It is very desirable to have a book available that explores the relevant physics issues from a straight and sober scientific standpoint. Jim Al-Khalili’s Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines, appearing in a newly revised second edition, fulfils this need admirably.
The explanations are up to date and the author knows how to provide honest accounts of his exotic subject matter … A good virtue of the book is that it successfully distinguishes between truth and fiction. The presentation is quite thorough while being very much at a popular level, with almost no mathematics, some nice illustrations, and plenty of jokes. I was fascinated to learn that the entire area of wormholes, first developed by Kip Thorne, was initially prompted by Carl Sagan, who wanted to have some kind of plausible scientific basis for his novel Contact.
… a highly enjoyable and very interesting read. It can be strongly recommended to teenagers and to anyone who wants a non-technical account of some very topical areas of modern physics. Quite a lot of important details are included and discussed, giving an extremely good up-to-date overview of the subject matter. Even academic physicists who are not engaged in these areas can find here the kind of clear and straightforward explanations that may be helpful in answering students’ questions. These are topics where it is often hard to get information that is both reliable and understandable. Al-Khalili has once again done everyone a good turn in providing it.
―Peter J. Bussey, Contemporary Physics, June 2012
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.
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.
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.
―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.
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
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.