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.
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.
Best Book for Somebody Who Loves Physics But Hates Math
Leonard's clear and patient writing allows even the most amateurish physicist to enter the elite world of great names like Hawking and t' Hooft. The mixture of anecdotes and raw descriptions of what was at stake bring a great human element to the book, and it is a great way for the average person to understand how scientists are just as subject to their own angels and demons (no matter what type of space they exist in).
On the pure physics aspect, Leonard displays great responsibility in clarifying to the reader when things are uncertain even to him. When his incredibly useful analogies might be frowned upon by fellow physicists, he is quick to acknowledge the shortcomings of watering down such advanced concepts, which only makes a young enthusiast even more determined to learn and understand more.
Great kudos to this book. It has excited me and terrified me in ways that fantasy and science fiction cannot - because it is true.
Black hole war