- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (5 Nov. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316016411
- ISBN-13: 978-0316016414
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.1 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics Paperback – 5 Nov 2009
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'Entertaining...both lucid and enjoyable....Like the best teachers, Susskind makes it fun to learn. With a deft use of analogy and a flair for language, he tames the most ferocious concepts....He has come up with the best visual metaphor for the multidimensinality of string theory that I've yet come across, one that alone is worth the price of the book' - Los Angeles Times
'Susskind is very down to earth, an easy-going and entertaining guide through the most exciting frontiers of theoretical physics' - New Scientist
The father of string theory recounts his paradigm-shifting debate with Stephen Hawking over the nature of black holes.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft begged to differ. Loss of information would violate the basic time-reversibility of QM: Hawking's ideas would lead to universe-destroying phenomena (p. 23). Somehow, the information locked the wrong side of the event horizon must leak out via Hawking radiation. But how?
The resolution of this dilemma took many years of conjectures and refutations. Susskind takes us on a tour of entropy, holographic principles and physics at the Planck scale. And the adversarial plot keeps the reader turning the pages.
I am normally very dubious about popularisations. They proceed by raking up endless analogies which never quite fit together, so that by the end of the book, your mind is like that jig-saw puzzle you bought and could never fit together.
This book was never going to be the exception - the mathematics of quantum field theory, general relativity and string theory are just too arcane for popular culture concepts to cohere around. However, there are wonderful insights all the way through this book and we do end up learning something about the large scale map of the territory. Apparently even the experts find it hard to get the whole thing into one focus.
Leonard Susskind admires Stephen Hawking's ground breaking work on Black Holes but is surprised when Hawking says that information is lost. He feels instinctively it can't be right even though most physicists seem to agree with Hawking. So Susskind starts to search for the truth. Many other scientists become involved and its a fascinating story.
I must say being a layman whose interested in science this is the most accessible book I've read on the subject. I also bought the audio cds to help me understand the science better and they were first rate.
Although I would thoroughly recommend this book I do have some quibbles, principally about the narrative style. The grandiose title catches the eye but presenting this conflict of ideas as a 'war', scientists as 'foot soldiers' and so on becomes irritating. For Susskind, however, this seems almost to have been a conflict of good versus evil. He and his fellow free-thinking scientists (interestingly, almost exclusively from the 'new world') are painted as heroic figures battling against the reactionary (old world) forces of Svengali-like Stephen Hawking. Although Susskind acknowledges Hawking's profound influence on his work, his portrayal of him is almost unremittingly unflattering. This depiction is at odds with Hawking's clearly pivotal role in the debate. Just how his work managed to keep the argument live for so many years is unexplained - a major hole in the story as told.
The black hole war lasted many years and author Susskind tells the tale. On the way we learn much about physics in general and about the physics of black holes in particular. The story encompasses Einstein's relativity, quantum physics, the holographic principle, string theory and many other areas of modern physics.
The author writes well and it's an entertaining read; possibly one of my favourite popular science books. The physics is explained well, mainly without resorting to mathematics (although there are one or two equations in the book), but be prepared for some mind-bending concepts.
I really enjoyed this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read if you are interested in this kind of thing. This gives a personal account of what was happening in the world of physics in the 70's and after as well as explaining the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mike PP
Excellent introduction to whole subject of cosmology & quantum mechanics.Published 10 months ago by Graham J. Orme-Bannister
A real eye opener. Some of the concepts were unbelievable but were presented in an understandable and fun way.
I'm looking forward to his next book.
This is the opposite of the Quantum Universe - it's clear and understandable with no loss of complexity - Susskind has a talent for writing & he manages to avoid the maths (which I... Read morePublished 14 months ago by B. J. Lowe
I enjoyed this book but have to admit that it might not be everyone's taste as It deals with concepts which are sometimes difficult to grasp.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
good book , very interesting , but gets a little hard to follow nearer the end , quite nice writing tho some very interesting concepts if not a little nuts !Published 21 months ago by steve
Particularly useful for its discussion of black hole entropy and the concept of holography. Aimed at a popular market, it avoids equations, but without simplifying concepts... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Dr Michael C Thorne
Another very well written book by Susskind that can be appreciated by non experts.Published on 15 Jan. 2015 by John
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