Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
This book Black Hole Blues by Janna Levin is a history of the discovery of gravitational waves, which interact with normal matter in infinitesimally ways. The book is more than a mere factual retelling of the milestones in that discovery. The author tells of the people, universally brilliant, who pursue their own methodologies coming together make a much greater whole than the sum of the parts. Here is the loner, who discovers gravitational waves, makes great advancements in the discipline but whose work cannot be duplicated. Here is the team leader who splits his time and efforts between competing labs in the US and England. Here is a practical scientist who builds intricate devices from virtually hardware store components. Here is a synthesizer personality, that keeps aggressive confrontations from developing and is also brilliant researcher. The detector is a player in its own right, mechanically dictating much of what has to go on.
The book is a primer for serious science development, funding, cooperation and exclusion capped by the waves generated when a pair of black holes collide. It is worthwhile reading for anyone considering a science career, or for those of us who love to learn how science frontiers are pushed forward.