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Waves & Wave Mechanics

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  1. 7.5 hrs • 3/29/2016 • Unabridged

    From the author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, the epic story of the scientific campaign to record the soundtrack of our universe. Black holes are dark. That is their essence. When black holes collide, they will do so unilluminated. Yet the black hole collision is an event more powerful than any since the origin of the universe. The profusion of energy will emanate as waves in the shape of spacetime: gravitational waves. No telescope will ever record the event; instead, the only evidence would be the sound of spacetime ringing. In 1916, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, his top priority after he proposed his theory of curved spacetime. One century later, we are recording the first sounds from space, the soundtrack to accompany astronomy’s silent movie. In Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, Janna Levin recounts the fascinating story of the obsessions, the aspirations, and the trials of the scientists who embarked on an arduous, fifty-year endeavor to capture these elusive waves. An experimental ambition that began as an amusing thought experiment, a mad idea, became the object of fixation for the original architects—Rai Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Ron Drever. Striving to make the ambition a reality, the original three gradually accumulated an international team of hundreds. As this book was written, two massive instruments of remarkably delicate sensitivity were brought to advanced capability. As the book draws to a close, five decades after the experimental ambition began, the team races to intercept a wisp of a sound with two colossal machines, hoping to succeed in time for the centenary of Einstein’s most radical idea. Janna Levin’s absorbing account of the surprises, disappointments, achievements, and risks in this unfolding story offers a portrait of modern science that is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

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    Black Hole Blues

    7.5 hrs • 3/29/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 4.3 hrs • 9/30/2015 • Unabridged

    Sitting on the beach on a sunny summer day, we enjoy the steady advance and retreat of the waves. In the water, enthusiastic waders jump and shriek with pleasure when a wave hits them. But where do these waves come from? How are they formed, and why do they break on the shore? In Waves Fredric Raichlen traces the evolution of waves, from their generation in the deep ocean to their effects on the coast. He explains in a way that is readily understandable to nonscientists both the science of waves themselves and the technology that can be used to protect us against their more extreme forms, including hurricanes and tsunamis. After offering a basic definition of waves and explaining the mechanics of wind-wave generation, Raichlen describes how waves travel, how they shoal (rise), how they break, and how they transform in other ways. He goes on to describe, among other things, the complicated sun-earth-moon combinations that create astronomical tides (the high and low tides that occur daily and predictably); the effects of waves on the beach, including rip currents and beach erosion, and on harbors and shipping; and the building of breakwaters to protect harbors and bays. He discusses hurricanes, storm surges, and hurricane-generated waves. He offers a brief history of tsunamis, including Sumatra’s in 2004 and Japan’s in 2011, and explains the mechanisms that generate them, including earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes. Waves can be little ripples that lap peacefully at the shore or monstrous tsunamis that destroy everything in their paths. Describing the science underlying this astonishing variety, Waves offers a different kind of beach reading.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD
    Waves by Fredric Raichlen
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    Also: CD, MP3 CD
  3. 10.4 hrs • 9/14/2010 • Unabridged

    In her astonishing new book, Susan Casey captures colossal, ship-swallowing waves, and the surfers and scientists who seek them out.  For legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, hundred-foot waves represent the ultimate challenge. As Susan Casey travels the globe, hunting these monsters of the ocean with Hamilton’s crew, she witnesses first-hand the life or death stakes, the glory, and the mystery of impossibly mammoth waves. Yet for the scientists who study them, these waves represent something truly scary brewing in the planet’s waters.  With inexorable verve, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

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    The Wave

    10.4 hrs • 9/14/10 • Unabridged
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