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Light in the Darkness: Black Holes, the Universe, and Us (Hardcover)

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A fascinating and thought-provoking investigation into the nature of black holes—a blend of the spiritual, the philosophical, and the scientific—from the premier German astrophysicist who made history in 2019, capturing the first one on film.

A Light in the Darkness is the story of one of the greatest astrological achievements of all time: the first photographic evidence of black holes in April 2019, and its significance for humanity, told by the scientist who accomplished it. A man of faith ordained in the Protestant tradition, Heino Falcke wrestles with the ways in which black holes force us to confront the boundary where human life ends and the celestial begins. He also ponders why black holes are difficult for most of us to understand—comparing it to our inability to envisage our own inevitable death.

Black holes develop in outer space when a massive star dies, and its matter is condensed. That extreme amount of mass contained in a small space generates a gigantic amount of gravitational force, allowing the black hole to suck up everything that comes near, including light. These astronomical wonders are the subject of our greatest scientific and philosophical theorizing—the journey to a black hole would be the journey to the end of time itself. In this way, Falcke regards them as the most exquisite representations of fear, death . . . and, surprisingly, the divine.

Empirical and profound, A Light in the Darkness is the first work to examine both the physical nature and spiritual meaning of black holes, those astrophysical mysteries Falcke, calls “the epitome of merciless destruction.”

About the Author

Heino Falcke is a German professor of radio astronomy and astroparticle physics at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He was a winner of the 2011 Spinoza Prize. His main field of study is black holes. He lives in Berlin.

Praise For…

“Heino Falcke has produced a personal memoir of his key role in a scientific discovery that required boldness, persistence, technical expertise and complicated logistics involving hundreds of experts spread around the world. You don't need to be a scientist to enjoy this clearly written book--and it's a welcome bonus that the author offers a broader prospective on the motives that drive us to seek understanding of the cosmos and our place in it.”
SIR MARTIN REES, Astronomer Royal

“A very personal account of the incredible journey Falcke and colleagues took to achieve the seemingly impossible task of taking an image of a black hole.”
BRIAN P. SCHMIDT, Nobel Prize–Winning Astronomer and Vice- Chancellor of the Australian National University
Product Details
ISBN: 9780063020054
ISBN-10: 006302005X
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 368
Language: English