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Ripples in Spacetime

Einstein, Gravitational Waves, and the Future of Astronomy
Narrated by: Joel Richards
Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Astronomy
4.5 out of 5 stars (64 ratings)

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Summary

Ripples in Spacetime is an engaging account of the international effort to complete Einstein's project, capture his elusive ripples, and launch an era of gravitational-wave astronomy that promises to explain, more vividly than ever before, our universe's structure and origin.

The quest for gravitational waves involved years of risky research and many personal and professional struggles that threatened to derail one of the world's largest scientific endeavors. Govert Schilling takes listeners to sites where these stories unfolded - including Japan's KAGRA detector, Chile's Atacama Cosmology Telescope, the South Pole's BICEP detectors, and the United States' LIGO labs. He explains the seeming impossibility of developing technologies sensitive enough to detect waves from two colliding black holes in the very distant universe, and describes the astounding precision of the LIGO detectors. Along the way, Schilling clarifies concepts such as general relativity, neutron stars, and the big bang using language that listeners with little scientific background can grasp.

©2017 Govert Schilling (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

"An exciting history of the second great breakthrough of 21st-century physics." ( Kirkus, starred review)

What members say

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Outstanding

Really enjoyed this book. Some amazing content. Pitched just right for a moderately knowledgeable amateur to be able to follow the main thrust of the arguments.

5 people found this helpful

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New information instead of another history lesson

Great stuff and learnt lots of new things instead of the usual history lessons that are regularly told in these kind of books.

5 people found this helpful

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Well balanced theoretical and practical physics

If you have even a passing interest in understanding the nature of reality, this is the book for you. The explanation of the practical side of how LIGO and the other gravitational wave detectors work off the back of the theory is excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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great book

exciting history and contemporary research of gravitational waves and the universe. highly recommended. told as a thriller

2 people found this helpful

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Very clear and easy to understand

It's not a subject that is easy to understand but Shilling does a great job. Very clear and easy to understand.

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Ripples

Loved this book ! Didn’t wander off the path , an up to date review on where we are regarding gravity waves .

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Great content shame about the American narrator.

As above, great content told in an engaging way. Sadly the narrator spoiled it somewhat by his confusing and incorrect use of decimal language for example instead of saying one point two three four five six he would say one and twenty three thousand four hundred and fifty six hundred thousandths which spoils the flow as I translated his American into correct mathematical language. Sounds petty but it really grates. Very sad as the author did an amazing job of a difficult subject matter. If you can deal with the jarring numeric language its a great book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Quidne IT
  • 11-10-17

Absolutely Loved it.

Absolutely loved this book. Easy to follow, even if you are not an Astro Physicist. Finally got a good understanding of the expansion of spacetime, how to understand the Big Bang & Gravitational Waves.

Great details on the engineering of LIGO.
And off course the first detection of Gravitational Waves in late 2015.

13 people found this helpful

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  • kristen
  • 20-11-17

Enjoyable journey through space-time!

The author does an outstanding job of relating the history of the search for Einstein Waves in a way that the layman can easily follow.

The science is on point but necessarily devoid of complexity, making this a wonderful resource for non-physicists.

I enjoyed it from start to finish.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Marc
  • 24-09-18

Not so much about Ripples, but about measuring

Since this is the second time I review this title - I guess Audible deleted my previous review - I am summing up. I just don't have the will to give all the arguments over again that I gave the first time.
This book is undecided between telling a personal journey with anecdotes, vast amounts of name-dropping and place-mentioning that don't help with understanding the topic at all. and giving an insight into how "measuring quantum physics" developed over a century. While most of the historical sidenotes are interesting by themselves, they don't "help" that much with understanding what "ripples in spacetime ARE".
If you have a more or less "solid" background in what the current state of affairs in physics are, most of this book's content will be well known to you. If you don't you may find yourself slightly lost at times. So it *would* have been the subjective, personal experiences the author has "glimpse through" that could have made this a fascinating listen, but those incidents are rare, unconnected and unmotivated.

Narration is good, but very slow. I listened at 1.25 speed and that was fine.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-12-19

Remarkable price of science

This book is unquestionably one of the most remarkable books I have encountered covering varies topics an historical idea of the development of space time ripples and LIGO development.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Razz
  • 18-08-19

Not what I expected

I listen to a couple of hours, but had expected it to be more in depth about space ripples. The first hours of the book did not make me more knowledgeable about the topic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Trent
  • 02-01-19

easy to follow with no formal Physics education

This was an easy read with my lack of formal college classes on subject matter. I have been interested in astrophysics for years without the ability to take classes.
This book puts the subject into easy to understand relations all the while maintaining the fact we are talking about G waves. Sometimes the science could not be taken any lower, so the use of analogies was needed. These were well thought out and fun to think about.

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  • Kristen Tahirak
  • 07-09-18

Not horrible

Some interesting nuggets of information if you’re willing to wade through the superfluous, repetitive and watered-down cosmology background, as well as the author’s perplexingly continual and somewhat maddening practice of asking himself a question and then answering it. Why does he repeatedly do this? I know not.

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  • John
  • 06-08-18

Good overview

Some historical science (something that is overplayed, less history more science please), overall good overview of the science of current and future gravitational wave detectors.

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  • Dinesh Kulkarni
  • 23-07-18

Truly enriching!!

One of the best books on the subject of cosmology!! its makes the concepts very simple for understanding. story telling makes it highly engaging.

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  • Zama
  • 21-07-18

basic info repeated

I ended up liking this book but the best gravity wave book hasn't been written yet.

1 person found this helpful