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Black Holes : The key to understanding the universe - Professor Brian Cox

Black Holes

The key to understanding the universe

By: Professor Brian Cox, Professor Jeff Forshaw (As told to)

Paperback | 25 October 2022

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A brilliant exploration of the most exotic objects in the universe by Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw.

At the heart of the Milky Way, there is a distortion in the fabric of the Universe. Caused by something 4 million times bigger than our Sun, it is where space and time are so warped that everything within 12 million kilometres is trapped, even light. This region of no return is called the event horizon, and inside it lies the end of time as we know it. We have named it Sagittarius A* and it is a supermassive black hole.

Black holes lie where the most massive stars used to shine and at the edge of our current understanding. They are the inevitable creations of gravity, when too much matter collapses into not enough space. And yet, although the laws of nature predict them, they fail to fully describe them. The wonderful thing about the ever-increasing number of black holes we have discovered dotted across the Universe is that each one is an experiment conducted by nature that we cannot explain. This means we are missing something deep.

Black holes are places in space and time where the laws of gravity, quantum physics and thermodynamics collide. Originally thought to be so intellectually troubling that they simply could not exist, it is only in the past few years that we have begun to glimpse a new synthesis; a deep connection between gravity and quantum information theory that describes a holographic universe in which space and time emerge from a network of quantum bits, and wormholes span the void.

In this groundbreaking book, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw take you to the edge of our understanding of black holes; a scientific journey to the research frontier spanning a century of physics, from Einstein to Hawking and beyond, which ends with the startling conclusion that our world may operate like a giant quantum computer.

About the Author

Professor Brian Cox CBE FRS is Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester and the Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science. He has worked on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva, the HERA accelerator at DESY, Hamburg and the Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab, Chicago. Cox has written and presented numerous TV series for the BBC, including Wonders of the Solar System, Wonders of the Universe, Wonders of Life, Human Universe, Forces of Nature, The Planets and The Universe. He is also the co-presenter of The Infinite Monkey Cage radio series and podcast. Cox has written numerous bestselling science titles with Jeff Forshaw.

For many years, he has lectured the introductory Relativity and Quantum Mechanics course at the University of Manchester, with Jeff Forshaw.

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