Author: Arthur I. Miller

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Book:Empire of the Stars

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

Arthur I. Miller

In August 1930, on a voyage from Madras to London, a young Indian looked up at the stars and contemplated their fate. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar—Chandra, as he was called—calculated that certain stars would suffer a strange and violent death, collapsing to virtually nothing. This extraordinary claim, the first mathematical description of black holes, brought Chandra into direct conflict with Sir Arthur Eddington, one of the greatest astrophysicists of the day. Eddington ridiculed the young man’s idea at a meeting of the Royal Astronomy Society in 1935, sending Chandra into an intellectual and emotional tailspin—and hindering the progress of astrophysics for nearly forty years.

Empire of the Stars is the dramatic story of this intellectual debate and its implications for twentieth-century science. Arthur I. Miller traces the idea of black holes from early notions of “dark stars” to the modern concepts of wormholes,…[more]

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