HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to…
Loading...

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (2013)

by Lee Smolin

Other authors: Henry Reich (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
219553,142 (3.57)9
  1. 00
    The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra (applemcg)
    applemcg: Both books are more about the philosophy of science, how we think about it. Capra opens our eyes to Eastern philosophy, Smolin about the possibility of laws evolving, a search for meta-laws.
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
Smolin has a point: this business of timelessness needs a re-think. At the risk of sounding arrogant, his community shrinks because of his argument. I'm one of those curious, who likes to think i can appreciate what the serious thinkers think. I didn't say understand; i'm not that arrogant. But I think I'm clever enough to appreciate what's at stake. A recent reading of the Tao of Physics resurrected any recollection I had that quantum physics now tells us that time is an emergent property, rather than fundamental. At least according to the largest part of that community. I think many (most?) well-read people would find that a novel idea. So do I. So, I start this book in sympathy with where Smolin is going. He carefully lays out his plan. To paraphrase "First, let's see how time lost it's unquestioned status as fundamental", then he says he'll see why that has to be rethought. This is an honest approach for a scientist. "I'm with you, Lee". And he's thorough. By the end of Part I, he's taken us from Newton thru Einstein and Bohr, when in the 20's (I guess) "time" lost it's place in the equation's denominator.

His restoring time on scientific grounds comes from cosmological questions: Einsteins forsaking the cosmological constant, and since his death, the need to insert it back to explain newer observations. I can appreciate (recall, not the same as understanding) that now, dark matter and dark energy explain the need for a cosmological constant, and help to model the observations. Smolin argues that physical laws have evolved in this universe to explain the measured changes in the distribution of the universe's constituents: photons, stars (matter), energy, and the dark versions. And evolution implies passage of time. The initial conditions and the "selection" of fundamental constants receive pro and con arguments. So too, the possibility of multiple (infinite numbers of) universes, and a single infinite universe. As his scope widens, his audience narrows. The problem he's trying to solve matters to fewer and fewer people. He confesses his real motive in the epilogue, where he sums up his argument as the need for a new philosophy. I suspect literary critics could easily tease out the circularity of his reasoning. To me, it's not unlike a local pastor of my witness who complains about those who complain, failing to see himself in that club. I rationalize my rating of 3* on my belief one's ratings should be a binomial distribution. Since the lowest I will go is 2.5, and I only allow a handful of books at that rating, this book is not one of those. ( )
  applemcg | May 10, 2017 |
+ve CBC review
  kgreply | Feb 6, 2017 |
I loved this book. Theories of biological evolution and cosmology are the closest thing we have to a modern mythological worldview, trying to give us an origin story and answer the big questions in societies now obsessed mostly with trivia and limiting their attention to the most recent crisis. But evolutionary science has become dominated by reductive materialists (not to mention arrogant, bigoted blowhards) like Richard Dawkins who dismiss the idea that subjective experience has any reality. And cosmology (for any non-physicists who’ve been paying attention) has been unable to produce a coherent picture of the universe that unites what happens at the smallest level of reality to what happens at larger scales. Instead when it tries to describe the universe as a whole, it has descended into a kind of mise en abime of untestable hypotheses, proliferating infinities, and incoherency that (Lee Smolin says) results from taking its own mathematics as a literal stand-in for reality instead of as a human tool used to produce models of limited situations. (It seems to have become kind of a scientific analog of French critical theory, which is really depressing to anyone who has tried to get a meaningful picture of the world from THAT.)

Enter Smolin, who tells us that a lot of this can be fixed by seeing the existence of time and its uni-directional passage as fundamental instead of an illusion. (Religion, western philosophy, and science, oddly, have all succumbed to the idea of a timeless reality). He finds that an evolutionary model where time is an essential component and the laws that govern physical reality can themselves evolve offers more promise, and not just for physics but for a range of human inquiry, even including social thought and action. (This is his weakest area –and in a social system where expertise has become so narrow, I suppose there’s no reason to be shocked that his theories of social behavior are as crude as my understanding of theoretical physics… but it’s too bad.)

All in all, along with Rupert Sheldrake’s Science Set Free, this is one of the most promising challenges to the frenzied scramble toward a mechanistic, increasingly alienating, and reductive world that a lot of science seems to be caught up in enabling right now. Will it open new lines of inquiry and give us a cosmos that makes sense, and that we make sense in? Time will tell.
( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
Decries the "expulsion" of intuitive, flowing time from physics -- from the Now-less _t_ variable in classical mechanics, through the block-universe view of spacetime in relativity, to the complete absence of time in quantum cosmology. Contends that a truly fundamental theory would have to countenance *evolving* laws of physics. Finds that such theorizing could do away with the anthropic principle, develop a more fundamental and less bewildering formulation of quantum mechanics, modify relativity in needed ways without overthrowing it, and posit that space is not fundamental but emerges from something like "quantum graphity". Explains how the case for time's reality is supported by thermodynamics, the universe's complexity, cosmology more generally, and even the sublunar concerns of economics and climate change. Mindful throughout of some philosophical precepts stated by GW von Leibniz and CS Peirce, it is an absorbing and important book (perhaps the year's best), even if one does not agree with or understand all of it.

Can dissipate self in wild rockin' and rollin'
Or elevate mind with deep thoughts from Lee Smolin.
  fpagan | Nov 14, 2013 |
Time is both everywhere and nowhere. It is force we deal with everyday in a metaphysical sense as well as a phantom object. In the physics world, it has no real definition aside from what other theories and variables give it. After Einstein’s theories, it became relative; what was perceived as a certain time to one person could be different to another. Lee Smolin’s Time Reborn seeks to wrestle the relative and vanishing concept of time away from the quantum mechanical model and give it a physical presence in the universe. He wants to make time real.

Separating space and time, and making time real in the process, is a very heady goal. There’s a reason it’s always referred to as “space-time.” They are inextricably linked. While I liked all the interesting new physics Smolin discussed, I’m not entirely sure he accomplished his goal with the clarity he wanted. Metaphysics and philosophy tend to creep into his argument and thus create flaws in his quest to quantify time as a legitimate, whole, and distinct entity. A lot of the standard physics theories tend to break down when trying to isolate time in a concrete sense. That being said, Smolin’s history of physics was engaging and slightly more refreshing than the rote stuff you get from other texts. And this book will get you thinking about the larger concepts of the universe, which is never a bad thing. It has kind of a physics class feel to it as his illustrations look like they were drawn with a dry-erase marker (I liked that). If you’re interested in a different perspective on contemporary quantum physics, then dive right in—if you have the time, of course. ( )
3 vote NielsenGW | May 17, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee Smolinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reich, HenryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
All things originate from one another,

and vanish into one another

according to necessity …

in conformity with the order of time.

—ANAXIMANDER, On Nature
Dedication
For my parents, Pauline and Michael

With many thanks to Roberto Mangabeira Unger for a shared journey
First words
Preface
What is time?
Introduction
The scientific case for time being an illusion is formidable.
Before starting this or any other journey of discovery, we should heed the advice of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who, barely a few steps into the epic story that is science, had the wisdom to warn us that “Nature loves to hide.”
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547511728, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

"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"--… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
30 wanted

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.57)
0.5
1
1.5
2 2
2.5 1
3 6
3.5 6
4 9
4.5
5 3

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,156,295 books! | Top bar: Always visible