Time Reborn

Time Reborn

From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe

eBook - 2013
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From one of our foremost thinkers and public intellectuals, a radical new view of the nature of time and the cosmos What is time? This deceptively simple question is the single most important problem facing science as we probe more deeply into the fundamentals of the universe. All of the mysteries physicists and cosmologists face -- from the Big Bang to the future of the universe, from the puzzles of quantum physics to the unification of forces and particles -- come down to the nature of time. The fact that time is real may seem obvious. You experience it passing every day when you watch clocks tick, bread toast, and children grow. But most physicists, from Newton to Einstein to today's quantum theorists, have seen things differently. The scientific case for time being an illusion is formidable. That is why the consequences of adopting the view that time is real are revolutionary. Lee Smolin, author of the controversial bestseller The Trouble with Physics, argues that a limited notion of time is holding physics back. It's time for a major revolution in scientific thought. The reality of time could be the key to the next big breakthrough in theoretical physics. What if the laws of physics themselves were not timeless? What if they could evolve? Time Reborn offers a radical new approach to cosmology that embraces the reality of time and opens up a whole new universe of possibilities. There are few ideas that, like our notion of time, shape our thinking about literally everything, with huge implications for physics and beyond -- from climate change to the economic crisis. Smolin explains in lively and lucid prose how the true nature of time impacts our world.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
ISBN: 9780547511771
0547511779
Characteristics: data file
1 online resource (352 pages)
Call Number: eBook

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stewstealth
Jul 12, 2017

This book argues for the notion that time is real and not an emergent or an illusion of the Universe. There are many philosophical and scientific claims for time to not being "real", such as the ability to time travel or determinism. This book refutes these arguments and argues for a new cosmological theory that includes time as a foundational aspect. Worth reading if you are interested in the subject.

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MICHAEL JAY WITT
Sep 20, 2013

First of all, I should say that I have really enjoyed (and learned things) from each of Smolin's previous books. Clearly he takes a "minority" position on many questions in physics. But I've found his books to be well above the norm for "popular" physics books. I like his thinking, and I like his writing -- independent of how I might feel about his conclusions.

I was disappointed in this book. I think the fundamental problem was the intended unifying theme of the book, that "time is real" (whatever that might mean). For me, this "theme" obscured rather than illuminated the contents of the book. I *think* the actual position he is taking is that strict determinism fails, and that the future is (at least partially) open, rather than being completely determined by the past. I didn't see how he ever explained: (1) What the word "real" means in this context, (2) why time is any less "real" in the standard reading of relativity than in his reading, or (2) how either 1 or 2 relates to the question of determinism.

As far as I can tell, there are two threads being pursued. One is the scientific question of determinism. The other is the human emotional impact of our beliefs or mental models regarding determinism (and related factors). I believe these are both very important questions. I believe Smolin has something meaningful to say about both of them. I do *not* believe they are the same question, and I think he confuses things by conflating the two. At least he confused me :-)

A further minor criticism: You might get the impression from this book that (for example) string theory and loop quantum gravity are considered to be theories on equal footing by the physics community in general. I'm pretty sure this is not the case. I think Smolin did a better job in his previous books, in separating his viewpoint from others.

Is this book worth reading? Well ... yes, of course. In fact, I'm personally of the opinion that any of Smolin's book are "worth it" for the references alone. I learned a couple of things, and found many interesting "pointers" here. But overall I felt let down.

o
op_ed
Sep 07, 2013

Smolin begins to make a case for a paradigm shift in the way we look at physics, cosmology, etc., but I was left with the nagging sensation that he needed to go just a bit further to clinch his case.

It might be that I lack the math and physics background to fully appreciate the fundamental point he is making, or that he had to leave out the most convincing facts or arguments because the book is addressed at those who don't have that background.

If he's right, though, it changes everything. Worth reading, especially if you've already been reading Steven Hawking's popular works, or Feinman, or...

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ShaerysVPL
Dec 11, 2014

ShaerysVPL thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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