The features editor at Scientific American traces the efforts of an elite scientific team who tested Einstein's theory of relativity during a historic mission to photograph a black hole, addressing key questions about time, space, and the nature of the universe.
The book’s focal character is Shep Doeleman, director of the EHT [Event Horizon Telescope] project, whose career arc forms the answer to the author’s question 'What sort of person makes it his life’s work to build an Earth-size telescope to take a picture of a black hole?' As Mr. Fletcher’s narrative reveals, Mr. Doeleman’s single-minded pursuit of Sagittarius A* makes Capt. Ahab look like a piker ... Einstein’s Shadow is an intimate portrayal of a 'Big Science' enterprise whose aspirational, at times contentious, practitioners share 'a restless energy, a tolerance for risk and discomfort, and a gnawing need for validation.'
In Einstein’s Shadow, journalist Seth Fletcher provides a twisting narrative ... Einstein’s Shadow gives a feel for what it takes to image a black hole, thanks to Fletcher’s accounts of researchers scrounging for funding, pleading for telescope time and wishing for good weather ... Telescope upgrades and malfunctions get detailed explanations in the book. Astronomy buffs will probably enjoy those passages, but others may find them a bit dull. That feeling, however, may put readers in astronomers’ shoes—science sometimes can be slow.
This engaging narrative ... [gives readers] a front-row seat to the action ... The explanations of astrophysics topics are clear, and Doeleman’s challenge is a compelling one: he is in a race to secure funding, get international cooperation from observatories around the world, and beat the clock, as there is only a small window (a few weeks in spring) when everything is aligned for the perfect shot—and that’s only if the weather cooperates at all of the sites. Captivating and informative, this text will appeal to those with an interest in the topic and to general readers alike.