With 'Gravity's Engines,' Caleb Scharf establishes himself as one of the finest space storytellers.
By Todd Wilkinson August 24, 2012
In free market economics, the theory of “creative destruction” is considered a necessary linchpin in understanding how capitalism works. No matter how nostalgically attached we may be to certain fixtures in our world, change is inevitable and ongoing. In order for the new to emerge, the old must give way – sometimes its reign overthrown through jarring, unpleasant acts of usurpation.
So, too, with what scientists hypothesize about the universe. One day, they speculate, even Planet Earth may be swept away by forces that are utterly indifferent to our own existential desire for longevity and having the same home in perpetuity.
It could involve a strike by asteroid, though among all known agents of cosmic creative destruction, none are more potently menacing – and intriguing – than black holes, the subject of Caleb Scharf’s Gravity’s Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life In The Cosmos.