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The Resource Black hole blues : and other songs from outer space, Janna Levin

Black hole blues : and other songs from outer space, Janna Levin

Label
Black hole blues : and other songs from outer space
Title
Black hole blues
Title remainder
and other songs from outer space
Statement of responsibility
Janna Levin
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
"In 1916, Einstein became the first to predict the existence of gravitational waves: sounds without a material medium generated by the unfathomably energy-producing collision of black holes. Now, Janna Levin, herself an astrophysicist, recounts the story of the search, over the last fifty years, for these elusive waves--a quest that has culminated in the creation of the most expensive project ever funded by the National Science Foundation ($1 billion-plus). She makes clear the how the waves are created in the cosmic collision of black holes, and why the waves can never be detected by telescope. And, most revealingly, she delves into the lives and fates of the four scientists currently engaged in--and obsessed with--discerning this soundtrack of the universe's history. Levin's account of the surprises, disappointments, achievements, and risks of this unfolding story provides us with a uniquely compelling and intimate portrait of the people and processes of modern science"--
Writing style
Review
  • Following the detection of gravitational waves 100 years after Einstein predicted their existence, Levin, a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College, goes behind the scenes for a chatty insider's look at the brilliant, eccentric people who continued the search for the elusive phenomenon. Much of the book is told through conversations with the major players involved with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), particularly Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss, along with an earlier researcher's taped interview with Ron Drever. The scientists' personalities are evident in their stories, which are interlaced with clear explanations of the science of black holes. As is often the case in cutting-edge science, clashes were inevitable. There was professional jealousy; there was selfless collaboration. And all the while, there was the possibility that it was a fool's dream. Levin delves into the backgrounds of numerous researchers, painting a sad picture of Joe Weber, a pioneer in the field who erred in his calculations and was left behind. Few of the interviewees mince words, offering unvarnished perspectives on the conflicts and obstacles as well as the camaraderie of those involved. Levin tells the story of this grand quest with the immediacy of a thriller and makes the fixations and foibles of its participants understandable. (Apr.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 03/14/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 11, p)
  • In this engaging narrative, Levin (physics & astronomy, Barnard Coll.; A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines) briefly summarizes the 100-year search for gravitational waves. Since Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity predicted in 1916 that the collision of black holes could be detected by the energy produced, scientists have experimented with ways to capture energy that can only be heard. Levin tells the story of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the largest endeavor ever undertaken by the National Science Foundation, founded in the 1980s to detect and study gravitational waves. Interviews with students and colleagues reveal the decades of accomplishments and setbacks of an international cast of scientists and researchers. --Catherine Lantz (Reviewed 04/15/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 7, p111)
  • /* Starred Review */ On the 100th anniversary of Einstein's prediction that gravitational waves distort space-time, an acclaimed astrophysicist provides a thrilling insider's look at the extraordinary scientific team that devised and built the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, which conducted the first experiment to ever observe gravitational waves. In Einstein's 1916 paper describing the general theory of relativity, he predicted that gravitational waves—such as those created when two black holes collide—would warp the fabric of space-time in predictable patterns. A century later, scientists at LIGO empirically verified his claim by detecting waves that have been "ringing" through space since the moment of collision over 1 billion years ago. Levin's (Physics and Astronomy/Barnard Coll.; A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, 2006, etc.) authoritative account of the brilliant physicists and engineers who envisioned such a remarkable experiment places readers right in the middle of the action, tracing LIGO's evolution from an inspired idea in the 1970s to the most expensive project in the history of the National Science Foundation. She perfectly captures the fast-paced, forward-thinking, bureaucracy-averse atmosphere of a large-scale scientific experiment, but she also lays bare the decades of interpersonal strife that, at times, threatened to undermine the experiment's success. The author's portrait of these pioneers is especially engaging for her ability to contextualize humanness not just within the scope of the physical experiment, but in the face of such dizzying stakes—surely a Nobel is on the line and has been since the beginning. Levin herself is also wondrously present in this narrative, nimbly guiding readers through scientific jargon and reminding us of the enormous profundity of modern physics. "A vestige of the noise of the [black hole] crash," she writes, "has been on its way to us since early multicelled organisms fossilized in supercontinents on a still dynamic Earth." A superb alignment of author and subject: Levin is among the best contemporary science writers, and LIGO is arguably the most compelling experiment on the planet.(Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2016)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10492382
Cataloging source
OU/DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Levin, Janna
Dewey number
539.7/54
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Gravitational waves
  • Black holes (Astronomy)
  • Black holes (Astronomy)
  • Gravitational waves
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
and other songs from outer space
Label
Black hole blues : and other songs from outer space, Janna Levin
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1578773
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
241 pages
Isbn
9780307958198
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2015046692
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780307958198
  • (OCoLC)932115990
Label
Black hole blues : and other songs from outer space, Janna Levin
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1578773
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
241 pages
Isbn
9780307958198
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2015046692
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780307958198
  • (OCoLC)932115990

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