- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Knopf (May 3, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307265900
- ISBN-13: 978-0307265906
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 65 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe
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“The hyper-density of this book made my brain feel simultaneously wiped out and dazzled.”
-Boston Globe Best Science Books of 2011
“Radical . . . A surprising and unorthodox work disguised in the jacket of a popular science book, Cycles of Time should prove both deeply enlightening and just as deeply mystifying for anyone who dares to follow along.”
-Peter Woit, The Wall Street Journal
“An intellectual thrill ride . . . As Penrose builds a solid foundation for his argument in analyzing universal entropic accumulation and Newton’s Second Law, the reader senses something tremendous looming—mysterious and compelling as a black hole . . . A cosmological page-turner.”
-Y. S. Fing, Washington Independent Review of Books
“If you’ll forgive a skiing metaphor, Cycles of Time is a black diamond of a book. But like all steep slopes, sometimes you take a moment from your struggles and look up, and in front of you is an utterly gorgeous view.”
-Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe
“Profound . . . This fascinating book will surely become a classic in the history of cosmology.”
“Controversial but intriguing . . . Well worth the effort.”
“Intriguing . . . Penrose makes provocative arguments for his challenging new theory.”
About the Author
Roger Penrose is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He has received numerous prizes and awards, most notably the Wolf Foundation Prize in physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking. He is the author of three previous books, including The Emperor’s New Mind. He lives in Oxford, England.
Top customer reviews
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Penrose may be smart, but he surely isn't interested in writing for anyone not completely comfortable with advanced math and physics and the technical jargon associated with it.
He seems to start his books with a little story to sucker you in; make you think he's going to try and explain things to you like Carl Sagan might. Then, wham! You're in to hyperbolic geometry, tensor fields and Schrodinger's cat. And when he explains his technical jargon ... it's with more technical jargon.
After a while I just found myself skipping around trying to find something written in english that I could understand.
The book might as well be written in a foreign language for most of us.
PRINT: I have tried twice to read this and failed. It is NOT for the lay reader. It is perhaps challenging for a trained physicist/mathematician. I am still trying to absorb something anyway.
AUDIO: My second attempt to "read" the book was as an MP3 download. Impossible!
Whatever the merits of the book, and I have tried 4 times now to read it since I think Penrose is surely onto something important, to listen to it is quite impossible unless one already understands everything already. There are numerous equations and numerous drawings and numerous cross-references that are utterly impossible to follow w/o SEEING the pages.
An audio version? Ridiculous!
KINDLE: this version is severely crippled due to the fact that Kindle Reader does not SCALE anything except text. Damn. It is so annoying to have to double-click the graphics in order to enlarge them enough to read them. It is extremely annoying that the special characters embedded in the text, of which there are MANY!, are not scalable in Kindle Reader.
When is Kindle going to handle EVERY aspect of the text as fully scalable? This is unacceptable.
Of course, Kindle allows highlighting and linking which is good. But this particular book is EXTREMELY heavily laden with graphics and special characters such that multiple times on many many pages these features are totally out of proportion to the main text.
He does an excellent job of dealing with the issues presented by the second law of Thermodynamics and presents many thought provoking concepts.
I do believe this. Book would be tough going for an individual without a fairly strong science and math background . I have a PhD in Physical Chemistry with a minor in Physics and a strong interest in Quantum mechanics and I had to approach this book as I would a textbook, but it was well worth the effort.
However, I was interested in his comment on p145 regarding the ultimate fate of everything: "Yet all this will eventually die away. The final dregs of excitement will have to be the waiting, and the waiting, and waiting .... for the final pop ... followed by nothing ....". The Second Law would lead one to see things that way I think, because though expressed by Penrose in beautifully poetic language, it does add up to the acceptance of an ultimately meaningless universe. As a person of faith I don't accept the Second Law's implications as the final answer, and look forward to a rather more satisfying one. Penrose doesn't accept those implications either, but seems to go back to a variation on his earlier article of faith, i.e. in a steady-state universe, albeit with built-in cycles. How he does this is where I get lost in the weeds.