One of TIME’s Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2018
"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, 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.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist, the head of the Quantum Gravity group at the Centre de Physique Théorique of Aix-Marseille University and one of the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory. His previous books include Seven Brief Lessons on Physicsan international bestseller translated into more than forty languagesand Reality Is Not What It Seems.
Read an Excerpt
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Carlo progressively introduces topics on space time, ranging from what early philosophers perceived time to be, to progressively more complex topics such as Quantum time. He does so in an order and fashion that makes sense to the common man and inspires you to think deeply on the topic of time. My entire understanding of "time", the manner in which I think about it, has completely changed as a result of this book. Granted, my idea of time, was untouched by the many previous deep thinkers that Carlo introduces such as Aristotle, all of which have contributed to my new fundamental understanding of time. There is a chapter that is a bit more technically difficult to understand, Carlo makes note of it and encourages you to skip it if you feel intimidated. However, I found my desire to further understand the topic overcame any doubt that resided within myself. Warning: I found myself ordering a laser and some polarizing film to replicate the double slit experiment at home as a result of reading this book. You may spend more money than you originally anticipated as a result of buying and reading this text.
Disclaimer: reviewed ARC via Goodreads Giveaways. I don't read much science-based nonfiction, so it was interesting to find this book fairly accessible despite my lack of familiarity higher level physics. Rovelli does a good job of introducing (and then questioning) different ways to think of time, but the read feels as much philosophical as scientific. It digs into the human experience as much as or more than the various scientific approaches, from historical to quantum and back again. It's a relatively short volume, best digested over multiple reading sessions. The prose can be a bit dense, but engaging. I think the illustrations/diagrams might be placed a bit differently in the final version, as they tended to stray a little farther than felt natural. Overall, a nice introduction to different visions, explanation, and hypotheses about time, with a poetic/meditative undercurrent.