Mullane Literary Associates

Gravity’s Engines by Caleb Scharf

Gravity’s Engines Caleb Scharf

Selected by The Christian Science Monitor as one of the
“21 smart nonfiction titles we think you’ll enjoy this summer.”

Praise for Caleb Scharf’s Gravity’s Engines

“‘Weird, destructive, time-warping, overwhelming, alien...fearsomely noisy and rambunctious,’ black holes are the bad boys of the universe.... Scharf’s explanations are vivid and accessible, evoking the awe of cosmic grandeur in a way that’s as humbling as it is fascinating.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In Gravity’s Engines, Caleb Scharf deftly tells you all you wanted to know about black holes, as well as all you never knew you wanted to know. By the end of the book your conclusion will surely match mine: Black holes are terrifying yet awesome constituents of the cosmos.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director, Hayden Planetarium
at the American Museum of Natural History

The mind-blowing story of ‘supermassive’ black holes, the true masters of the Universe.... They might appear esoteric and remote, but as Scharf explains, life on Earth may have been utterly impossible without them.”

Marcus Chown, author of The Matchbook
that Ate a Forty-Two Ton Truck

Caleb Scharf... clearly knows his stuff. The ingredient that he adds to the mix is his interest in the origin of life and the role that black holes have played in creating the conditions suitable for life.... Mr. Scharf makes vivid the mind-boggling nature of the universe... an excellent book.”

John Gribbin, Wall Street Journal

Using rich language and a brilliant command of metaphor, Scharf takes on some of the most intricate topics in theoretical and observational astronomical research... a wonderfully detailed tapestry of what modern astronomy is all about.”


Superbly accessible... Scharf’s breathtaking cosmic vision will appeal to anyone whose curiosity is aroused by gazing at a star-filled sky.”


In Gravity’s Engines, Scharf deftly recounts this history and clearly explains the science. But his goal is more ambitious: to show how black holes influenced the evolution of the universe.... the idea that they are engines that have driven the universe’s development at every stage and scale has the potential to reposition them from the realm of the remote and absurd to the central and essential.”

New Scientist

An excellent explanation of a weird but essential feature of the universe....a rich, satisfying, and unusually comprehensible account of an extraordinary phenomenon.”


Scharf’s fun book takes you behind the scenes of the universe itself to see how the celestial heavyweights we call black holes help shape the cosmos.”

Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here

This most readable book about supermassive black holes exemplifies Scharf’s playful excellent brief history....Highly recommended.”

Library Journal, starred review

Scharf is a lively and eloquent writer as well as a fine scientist. Gravity’s Engines presents topics at the frontiers of our understanding that have not hitherto been presented so clearly to general readers.”

Martin Rees, author of Just Six Numbers

Scharf is a writer you’ll gladly follow to the end of the universe.”

Zocalo Public Square

About the Author

Caleb Scharf is the director of the Astrobiology Center at Columbia University and has written for The New Yorker, New Scientist, Science, National Geographic, Scientific American, and Nature, among other publications. He has been a keynote speaker at the American Museum of Natural History and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, and has served as a consultant for the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, The New York Times, and others. He is the author of Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology, winner of the 2012 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award from the American Astronomical Society. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

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