The latest volume from the University of Arizona astronomy professor and science writer explores the astonishing science of black holes and their role in understanding the history and future of our universe.
Despite its tabloid title, Chris Impey’s Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes is a sober-minded, thoroughly researched and highly readable treatment of this multifaceted topic ... Mr. Impey, a veteran research astronomer and author, views black holes as a 'gift from the universe' ... The latter half of the book presents an array of thought-provoking topics, including gravity waves ('ripples in space-time'), primordial stars, the physics of the 2014 movie Interstellar and the feasibility of extracting energy from black holes.
Impey does an admirable job describing multiple facets of the often contradictory field of black hole astrophysics, including its history, science, and colorful human interactions ... Anyone who has read and enjoyed Kip Thorne's gold standard, Black Holes and Time Warps, will learn relatively little from Einstein's Monsters ... For the next generation of popular astronomy buffs, Einstein's Monsters is a reasonable entry point, covering a broad—if not particularly deep—range of theoretical and observational topics in black hole research. Particularly welcome, even for more experienced black hole aficionados, are the excellent chapters about the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory's recent discovery of gravitational waves and the Event Horizon Telescope's imminent discovery of black hole shadows ... Unfortunately, this prolific productivity is occasionally betrayed by factual errors in the text, especially in the more theoretical passages ... Certain passages, and even chapters, of Einstein's Monsters have a distinctly hap-hazard feel to them, throwing together a collection of topics without an obvious theme ...
Despite these few shortcomings, Einstein's Monsters will be sure to capture the imagination of most who pick it up, simultaneously convincing the reader that these monsters, while in fact quite certainly real, should be loved and not feared.
Readers do not need a deep understanding of astronomy to comprehend this accessible work ... Fans of popular science authors such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lisa Randall, and Mike Brown will enjoy this wonderful, accessible introduction to black holes.