- Paperback: 377 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 23, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0449907236
- ISBN-13: 978-0449907238
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,211,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Arrow Of Time: A Voyage Through Science To Solve Time's Greatest Mystery
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From Publishers Weekly
The authors delve into physics, biology, mathematics and quantum mechanics in their complex, stimulating reinterpretation of the concept of time. Illustrated.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A whirlwind tour of relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, chaos and more...The book proves to even the scientifically ignorant that science itself can be a labor of love."
The Boston Globe
"[An] extraordinary book...A work of theoretical synthesis, imaginatively written for an intelligent lay audience, that comes to a brain-wrenching conclusion."
The Washington Post Book World
"Straightforward...Scholarly...Intellectually rich...The book manages to capture the excitement and puzzlement of time."
San Francisco Chronicle
"This is an important book....I heartily commend this volume."
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
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Dr Peter Coveney is a physicist working at a Cambridge Research Laboratory and Dr Roger Highfield is a journalist. Together they have produced a highly readable book though, dealing as it does with scientific problems, clearly some science background is necessary before reading it. The language is scientific, pitched at the level of a documentary that we might see on television. To be comfortable with reading this I suggest that readers need to be familiar with the top level of high-school science – but the explanations are clear, only the jargon may be a bit intimidating.
The range of topics covered is broad: beginning with ideas of time in literature and popular culture, it moves on quickly to the Second Law of Thermodynamics – the key to the directionality of time. The authors explain Boltzmann’s concept of entropy (the degree of disorder in a system) and show how this determines our vision of time’s arrow. They discuss how some equations in physics are time-independent whereas others involve a timescale. They explore the significance of time in relativity, quantum physics, cosmology and, inevitably, in thermodynamics and chaos theory.
There is an interesting Appendix on biological clocks, over 30 pages of Notes that expand on many of the topics covered, and a Bibliography of further reading. Now a quarter of a century old (but with a new edition imminent in 2015) this book is a fine overview of some of the most important topics in science today, though the latest discoveries about quarks and hadrons are not discussed.