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  • A Brief History of Black Holes

  • And Why Nearly Everything You Know About Them Is Wrong
  • By: Dr Becky Smethurst
  • Narrated by: Dr. Becky Smethurst
  • Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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A Brief History of Black Holes

By: Dr Becky Smethurst
Narrated by: Dr. Becky Smethurst
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Summary

Right now, you are orbiting a black hole.

The Earth goes around the Sun, and the Sun goes around the centre of the Milky Way: a supermassive black hole—the strangest and most misunderstood phenomenon in the galaxy.

In A Brief History of Black Holes University of Oxford astrophysicist, Dr Becky Smethurst charts the scientific breakthroughs that have uncovered the weird and wonderful world of black holes, from the collapse of massive stars to the iconic first photographs of a black hole in 2019.

A cosmic tale of discovery, you’ll learn: why black holes aren’t really ‘black’, that you never ever want to be ‘spaghettified’, how black holes are more like sofa cushions than hoovers, and why beyond the event horizon, the future is a direction in space rather than in time. Full of wit and learning, this captivating book explains why black holes contain the secrets to the most profound questions about our universe.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Dr Rebecca Smethurst (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic reviews

"A jaunt through space history...with charming wit and many pop-culture references." (BBC Sky At Night Magazine)

What listeners say about A Brief History of Black Holes

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Great introduction to black holes

Got this on release. On a long flight so I listened to it (all 7 hours) from beginning to end and was sufficiently gripped I didn't fall asleep on the plane. Dr Becky has made a name for herself as a science YouTuber and her comfort with presentation comes through in her performance.

And nice chapter names....very amusing

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Better than Prof Cox attempt

a far insightful and interesting explanation compared to Prof Cox recent addition. if you can read both.

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Current Knowledge of Blackholes

This is an excellent overview of the history of understanding of blackholes and where our knowledge currently sits. Dr Becky Smethurst has written a wonderful book and her enthusiasm shines through both in the words and in her narration. I thoroughly enjoyed this, learned a lot and will certainly be listening to it again.

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Excellent book

Really informative and very clearly read out. I learned so much about black holes. Will need to listen to it a few times to digest all the info though.

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Excellent

This is the ultimate companion to the Super Massive Black Hole drinking game. Enjoy

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Fantastic read (or listen)

I found this book great to listen to as I expected it would be. I am a fan of Dr. Becky‘s YouTube channel and this book did not disappoint. Having read a couple of books about black holes previously, my first being back when I was about 14 in 1976, I still found this to be enlightening. It’s obvious from the writing that Dr. Becky really loves her work and loves this subject in particular. As black holes fascinates me as well she was the perfect author and perfect narrator for the audio version as her enthusiasm is infectious

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Very easy to listen to

I enjoyed listening to Dr Becky’s book. Explaining some difficult science so even I could understand and remain interested. It wasn’t just the content but her style as well. A serious study may require the paper version though, but that’s not to be unexpected considering the subject matter.

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Wow!

The enthusiasm of the subject matter from the author is infectious. Brilliantly written for those of us who need a bit of hand holding with Physics. Highly recommended.

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amazing

a very good book that makes some complicated science easy to absorb. I loved it

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An absolutely magestic work

This book is incredibly fun and engaging, purely because Dr. Becky goes on tangents and makes extra comments and references to pop culture! It's more a conversation with a friend than it is an audiobook

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  • Mark
  • 02-09-22

Becky is the British Neil Degrasse Tyson!

I 1st saw her Youtube videos after the James Webb Space telescope launched and immediately got hooked.

She's an incredible educator, she makes everything understandable & even fun to learn about! This book is no exception.

I'm starting with this book but will probably wind up checking out all of her Audiobooks! Keep it real Dr. Becky! (Can I get a shout-out in your next YouTube video?! :-D)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-09-22

Amazing!!!!

Dr. Becky is an incredible astrophysicist and her books are just like her YouTube videos, easy to follow and excellent learning tools no matter what level of knowledge you have. Her way of taking complicated science and making it easier for literally anyone to digest is such a breath of fresh air. I'm at about a medium level of knowledge on astrophysics and she constantly teaches me something new and keeps me excited to keep learning more. Don't sleep on her, she's amazing.

I wish she had done another signing of shipped books like with her last book because I'd have loved to get one for my coffee table books! I'm already excited for her next book. BUY THIS BOOK, you won't be disappointed.

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  • JS
  • 28-11-22

Black Holes, Today

Lots of historical details combined with the latest research findings. Many contributors to the BOK are identified and introduced. Easy to follow along without prerequisite knowledge. Very thorough. Visualizations are simple, but effective. Best of all, for me, is the corrections to earlier theories and descriptions of black holes. The actual nature of black holes (as presented here) is quite different from my previous understanding. I am edified. If you want to gain confidence in your understanding based on the latest research, this will provide it. Nicely done.

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  • Poseidon
  • 27-11-22

I get it now!

This is a great book. It makes understanding black hole physics much easier than I thought possible.

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  • James
  • 20-11-22

Interesting, Informative, Understandable

Dr. Becky Smethurst brings her knowledge and enthusiasm into the book so well I could almost picture her facial expressions as she read. This would be a good starting book for anyone interested in astrophysics, especially a teen interested in science.

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  • Sean M
  • 07-11-22

Fun and interesting!

Narrated by the author, who has an excellent voice and clear diction. Absolutely worth a listen.

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  • Walter
  • 05-11-22

Great entry into black hole knowledge.

The author has a YouTube channel that I have been enjoying for many years. She has a rare talent, even among other science communicators, of taking a complex subject and explaining it so the average layperson can understand. If you have any interest in this fascinating subject, I do not think you will be disappointed by this book. If you still have doubts, check out her YouTube channel. If you enjoy the way she explains things there, you will enjoy this book.

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  • Jsunn
  • 02-11-22

Excellent!

This book makes the wonderful and amazing science of black holes accessable to anyone with the willingness to wonder and ask why.

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  • Neil Nelson
  • 02-11-22

My favorite astrophysicist

I had a few driveway moments where I did not want to stop listening. Reading book is nice but hearing an author put her personality into it is so much better. I especially like the way a Brit pronounce zero as naught. Then to pronounce 0.0000001 produces many naught naught, …. There’s plenty of great astrophysicist history as background to the black holes. I also love her many references to women in science.

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  • Jason J Morgan - The Cast Iron Ronin
  • 28-10-22

Great read

Dr. Becky did a wonderful job on this. Her writing does a great job of explaining the concepts without dumbing them down.
also, her narration was perfect!