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From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time Audio CD – Bargain Price, February 15, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is worth reading for its expert descriptions of the background material alone, but the reader hungry for speculations of how physics at the frontier may provide an understanding of the arrow of time will not be disappointed. Carroll devotes ample space to the concepts of cosmic inflation, the role of quantum mechanics, baby universes, and the setting that string theory may provide for all of this. None of this is settled ground in physics yet, and the author makes that entirely clear. But it hard to read this account and not come away with a tangible sense of the excitement to be found in taking on these most fundamental of problems.
Trying to elucidate the meaning of time (perhaps "an emergent phenomenon rather than a necessary part of our ultimate description of the world") the author reviews special and general relativity, Boltzmann's entropy, black holes and the controversy about conservation of information, life, quantum mechanics, inflation and the multiverse. Generally speaking the book is written in an accessible style (eggs can be broken and turned into omelettes, but not the other way around to describe the Second Law), but you will need to reread some parts to make the most of it.
In the final chapter Sean Carroll faces the "search for meaning in a preposterous universe". I quote: "We find ourselves, not as a central player in the life of the cosmos, but as a tiny epiphenomenon, flourishing for a brief moment as we ride a wave of increasing entropy...Purpose and meaning are not to be found in the laws of nature, or in the plans of any external agent...it is our job to create them.Read more ›
To me the book was quite interesting. A few equations are displayed, but there is no actual use of mathematics. I have an M.S. in Applied Physics, so I cannot really say how a reader with no technical background would cope with it. Carroll goes through a lot of material, and the sheer quantity of it might be overwhelming. Unfortunately, that is just the way things are. Nobody is going to cope with this without the willingness to do some hard thinking. Carroll does include a lot of pop culture references that readers can relate to, although one of those may not be in any future edition of the book.
A couple interesting (to me) notes:
The complexity of the universe is different from the entropy. Just after the Big Bang the universe was very simple--the same high energy subatomic soup every where. Right now the universe is very complicated: There are lots of galaxies, stars, planets, black holes, people, etc. However, the entropy of the universe has increased: The formation of all those objects is mostly due to gravitation, as matter coalesces together. This gravitational process increases the total entropy, more than offsetting the order in all the structure. Eventually all of this structure will fade away. Even black holes will decay by the Hawking process, leaving a very thin, cold, dark, and simple universe. So while the universe started in a simple state, evolved into a complex state, and will eventually decay into another simple state, the entropy is always increasing. See pages 199-201.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recently borrowed this book from the library but it is SO good that I just had to have my own hardcopy, which I just ordered. Read morePublished 1 month ago by aTraveller
This is the worst book I have ever read. The title and the subtitle are meaningless and misleading, respectively. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Arieh Ben Naim
Great author, really cool topic, a little too intense for the non-physicistPublished 3 months ago by Jeffrey Gibson
Carroll has written a book that explores leading edge physics in order to explain the arrow of time. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joe R. Mcauley
Sean Carroll has very important things to say (and he usually says them very clearly) that I don't read in other theoretical physics books for the educated layperson. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Randall R. Scott
A Super Brief History of Time
I just finished listening to a “Great Courses” CD audio of twenty-four, 30-minute lectures in 2012 by physicist professor Sean Carroll of Cal... Read more
A good read...please take the time to grasp what is being said...this is not for a first timer in my opinion. Read morePublished 10 months ago by William H. Folk II
I found this one of the more transfixing pop science books I've read, and I've read a bunch. I couldn't wait to come back and it always rewarded me with fascination. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Marching Orifice