of the Milky Way lies a supermassive black hole 4 million times more massive than our Sun. A place where space and time are so warped that light is trapped if it ventures within 12 million km. According to Einstein, inside lies the end of time. According to 21st-century physics, the reality may be far more bizarre.
Black holes lie where the most massive stars used to shine and at the edge of our current understanding. They are naturally occurring objects, the inevitable creations of gravity when too much matter collapses into not enough space. And yet, although the laws of nature predict them, they fail fully to describe them.
Black holes are places in space and time where the laws of gravity, quantum physics and thermodynamics collide. Originally thought to be so intellectually troubling that they simply could not exist, it is only in the past few years that we have begun to glimpse a new synthesis; a deep connection between gravity and quantum information theory that describes a holographic universe in which space and time emerge from a network of quantum bits, and wormholes span the void.
In this groundbreaking book, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw take you to the edge of our understanding of black holes; a scientific journey to the research frontier spanning a century of physics, from Einstein to Hawking and beyond, that ends with the startling conclusion that our world may operate like a giant quantum computer.
”'An AMAZING thing to read. So SATISFYING, I REALLY RECOMMEND reading this book…FASCINATING” - Jeremy Vine
”'FASCINATING… a MIND BOGGLING new book” - Afternoon Edition with Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Radio
”'There are few better than Cox at turning tricksy, potentially dense subjects into captivating 'edutainment' for the masses - be it in BBC documentaries, live shows or books. Not for nothing did Sir David Attenborough once proclaim: 'If I had a torch I would hand it to Brian Cox.'” - Guy Kelly, Daily Telegraph
”'A spellbinding cosmic exploration that resists collapsing under the weight of jargon.” - Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Professors Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw -
”'They have blazed a clear trail into forbidding territory, from the mathematical structure of space-time all the way to atom bombs, astrophysics and the origin of mass.” - New Scientist
'Inspirational' Buzz Aldrin -
”'A scientific match made in heaven” - Observer
”'Cox and Forshaw stand together at the cutting edge of their discipline … Despite their elevated status, both men remain tiggerishly excitable about their subject” - Financial Times
”'Mindblowing” - Sunday Times
”'I can think of no one, Stephen Hawking included, who more perfectly combines authority, knowledge, passion, clarity, and powers of elucidation than Brian Cox.” - Stephen Fry, 2009
”'Admirably shies away from dumbing down” - Economist
”'They do a great job of bringing a difficult subject to life” - The Times
”'If you're not a physicist (or not yet a physicist) and you want to understand what Einstein and relativity theory are all about, you would do well to read this book. The writing is clear, sparkling in places, and totally without vanity … [A] delightful little book” - Huffington Post
”'Readers will enjoy this engaging, ambitious and creative tour of our quantum universe” - Guardian