Cover: Gravity’s Century: From Einstein’s Eclipse to Images of Black Holes, from Harvard University PressCover: Gravity’s Century in HARDCOVER

Gravity’s Century

From Einstein’s Eclipse to Images of Black Holes

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Product Details


$26.95 • £21.95 • €24.50

ISBN 9780674974968

Publication Date: 05/06/2019


192 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

10 photos, 11 illus.


[Cowen’s] brisk, engaging narrative leads us from Einstein’s famous ‘thought experiments’ through theorists’ many (so far unsuccessful) attempts to marry quantum mechanics with general relativity, and up to recent (more successful) efforts to observe gravitational waves and black holes.The Wall Street Journal

Gravity’s Century is remarkably easy to follow and read. If you are a keen beginner, or just interested in some of the people behind the science, read this book.—Laura Nuttall, BBC Sky at Night

In a conversational style, the veteran physics writer chronicles the field’s greatest hits in the century since a solar eclipse proved Einstein was right.—Gemma Tarlach, Discover

A breezy and enjoyable read, a welcome addition to a crowded shelf of books on these topics.—Peter Coles, Nature

There are some extremely clever ways to visualize how gravitation works in a Universe governed by General Relativity under a wide variety of physical conditions, and Cowen explores many of the classic ways you’ve probably seen before along with some incredibly creative ones that were new, even to me.—Ethan Siegel, Forbes

This is as good a short introduction to Einstein’s thought as one could wish for.—Simon Ings, The Spectator

Accessible and compact… A great introduction to Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the century of research that has been testing his ideas since.—Leon Vlieger, The Inquisitive Biologist

[An] enjoyable read… Cowen does a good job of breaking down ideas so that they are easily understood… I would recommend Gravity’s Century to anyone with an interest in astrophysics in general, or in gravitation in particular.—Earl Patrick Bellinger, Metascience

A concise chronicle of the dramatic expansion of our knowledge of the universe, from the eclipse expeditions of 1919 to test Einstein’s theory of relativity, to the Event Horizon Telescope’s black hole images of 2019.—Mike Perricone, Symmetry

Clear and readily intelligible to the non-specialist.—Johannes E. Riutta, The Well-Read Naturalist

A brief, accessible account of the 1919 eclipse and subsequent advances in cosmology, touching upon dark matter, dark energy, quantum gravity, and black holes. It’s a very quick and readable introduction to some of the exotic findings that came in Einstein’s wake.Bookforum

Its informal, readable style hides an enormous amount of physics and a fair share of history.Choice

This gracefully written history of 20th-century gravity research from science writer Cowen shines a light on a key aspect of modern physics… Filled with vivid descriptions of cutting-edge work and the scientists behind it, Cowen’s book is fascinating, both a learning experience and a pleasure to read.Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Cowen is a gifted science writer and storyteller, and the story is amazing!—John C. Mather, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics

A clear and compelling narrative about the development of our understanding of gravity and the universe, powered by Einstein and his cohorts. Cowen weaves together the historical and personal events leading to this revolution and brings us up to date with the ideas and speculations that will likely forge an even newer and more radical understanding of the nature of the world.—George F. Smoot, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics

Einstein’s general theory of relativity radically changed our notions of space, gravity, and time. Gravity’s Century takes us from Einstein’s struggle to develop his theory up to the modern day—when the detection of gravitational waves from black holes has confirmed general relativity’s most audacious claims, even as scientists are still trying to reconcile the theory with the other great idea of twentieth-century physics, quantum mechanics.—David Spergel, Princeton University

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