This is a fascinating and enjoyable popular science book on gravity and black holes. It offers an absorbing account on the history of research on the universe and gravity from Aristotle via Copernicus via Newton to Einstein. The author possesses high literary qualities and is celebrated relativist. The physics of black holes constitutes one of the most fascinating chapters in modern science. At the same time, there is a fanciful quality associated with this strange and beautiful entity. The black hole story is undoubtedly an adventure through physics, philosophy, history, fiction and fantasy. This book is an attempt to blend all these elements together.
"The bubbles were swirling all around me massaging my body ... As I luxuriated in this fantastic bubble bath, my eyes grew heavy and I drifted into a supremely blissful slumber." So begins Alfie's encounter with a remarkable and revelatory bathtub purchased from a mysterious neighbour named Al. Einstein's Enigma or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath tells the story of gravitation theory from the early historic origins to the latest developments in astrophysics, focusing on Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity and black-hole physics. Through engaging conversations and napkin-scribbled diagrams come tumbling the rudiments of relativity, spacetime and much of modern physics, narrated with high didactic and literary talent, and each embedded in casual lessons given by a worldly astrophysicist to his friend Alfie, a freelance organiser of proposals. Join the intellectual fun and exalt in the frothy ideas while vicariously taking relaxing baths in this magical bathtub. Prof. C.V. Vishveshwara is a renowned theoretical physicist, who participated in the golden age of black-hole physics, making pioneering contributions. Also an enthusiastic teacher and planetarium director, he has written several popular-level articles, scripts for planetarium shows and produced documentary movies on science. From Pre-Publication Reviews "Beautifully written and thoroughly entertaining, Vishveshwara's "Einstein's Enigma" provides an authoritative but distinctly original approach to an explanation of basics and subtleties of Einstein's general relativity and of the astrophysics of black holes. I warmly recommend it to beginner and expert alike." Prof. Roger Penrose, author of Shadows of the Mind and The Road to Reality "The main dish in this feast is a clear and sound presentation of the science underlying black holes from a distinguished scientist who has been contributing to their study since before they were named. Furthermore this science is presented in a sauce of philosophy, history, literature, gastronomy and imagination from an entertaining personality who needs several alter egos to show all the different ways he can think about his subject. Among the cartoons and drawings are the few lines of optional mathematics which are included for those who like that approach." Prof. Charles W. Misner, co-author of Gravitation by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler "The unusual format and whimsical style of "Einstein's Enigma" should not obscure the fact that this is a serious book, which aims to get across the essentials of the theory of general relativity and some related topics to a readership which is not assumed to be fluent in advanced mathematics. I believe the author, who has a long experience in presenting this kind of material to non-specialist audiences, has succeeded in the task he has set himself; the book will amply repay sustained and diligent reading by even a totally unmathematical reader." Prof. Anthony J. Leggett, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 2003.
The bubbles were swirling all around me, massaging my body. As I luxuriated in this fantastic bath, I gasped realizing that those bubbles carried with them miniature galaxies bringing the entire Cosmos into my bathtub... Alfie is back. And so are George and other characters from the author’s previous book Einstein’s Enigma or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath. While the present book, Universe Unveiled - The Cosmos in My Bubble Bath, is completely independent, its storyline can be considered a sequel to the previous one. The scientific content spanning ancient world models to the most recent mysteries of cosmology is presented in an entirely nontechnical and descriptive style through the discussions between Alfie, the enlightened learner, and George, professor of astrophysics. Fantasies, based on these discussions that cover the scientific facts, are created by the magical bubble baths taken by Alfie. Universe Unveiled blends accurate science with philosophy, drama, humour, and fantasy to create an exciting cosmic journey that reads like a novel and educates as it entertains. “Spurred by a series of mind-bending discoveries, Man’s millennial love affair with the stars has now reached fever pitch. No one writing today is better positioned to evoke the romance and beauty of these cosmic discoveries than Vishveshwara. A leading expert in Einstein’s relativity theory, he brings a lyrical voice and a poetic sensibility to this joyful task. Universe Unveiled, a unique literary creation, transports readers into believing they can actually hear the music of the spheres.” Professor Robert Fuller, Former President, Oberlin College (USA) Author of Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank