Richard Feynman once quipped: "Time is what happens when nothing else does." But Julian Barbour disagrees: if nothing happened, if nothing changed, time would stop. For time is nothing but change. It is change that we perceive occurring all around us, not time. In fact, time doesn't exist.
In this highly provocative volume, Barbour presents the basic evidence for the nonexistence of time, explaining what a timeless universe is like and showing how the world will nonetheless be experienced as intensely temporal. It is a book that strikes at the heart of modern physics, that casts doubt on Einstein's greatest contribution, the space-time continuum, but that also points to the solution of one of the great paradoxes of modern science: the chasm between classical and quantum physics. Indeed, Barbour argues that the unification of Einstein's general relativity and quantum mechanics may well spell the end of time--time will cease to have a role in the foundations of physics.
Barbour writes with remarkable clarity, as he ranges from ancient philosophers such as Heraclitus and Parmenides, to such giants of science as Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, to the work of contemporary physicists such as John Wheeler, Roger Penrose, and Steven Hawking. Along the way, the author treats us to an enticing look at some of the mysteries of the universe and presents intriguing ideas about multiple worlds, time travel, immortality, and, above all, the illusion of motion.
Turning our understanding of reality inside-out, The End of Time is a vibrantly written and revolutionary book.
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From Publishers Weekly :
Julian Barbour, a theoretical physicist, has worked on foundational issues in physics for 35 years. Heis the author of the widely praised Absolute or Relative Motion?: Volume I, and is working on the second volume.
Where does the time go? Independent physicist Barbour presents an unusual alternate to the standard way of viewing the four-dimensional universe (three spatial dimensions and time), beginning with how our perception of time is formed. Time, he says, does not exist apart from events: the motions of the sun and the stars, the mechanical movement of a clock. Rather than truly feeling the passing of time, we merely note changes in our surroundings, described by the author as a series of "Nows," like frames of a motion picture. Not only do Nows exist for the events that actually occur, but a large number of Nows represent alternate possibilities, inhabiting a land called Platonia. Which Nows become our perceived reality? The rule of thumb Barbour gives is, "only the probable is experienced." In the "macro" world, the author addresses determinism, Newtonian mechanics and the second law of thermodynamics as they relate to his theory of Nows. In the quantum mechanical realm, he ties his theory of time to the Schrodinger Equation in its various forms. Throughout, the author accompanies his theories not with complex equations but rather with elegant (if sometimes convoluted) diagrams. If these theories sound intriguing, readers already familiar with the Wheeler-DeWitt and Schrodinger equations, eigenstates and wave functions may appreciate this unique perspective. Ultimately, however, Barbour's attempts to "simplify" physics, in particular quantum mechanics, will confuse as many readers as they enlighten. 20 illustrations. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.
Description du livre Oxford Univeristy Press, Inc., 1999. Hardcover. État : New. Never used!. N° de réf. du libraire P110297819852