Science writer and wishful star-trekker Adrian Berry wants to bury the myth that the speed of light, 670 million miles per...

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THE IRON SUN: The Feasibility of Instantaneous Travel in Space

Science writer and wishful star-trekker Adrian Berry wants to bury the myth that the speed of light, 670 million miles per hour, is the impassable barrier Einstein's special relativity theory says it is. The way out is to regard Einstein's theory as applicable here and there, but not everywhere. Not in black holes--those fearsome, gravitationally collapsed stars which capture the very light that would try to shine forth from them (hence making them black). If we think of black holes as rotating (granted we believe in black holes), if we can then logically construct a disk-shaped model for them, we can find an aperture which an enterprising astronaut can exploit. A little finesse at synchronization and the spaceship is in. . . and instantaneously out again, transmitted to another part of the universe. No more light years of travel (a tedious 4(apple) earth years traveling at the speed of light to even the nearest star); no more time-slowing and space-shrinking that the special relativity equations impose. Just instantaneous travel across unfathomable space. Of course there may be problems. Super X-rays, sabotage (a nuclear bomb exploded in a black hole would wreak havoc)--not to mention psychological distress. Suffice it to say that as long as black holes are conjurable, equations derivable, parameters constructible, so imagination is fire-able. Berry's elaborations on what to do and how to do it make for exhilarating reading. And just think of the whole new vocabulary--""Kruskal diagrams,"" ""event horizons,"" ""magnetic scoops""--as well as ye olde ""time machine"" you can judiciously drop in conversation at the next cocktail party.

Pub Date: July 11, 1977

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1977