Some grant-funded undergraduate research on black holes makes its way to the iPad.
A scattering of inserted illustrations and video clips drawn from outside sources, along with a half-dozen demonstration projects and a set of multiple-choice quizzes—the latter supposedly with three levels of difficulty but sharing many of the same questions—aren’t enough to get this rudimentary look at black holes (or, nearly as often, “blackholes”) off the ground. Three “Lesson Plans” that are actually just differently detailed prose descriptions of how black holes form and are spotted include “An Introduction Into Relativity” and a video headed “Watch a supernovae here!” Other infelicities include a tappable map of our galaxy’s black holes with an irrelevant scale that apparently is meant to demonstrate the distance between our sun and the planet Mercury and a black hole’s “personal story” (“I was the Sid Vicious of my galaxy”) on faux book pages that scroll rather than turn. There are a couple of cool visuals in the form of a short video “journey” to a black hole and a simulation of what it might look like to fall into a black hole. Unfortunately, the layout is confusing, and it’s not clear what, exactly, readers might take away from the features.
Not a stellar effort. (iPad informational app. 8-11)