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Empire of the Stars: Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes

Biography / MemoirOut of Print

By: A Miller

416 pages, 8 col illus

Little, Brown and Company

Hardback | Mar 2005 | #153939 | ISBN: 0316725552
Out of Print Details

About this book

In August 1930, on a boat trip from Bombay to England, the young Indian scientist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar calculated that certain stars could end their lives by collapsing indefinitely to a point - to nowhere. This idea brought Chandra into conflict with Sir Arthur Eddington, the grand old man of British astrophysics, who publicly ridiculed the idea. Empire of the Stars will tease out the major implications of this infamous event, setting it against the backdrop of the turbulent growth of astrophysics and providing a unique window on our unfolding view of the cosmos. In its clash of personalities, epochs and cultures, the story reveals the deep-seated psychological and philosophical prejudices at work in the acceptance and rejection of new scientific ideas. Beautifully written, artfully constructed, Empire of the Stars is a serious book but one which also deals with classic themes - a lone man struggling against the establishment, intellectual rivalry and the highs and lows of great individuals set against the broader sweep of history.

'Arthur I. Miller, for so long the doyen of historians of modern science, has surpassed himself with this brilliant, elegantly written book. It is a profound story of friendship, disappointment and hope' David Bodanis, author of ELECTRIC UNIVERSE *'Arthur I. Miller's EMPIRE OF THE STARS dramatically succeeds in conveying the clash of scientific ideas and the personal conflicts underlying Chandrasekhar's remarkable anticipation of the existence of black holes in our universe. This is a story that needed to be told' Roger Penrose *'A wonderful read...provides insight into the personalities of some of the great scientific minds of the last century...a must read for anyone with even a passing interest in modern astronomy and astrophysics' Dr. Martin C. Weisskopf, Fellow of the American Physical Society 'Miller is an excellent historian' NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW.

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Arthur I. Miller is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at University College London. He is an experienced broadcaster, lecturer and biographer. His last book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

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