New York: American Physical Society, 1963. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF A LANDMARK PAPER IN WHICH KERR FIRST DESCRIBED THE MATHEMATICS OF ROATATING BLACK HOLES.
In 1963, the New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr achieved something that had eluded scientists for 47 years - he found the solution of Einstein's equations which describes the space outside a rotating star or black hole. Kerr's solution has been described as "the most important exact solution to any equation in physics". Shortly after Einstein wrote down his gravitational field equations in 1915, Karl Schwarzschild found a solution which describes a non-rotating spherical star or black hole. However, it is known that all stars rotate, and that Schwarzschild's solution is at best an approximation.
Kerr's achievement of finding an exact solution for the rotating case - something many had doubted could be done - was therefore a revolution in astrophysics. It ushered in a decade which might be called the Golden Age of Black Hole Physics, when General Relativity saw a Renaissance.
In the words of the legendary astrophysicist S. Chandrasekhar (Nobel laureate, 1983) : "In my entire scientific life, extending over forty-five years, the most shattering experience has been the realization that an exact solution of Einstein's equations of general relativity, discovered by the New Zealand mathematician, Roy Kerr, provides the absolutely exact representation of untold numbers of massive black holes that populate the universe. This shuddering before the beautiful, this incredible fact that a discovery motivated by a search after the beautiful in mathematics should find its exact replica in Nature, persuades me to say that beauty is that to which the human mind responds at its deepest and most profound."
Over the 41 years since its discovery the Kerr solution has been pivotal in deepening our understanding of astrophysics and gravitation theory. Many new effects arise in the Kerr solution - a rotating object drags space with it, in a way which would not be possible in Newton's theory.
In recent years a wealth of new astronomical observations has provided strong evidence for the existence of rotating Kerr black holes. Most impressively, it has recently been shown from observations of matter falling into the supermassive black hole in the centre of our own galaxy that it must be rotating at close to half of the maximum rate allowed by the Kerr solution” (Canterbury.ac). Item #296
CONDITION & DETAILS: New York: American Physical Society. Volume 11, July to December, 1963. Full volume. 4to (10.5 x 8 inches; 263 x 200mm). , pp. 576, . Bound in gold buckram showing only very slight wear. The interior is pristine.