Quirks & Quarks

Black Holes - From Hate to Love

Science writer Marcia Bartusiak's new book explores the history of black holes in astrophysics from early, and unpopular, speculation to later observation and confirmation.

A history of how physics came to terms with Black Holes

Black hole computer generated image from the movie Interstellar (Oliver James, Eugénie von Tunzelmann, Paul Franklin and Kip S Thorne, cc-by-3.0)
Black holes are the coolest thing in the universe.  They can be the most massive things in space, they have unlimited appetites, and they drive galaxies and quasars.  And the time and space distorting effects of their extreme gravitational fields are mind-bending.
But according to Marcia Bartusiak, Professor of the Practice of Science Writing at MIT, black holes initially had a rocky ride in the physics community.

In her new book, Black Hole - How an Idea Abandoned by Newtonians, Hated by Einstein and Gambled on by Hawking Became Loved, she tracks how researchers first resisted the theory that predicted black holes, tried desperately to deny their possibility, but then finally grew fascinated with them. 

Related Links

- Marcia Bartusiak
Black Hole - Yale University Press