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‘What I’d like you to take away from Gravity’s Engines is both a sense of the cosmic grandeur we have discovered and a feel for the great scope and ingenuity of human ideas at play.’
So says Caleb Scharf in his introduction to this very accessible account of the current thinking on black holes, how they formed and the effect they have on the universe.
Scharf starts with the stirring story of photons journeying across space and time bringing with them the information that scientists are using to reveal the answers to the questions of how the universe works. He then takes us back to the earliest days of scientific enquiry describing some of the people, experiments and discoveries that have led, stage by stage, to our current understanding of the impact that black holes have on the formation of galaxies, stars and perhaps even of life on earth itself.As someone with zero scientific education and knowledge, I found on the whole that Scharf’s use of analogy made the complex concepts relatively(!) easy to follow, while his style of writing and boundless enthusiasm made this a fascinating and enjoyable read. There were parts where he nearly lost me, when he explained some of the science around the more difficult theories, but without in any way ‘dumbing down’ he managed to clarify and simplify things enough to allow me to follow him on this exhilarating journey.
Perhaps not the complete answer to life, the universe and everything but a pretty good stab at it; and, as Scharf intended, I am left in awe of these massive and mysterious ‘dark stars’ and of the scientists who have gone so far towards understanding and explaining them. Highly recommended.
NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.