Sumit Paul-Choudhury

Hearts of Darkness

Gravity's Engines: The Other Side of Black Holes

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 252pp £20 order from our bookshop

The existence of black holes is one of the universe’s most perplexing truths. The mathematical models which describe these enigmatic celestial omnivores suggest that they are naturally, almost inevitably produced when very large stars collapse at the end of their active lives. But the models also suggest that they are places where space and time become grossly distorted, so that the heart of every hole is a singularity – the physical realisation of what astrobiologist Caleb Scharf describes in Gravity’s Engines as ‘a point at which an algebraic expression provides no meaningful answer, like calculating the value of one divided by zero’.

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