A Brief History of Time for the 21st Century
At the heart of our galaxy lies a monster so deadly, not even light can escape its grasp. Its secrets lie waiting to be discovered. It's time to explore our universe's most mysterious inhabitants
At the heart of the Milky Way lies a supermassive black hole 4 million times more massive than our Sun. A place where space and time are so warped that light is trapped if it ventures within 12 million km. According to Einstein, inside lies the end of time. According to 21st-century physics, the reality may be far more bizarre.
Black holes lie where the most massive stars used to shine and at the edge of our current understanding. They are naturally occurring objects, the inevitable creations of gravity when too much matter collapses into not enough space. And yet, although the laws of nature predict them, they fail fully to describe them.
Black holes are places in space and time where the laws of gravity, quantum physics and thermodynamics collide. Originally thought to be so intellectually troubling that they simply could not exist, it is only in the past few years that we have begun to glimpse a new synthesis; a deep connection between gravity and quantum information theory that describes a holographic universe in which space and time emerge from a network of quantum bits, and wormholes span the void.
In this groundbreaking book, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw take you to the edge of our understanding of black holes; a scientific journey to the research frontier spanning a century of physics, from Einstein to Hawking and beyond, that ends with the startling conclusion that our world may operate like a giant quantum computer.
Brian Cox is Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester and The Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science. He has worked primarily in the study of diffractive scattering at the H1 experiment at DESY in Hamburg, the D0 experiment at Fermilab, Chicago, and is currently a member of the ATLAS Collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN. He was the co-spokesperson for the FP420 R&D project at CERN between 2004 and 2009.
He is active in the public and political promotion of science, and is known to the public for his documentary work on BBC television. He was a Royal Society University Research Fellow from 2005 – 2013, is a Fellow of The Institute of Physics, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and holds a British Association Honorary Fellowship. He received an OBE for services to science in 2010, the President’s Medal from the Institute of Physics in 2012 and the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize in 2012.
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