Finished reading on October 21st, 2014
It’s quite rare for me to start reading a book with mixed feelings about whether I’m interested in that particular topic and come out excited to find out more not just about the specific topic but everything!
Before you stop reading this review because the book is about black holes, you should know – if you’d read it, you’re very unlikely to regret it.
The book starts with a historical overview of ideas about dark stars that nowadays are generally known as black holes. It’s quite fascinating how scientists came up with the idea although the physical principles they might have used in their theories might not have been totally sound, but it somewhat of matches the modern theory about black holes.
The whole book is about black holes.
You might think that to read this book one should either be a total astronomy geek and into black holes or someone similar, but that’s not the case. It’s not a dictionary description of what a black hole is, but rather Scharf makes black holes seem less utopian and entirely essential for the existence of the Universe as we know it and maybe even for life.
You can read about differently sized black holes – the ones that have masses slightly larger than the mass of our Sun, or super-massive ones containing masses of millions or maybe even billions of stars. And some of the supermassive black holes are active and might make life impossible in their vicinity or maybe even in the whole galaxy where they reside in…
Just me describing it makes it seem as if the book were as dry as a desert… In fact it’s wonderful and makes you want to find out more about the Universe and our Galaxy.
It’s certainly the best non-fiction book I’ve read recently.
“Breaking just one of the crisscrossing strands of cosmic history and energy that connect us to black holes could subvert the entire pathway to life here on our small rocky planet.” Caleb Scharf in “Gravity’s Engines”