"Meet the new Stephen Hawking . . . The Order of Time is a dazzling book." The Sunday Times
From the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Reality Is Not What It Seems, Helgoland, and Anaximander comes a concise, elegant exploration of time.
Why do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to "flow"? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike.
For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe.
Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.
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Introduction: Perhaps Time is the Greatest Mystery
Excerpted from "The Order of Time"
Copyright © 2018 Carlo Rovelli.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Perhaps Time Is the Greatest Mystery 1
Part 1 The Crumbling of Time
1 Loss of Unity 9
2 Loss of Direction 19
3 The End of the Present 37
4 Loss of Independence 57
5 Quanta of Time 81
Part 2 The World without Time
6 The World Is Made of Events, Not Things 95
7 The Inadequacy of Grammar 105
8 Dynamics as Relation 117
Part 3 The Sources of Time
9 Time Is Ignorance 131
10 Perspective 143
11 What Emerges from a Particularity 159
12 The Scent of the Madeleine 171
13 The Source of Time 193
The Sister of Sleep 205
Image Credits 213