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Title:
The black hole war : my battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics
Author(s):
Susskind, Leonard.
ISBN/ISSN:
9780316016407

0316016403
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
viii, 470 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Abstract:
A mind-bending book about modern physics, quantum mechanics, the fate of stars and the deep mysteries of black holes. What happens when something is sucked into a black hole? Does it disappear? Three decades ago, a young physicist named Stephen Hawking claimed it did--and in doing so put at risk everything we know about physics and the fundamental laws of the universe. Most scientists didn't recognize the import of Hawking's claims, but Leonard Susskind and Gerard t'Hooft realized the threat, and responded with a counterattack that changed the course of physics. This is the story of their united effort to reconcile Hawking's revolutionary theories with their own sense of reality--effort that would eventually result in Hawking admitting he was wrong, paying up, and Susskind and t'Hooft realizing that our world is a hologram projected from the outer boundaries of space.--From publisher description.
Personal Subject:
Pub Date:
Little, Brown, 2008.
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Summary

Summary

What happens when something is sucked into a black hole? Does it disappear? Three decades ago, a young physicist named Stephen Hawking claimed it did-and in doing so put at risk everything we know about physics and the fundamental laws of the universe. Most scientists didn't recognize the import of Hawking's claims, but Leonard Susskind and Gerard t'Hooft realized the threat, and responded with a counterattack that changed the course of physics. THE BLACK HOLE WAR is the thrilling story of their united effort to reconcile Hawking's revolutionary theories of black holes with their own sense of reality-effort that would eventually result in Hawking admitting he was wrong, paying up, and Susskind and t'Hooft realizing that our world is a hologram projected from the outer boundaries of space.
A brilliant book about modern physics, quantum mechanics, the fate of stars and the deep mysteries of black holes, Leonard Susskind's account of the Black Hole War is mind-bending and exhilarating reading.


Author Notes

Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics at Stanford University. He is the author of The Cosmic Landscape , The Black Hole War, and TheTheoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics.

Susskind is a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of numerous prizes including the science writing prize of the American Institute of Physics for his Scientific American article on black holes.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bets made over a beer between scientists rarely make the headlines, but in 2004 Stephen Hawking conceded that he'd lost a bet and that a view he had held for 30 years was wrong. According to Stanford physicist Susskind (The Cosmic Landscape), one of the leaders of the anti-Hawking camp, the argument was a simple one: if information falls into a black hole, is it lost forever? Hawking's theory that information is destroyed undermined everything scientists thought they knew about quantum physics. Susskind gives readers a course in black holes, quantum physics and string theory as he explains his belief that information cannot be destroyed. Along the way he introduces bizarre theories like the Holographic Principle (which he helped develop), claiming that the third dimension is an illusion and that energy and matter are just forms of information. Susskind also profiles two hot-shot South American physicists who helped deliver the coup de grace to Hawking's argument. Black hole and Hawking fans should go for this book, even if the great physicist was wrong. B&w illus. (July 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Beyond the flamboyant title and subtitle, this book presents an interesting view of today's physics as it moves into ever more abstract areas. Writing for the general public, Susskind (The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design), a distinguished Stanford University theorist, uses a relaxed and often humorous style of presentation. He is candid in admitting that string theory, which is at the heart of the newest physics, lacks experimental proof. Nevertheless, string theory and other approaches have succeeded in convincing nearly everybody that information is not lost via black hole radiation. The author's informal style certainly makes his book more digestible for nonspecialists, but at times he wanders so far afield that the discussion thread is lost. Tighter editing could have made the book shorter and more understandable. Recommended for college and large public libraries.--Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

As the world awaits the results from the collision experiments from the most advanced and powerful European particle accelerator (CERN), Susskind (Stanford Univ.), a renowned theoretical physicist, offers this important, timely book, which delves into the related and disturbingly dangerous subject of black holes. Here, he describes disagreements that he and his Dutch friend, Gerard d'Hooft, had with the famous British mathematician/physicist Stephen Hawking on his predictions regarding the interaction of objects with black holes. This book provides an anecdotal, highly readable discussion of the background to black holes and the consequences of their existence. It also gives a detailed explanation of the author's differences with the interpretations of Stephen Hawking. The physics is presented without recourse to equations, and personal stories enliven the entire discourse. Susskind references his analysis with discussions he had with several other physicists involved in elucidating this arcane area of physics, which deals with relativity, quantum physics, and black holes. Useful sketches and diagrams make the discussion easier to follow, especially for the nonscientist. Includes footnotes and a good index with a glossary of terms. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. N. Sadanand Central Connecticut State University


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 3
Part I The Gathering Storm
1 The First Shotp. 17
2 The Dark Starp. 25
3 Not Your Grandfather's Geometryp. 50
4 "Einstein, Don't Tell God What to Do"p. 76
5 Planck Invents a Better Yardstickp. 111
6 In a Broadway Barp. 117
7 Energy and Entropyp. 126
8 Wheeler's Boys, or How Much Information Can You Stuff in a Black Hole?p. 143
9 Black Lightp. 157
Part II Surprise Attack
10 How Stephen Lost His Bits and Didn't Know Where to Find Themp. 179
11 The Dutch Resistancep. 193
12 Who Cares?p. 200
13 Stalematep. 211
14 Skirmish at Aspenp. 225
Part III Counterattack
15 The Battle of Santa Barbarap. 233
16 Wait! Reverse the Rewiringp. 265
17 Ahab in Cambridgep. 271
18 The World as a Hologramp. 290
Part IV Closing the Ring
19 Weapon of Mass Deductionp. 309
20 Alice's Airplane, or The Last Visible Propellerp. 354
21 Counting Black Holesp. 366
22 South America Wins the Warp. 395
23 Nuclear Physics? You're Kidding!p. 422
24 Humilityp. 433
Epiloguep. 442
Acknowledgmentsp. 449
Glossaryp. 451
Indexp. 457