Series: Very Short Introduction Series (VSI) Volume: 453
100 pages, 26 b/w illustrations
Black holes are a constant source of fascination to many due to their mysterious nature. Black Holes: A Very Short Introduction, addresses a variety of questions, including what a black hole actually is, how they are characterized and discovered, and what would happen if you came too close to one.
Professor Katherine Blundell looks at the seemingly paradoxical, mysterious, and intriguing phenomena of black holes. Outlining their nature and characteristics, both those resulting from the spectacular collapse of heavy stars, and the giant black holes found at the centres of galaxies, she separates scientific fact from science fiction, and demonstrates the important role they play in the cosmos.
"whereas black holes are notorious for not letting go of their contents, Blundell's book makes it as easy to extract information without ever making the subject simplistic."
– Andy Sawyers, Astronomy Now
"Black holes have to be amongst the most fascinating phenomena of astronomy/cosmology and as such make a perfect topic for a new addition to OUP's vast collection of pocket guides, the 'very short introduction' books. I read my copy on a couple of 45 minute train journeys – it's long enough to give a good grounding in the basics of black holes, without being heavy or over-technical."
– Brain Clegg, Popular Science
1: What is a black hole?
2: Characterising black holes
3: Black holes discovered
4: Falling into a black hole...
5: How are black holes formed?
6: Growing bigger and smaller
7: Black holes don't just suck
References and further reading
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Katherine Blundell is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford. Her research interests include extreme energy phenomena in the Universe, including black holes, astrophysical jets, relativistic plasmas, and active galaxies. She has published extensively on these matters with over 150 papers in academic publications and is frequently invited to speak at conferences and different institutes around the world. She has founded the Global Jet Watch project to make round-the-clock observations of how matter behaves in the vicinity of black holes, with observatories established in schools in South Africa, Chile, India and Australia.