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Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines, Second Edition (Anglais) Broché – 12 décembre 2011

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Bringing the material up to date, Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines, Second Edition captures the new ideas and discoveries made in physics since the publication of the best-selling first edition. While retaining the popular format and style of its predecessor, this edition explores the latest developments in high-energy astroparticle physics and Big Bang cosmology.

The book continues to make the ideas and theories of modern physics easily understood by anyone, from researchers to students to general science enthusiasts. Taking you on a journey through space and time, author Jim Al-Khalili covers some of the most fascinating topics in physics today, including:

  • Black holes
  • Space warps
  • The Big Bang
  • Time travel
  • Wormholes
  • Parallel universes

Professor Al-Khalili explains often complex scientific concepts in simple, nontechnical terms and imparts an appreciation of the cosmos, helping you see how time traveling may not be so far-fetched after all.

Biographie de l'auteur

Jim Al-Khalili is a professor of physics at the University of Surrey. While still an active researcher in theoretical physics, Dr. Al-Khalili has become a well-known science communicator in the UK, with regular appearances on television and radio science documentaries. He was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for science communication in 2007 and the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal in 2011. He became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to science in 2008.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 6 commentaires
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines 1 février 2013
Par George Joannou - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I believe this book was written for the intelligent layman who wishes to know about the fascinating subject of black holes, wormholes and the possibility of time travel past and future. There are no mathematical formulas used and despite this the author still manages to clearly explain the subject matter . I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I didn't want to put it down.I read the entire book in two sittings.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Best book on these topics for an intermediate level reader. 7 avril 2014
Par mannyfresh - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is the best book I have read on these topics. It is not so basic that it is boring or so jargon'y/mathematical that you can't comprehend. It is just the right level for those interested in these topics that keeps you engaged and wanting to learn more. The author's passion for these topics is very noticeable, which keeps you hooked.

I highly recommend this one.
Fascinating and Highly Readable Look into Cosmological Thought 22 juin 2014
Par J. Groen - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is a fascinating and highly readable look into cosmological thought. It is full of interesting concepts and well worth the cost of money and time to delve into. One concept that the book covered well was the fact that time slows down as an individual travels faster. Although other books have covered this concept, the examples that this book used made the concept real and much more understandable.

Personally, I especially liked the chapters on wormholes. Although other books that I have read recently have covered these concepts, this one, using the recent book Contact (starring Jodie Foster and made in 1997) gave some reality to how this would work.

I highly recommend this book for any interested in astronomy and the universe.
A background in physics is a must in order to understand this book, in spite of Al-Khalili's assurances 16 juin 2014
Par Craig Rowland - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Jim Al-Khalili stated several times throughout the introduction to Black Holes, Wormholes, and Time Machines that he wrote the book for those with no prior background in science. He was going to talk about some pretty heavy stuff, like the theory of relativity, but would make it all easy to understand and with even a bit of humour thrown in. As a prime target for a book like this, I started the book twelve days ago hoping to be enlightened about the origin of the universe and all its quirky inhabitants like black holes, wormholes, pulsars, neutron stars and so on. That it took me a good twelve days to get through these 178 pages should tell you something: the basic science I felt was very early overshadowed by talk far too technical for me to grasp.

Granted, this book is classified within the physics range, and I admit to knowing far less about physics than about astronomy. The title and the cover however might lead one to expect that its main focus was either astronomy or cosmology. Al-Khalili did do a good job explaining the differences between these two space sciences. Yet I still felt utterly in the dark most times when he attempted to discuss some law of physics; Einstein's theory of relativity, the theory of special relativity, or string theory all were lost on me. I felt that the only way I might have been able to understand these theories of physics in an astronomical context would be to provide the book with an accompanying DVD. I never seem to feel so lost when I watch TV shows about such concepts. Television graphics and special effects enhance the theories, while a two-dimensional page detracts from them. Al-Khalili did however include some diagrams which I appreciated.

Al-Khalili answered many questions that I myself have pondered over, including "If the Universe is expanding, but at the same time contains the whole of space, what does it expand into?" and "What is there beyond the edge of the Universe?". The answers to these questions I did find easier to understand, and even fascinating. The concept of the beginning and the end of time will also leave you in awe, so I give Al-Khalili credit for these particular carefully thought-out explanations.

However as the book progressed, and we travelled into fourth dimensions and curved spacetime, where we propped up wormholes with "exotic" material and visited the past, I was totally lost. This was far too deep for a physics newbie, so after the first ten days where I crept through this book at a molasses rate, I just accepted whatever the author said in order to get myself closer to the end already. In spite of the initial wonderment I felt at learning some secrets of the universe, this book was an unpleasant chore to get through. Al-Khalili did try to keep the mood light throughout the entire book, dropping jokes and funny personal stories, which unfortunately didn't seem to make the physics any easier to grasp.

This is the second edition of Black Holes, Wormholes, and Time Machines and it could have used an editor. The most common errors were sentences with two different conjugated verbs, as though his initial thought was to write the verb in the present progressive, but then opted for the more simple form while still leaving the form of "to be" in the sentence.

I do not feel that the author succeeded in trying to explain black holes, wormholes, time machines and a universe of other mysterious objects to those like myself with no prior background in physics. While Al-Khalili had a noble objective for readers such as myself, I would have found this book an easier read if I had already had a firm knowledge of physics.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Best book on the topic targeting the laymen I've encountered! Wonderfully enlightening read! 13 août 2013
Par Ambiguouosity - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I am a proud owner of the 1st edition of this book and purchased this one because it is the more recently released 2nd edition. It was my favorite book on the topic to date so purchasing the 2nd edition was a no-brainer. So what do I think of this book? Al-Khalili is no doubt a master at taking esoteric physics concepts and breaking them down into terms for anyone who has a genuine interest in the topics covered to understand. Another commenter here said he read the whole book in two sittings. Congratulations are in order for him. I, on the other hand, had to slowly comb through this book digesting the knowledge a little at time before I can move onto the next section. I read about twenty pages at a time for about a month. I would often reread areas to make sure I knew exactly what was going on. Not because it was difficult to understand what he was saying but because it was truly challenging for me to completely digest. It's more than just fascinating and it deserves to be chewed swallowed.

Al-Khalili brilliantly connects chapter to chapter helping you understand dimensions, gravity, the universe (so much more complex - even though he does a wonderful job explaining - than I could even have imagined), black holes, white holes, Einstein and his theory of relativity (it's a really big deal and he doesn't downplay how big of a deal it is), paradoxes, and finally a move into where physics is today and what our leading - most abstract? - theories are. All of it beautifully rendered with illustrations and real-world easy to understand examples.

Having read the first edition and now the second edition and although I'd recommend this book strongly to anyone with an interest in these topics that isn't perusing - or has - a degree in physics, I have a couple of gripes I'd like to bring some attention to. Maybe some of these are my own lack of understanding and inability to grasp what the author is saying, but, nonetheless, they left me confused and once or twice a little disappointed.

Al-Khalili admittedly wrote the first edition of this book years ago, and during that time Pluto was still a planet. Twice in this book he makes reference to Pluto being our ninth or `outermost planet'. Given, this is petty, but if you're updating older material and releasing it as a new and improved edition, shouldn't you look into all the details? It is my understanding that Pluto, although now considered a dwarf planet, is not truly our ninth planet anymore. In fact, it is one of many dwarf planets beyond Neptune.

Next there is a line from his first edition repeated in this edition explaining that the cosmological constant was the biggest mistake of Einstein's scientific career. While at the time that may have been believed to be the case this book goes on to explain that the cosmological constant is back in play and is actively being used in modern equations. So was it a mistake or not? A simple word change would get rid of some of the confusion this can create.

He then deals with the shapes of the universe from open to closed and finally flat. I understood this perfectly because of his examples of what open and closed were, but I feel he kind of jumbled it a little in the end when explaining the difference because these and a flat universe. Closed = gravity halting expansion causing a recollapse. Open = gravity not being able to slow the expansion causing it to expand forever. Got it... Now flat: "balanced on a knife's edge between a universe that will one day collapse and one that will steadily expand forever." Okay, that makes sense. It sounds like it becomes static since open means eternal expansion and closed means a recollapse. However, in the next sentence he says "Instead, the density of matter would be such that its gravity will steadily slow the expansion rate down, but never quite stop it. This corresponds to a flat universe, neither open nor closed." This is why I'm confused. Gravity cannot stop the expansion in an open universe, fine. But gravity also cannot stop the expansion in a flat universe? It just keeps expanding, just maybe slower? What then is a flat universe? What's the difference? Is it that gravity just slows it down? Wouldn't that happen anyway within an open universe? A little more explanation here would do wonders because it just doesn't appear clear enough to be easily understood.

Now he moves onto the paradox of the twins. It is beautifully explained and easy to understand. However, he injects his beliefs as to why there is no paradox here. Without going into detailed explanation, his idea defeats the paradox only if the universe is as he believes it to be; open. He explains shapes of the universe wonderfully earlier on in the book, but doesn't reference here that the paradox will still exist if the universe is positively curved and closed. He explains throughout the book his ideas and other's ideas and where they disagree, but fails to do so here, which is a little disappointing.

One last gripe on the author, and it's more of a personal preference than something I feel he did incorrectly. When he's talking about the speed of light, why it's the cosmic speed limit, and why nothing can pass it (truly fascinating and finally explained for laymen to understand) he makes the statement "to accelerate it up to the speed of light would require an infinite amount of energy, which is impossible". This book deals with the seemingly impossible in a radical way including the infinite. For example, when explaining how black holes are formed he talks about the escape velocity equaling the speed of light causing the gravitational force on the surface of the star to become infinite. Seems unreal yet he explains general relativity allows for these infinite things to happen. So to have Al-Khalili blatantly state without explanation that an infinite amount of energy is impossible seems somewhat out of character for the very book he has created.

Finally here's an extremely petty complaint that has to do with the editor and not the author. The only reason I even mention it is if there is to be a third edition at some point it should be corrected. Unless, of course, I'm mistaken and it's not wrong, in which case I apologize for even bringing it up. There appears to be typing error in the following sentence: "Namely, if the Universe is open and infinite, then what does it expands into?" Expands, not expand?

In closing, this is hands down, bar-none the absolute best book I have ever read on the introduction to these radically complicated topics for the laymen to understand. Al-Kahalili is an absolute master at communicating these extraordinarily esoteric concepts to anyone with the desire to understand them. The only reason I do not give him five stars here is because of the things I listed above. Barring those, this would absolutely be a five star book! I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could. I highly recommend it! Thank you, Al-Kahalili for putting this information together so spectacularly.
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