Vishveshwara, C. V. Einstein’s enigma or black holes in my bathtub.


The popularization of technical science is no easy task. Many attempt it, but few succeed with significant success. The book under review is among the more successful presentations for the general educated reader of one of the most sophisticated, important, and beautiful theories of 20th century physics: Einstein’s General Relativity and its most fascinating corollary: the existence of black holes. Many have heard of black holes but few have any inkling of its theoretical basis. In this highly original-in-format work, physicist Vishveshwara unravels the intricacies of the subject in an engagingly interesting mode, as conversations in a pub between a theoretical physicist and a non-initiate friend. As the story evolves from the purchase of a magical bathtub to the birth of a star in Cygnus, the reader gets snippets of science history with sumptuous references to literature and poetry (including some of the author’s own compositions). All this comes in an informal style and with humor, but the matters discussed are always weighty. There are phrases in German and Italian too, as if to reflect that internationalism of science, and a number of neat and relevant drawings to clarify concepts. The author reminds us of scientists of an earlier era who were widely read in languages and literature as much as in their own technical field.  This book must inform and entertain every science-educated reader, and must interest physicists in the field no less.

January 2007

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About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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