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Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines, Second Edition


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Table of Contents

The 4th Dimension
To do with shapes
What is space?
2Dworld and 2D'ers
Curved space
Is there really a 4th dimension?

Matters of Some Gravity
Apples and moons
Einstein's gravity
Free fall
Rubber space
Twinkle, twinkle
Cooking the elements
Champagne supernova in the sky

The Universe
The night sky
How big is the Universe?
The expanding Universe
Hubble, bubble ...
Space is stretching
Did the Big Bang really happen?
The edge of space
A closed universe
An open universe
What shape is the Universe then?
Invisible matter
1998: a big year in cosmology
Is the Universe infinite?
Why is it dark at night?
Before the Big Bang?

Black Holes
More to light than meets the eye!
Invisible stars
Beyond the horizon
A hole that can never be filled
Spinning black holes
Falling into a black hole
To see a black hole
Not so black after all
White holes

Times Are Changing
What is time?
Who invented time?
The first moment
Does time flow?
Something called entropy
Arrows of time
Stephen Hawking gets it wrong
A possible solution

Einstein's Time
What is so special about special relativity?
The two faces of light
Thought experiments and brain-teasers
Slowing down time
Shrinking distances
Light-the world speed record
When time runs backwards
Little green men
Fast-forward to the future
Spacetime-the future is out there
Gravitational times

Time Travel Paradoxes
The Terminator paradox
Trying to save the dinosaurs
Mona Lisa's sister
No way out?
Parallel universes
Where are all the time travelers?

A bridge to another world
Alice through the looking glass
When science fact met science fiction
Wormholes-keeping the star gate open
Visiting a parallel universe

How to Build a Time Machine
Time loops
The Tipler time machine
Cosmic string time machines
A recipe for a wormhole time machine
Insurmountable problems?

What Do We Know?
The mother of all theories
The end of theoretical physics
What might new experiments tell us?
Astronomy versus astrology
The fascination of science

Suggestions for Further Reading


About the Author

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.


Praise for the First Edition: ! the reader will enjoy the clear and non-technical explanations strewn with historical anecdotes about the heroes of this quest for the understanding of what is space and time ! Al-Khalili takes us by the hand to a fascinating world from which you may not return! -Jean-Phillipe Uzan, University of Paris, France This is precisely the kind of book that I like reading. The pace of the journey as the ever more complex theories unfold is well handled. Jim Al-Khalili uses layman's language to his credit. --Vernon Nash I know of no other book on this subject that is so accessible to the reader for whom relativity and quantum mechanics are new. The author's explanations are unusually clear, and he writes at a simple level without being patronizing or slow-paced. The tone is consistently good-humored, almost playful at times. --Publisher Tom Quinn Jim Al-Khalili has produced, with earnest intentions, a concise, well written book ! this is on the whole a pleasant, readable book. --Physics World If you want to know about time, this is the book. I don't know of another nearly as good and I've read a lot of them. But more than telling you about time, what makes this book exceptional is that it conveys a wonderful sense of the beautiful excitement of scientific ideas. --David Malone, Producer of BBC's Documentary "The Flow of Time" Jim Al-Khalili has written a splendid popular book ! The book would be an excellent resource for school teachers in both mathematics and physics to enrich their teaching, and to enthuse their students. ! Many physicists will enjoy this easy-to-read book ! I highly recommend it for teenagers with an interest in science and for non-scientists interested in the deep questions of our universe. --Professor David G. Blair, University of Western Australia, The Physicist Jim Al-Khalili's [book] is another of the many books about the wonders of the Universe and what we know about them. But with a difference, though. Enthusiasm to make everything understandable to the most untutored comes from every page. It's successful, it's humorous, and it's up to date. A great crib for furtive, refreshing use. --New Scientist This is a popular book on general relativity and cosmology including black hole physics. Also, the history of these subjects is described, and a valuable list of references, including both popular and advanced levels, is attached ! the book contains several nice figures to help understanding properties of relativity theory. --Hans-Jurgen Schmidt, Zentralblatt Math Throughout the book, everything is surprisingly clear and the readers are left with lots of room for her/his imagination to follow their own thoughts, though not losing track of the trend ! It is actually fun reading this book ! This book gives a good impression of how special and general relativity affect our environment. --Karsten Markus, Department of Astronomy, UCT

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