In slightly different areas, issues of human perception of time are briefly touched upon as well as what exactly we might be measuring with different kinds of clocks. The descriptions of relativistic and quantum effects are now the commonplace of popular physics, and the most interesting parts were those dealing with more unusual matters, such as the nature of the interior of black holes or the asymmetry in kaon decay. The device of having a second voice used as a sceptic to facilitate the discussion is slightly annoying but not a big problem.
Sep 03, Jenn rated it it was amazing. I have never had a Physics or Astronomy course in my life nor have I previously read any other books on the subject matter. Davies made no assumptions about the background of his audience and was able to explain concepts in such a way that I was able to move through the book without back tracking and whilst retaining a good portion of the material. The flow was impeccable. I plan to reread this book in a few months.
Einstein's Unfinished Revolution by Lee Smolin - Penguin Books Australia
Thank you, Dr. Aug 25, White rated it it was amazing. In the spirit of Shrodinger's cat, this book talks about paradoxes in a humorous light.
Taking what Davies believes is unfinished business of Einstein, he throws out endless possibilities of what doesn't make sense. Intriguing as it is, we are missing some elements in knowing things that can answer all the questions we have and can turn the paradoxes into sense. Davies tackles this with this read. It's fascinating. May 01, David Olmsted rated it really liked it Shelves: physics. Paul Davies has for a long time been one of my favorite general physics writers and he does a very good job here.
I only have two minor quibbles. The first is probably due to his editor telling him not to use equations but it has to do his explanation of why space and time make an inseparable space-time. The reason is a certain quantity involving both is an invariant under any sort of change like like volume is an invariant when an object is moved. That quantity is "ct squared - x squared" where Paul Davies has for a long time been one of my favorite general physics writers and he does a very good job here.
That quantity is "ct squared - x squared" where t is a time interval, x is a spatial distance interval and c is the velocity of light in a vacuum this is what Minkowski discovered. It is as if we only perceive a shadow of some ultimate invariant change reality just like an object volume will cast its shadow on a wall as it is moved. My other concern is his claim that time does not exist prior to the Big Bang. While the relativity equations show that space-time and matter are linked such that if one goes to 0 so does the other that does not preclude a more general time-like change reality.
One would seem to be needed because every sudden impulse event like the Big Bang has some backwash which takes away its cause otherwise it would just keep on happening.
If water breaks a dam the water flows away, if a neural threshold is crossed creating an action potential it generates an inhibitory backwash signal. Finally, physics can not yet explain every low energy phenomena as exemplified by the existence of our conscious sensations. These uncertainties should give one pause before making such broad claims that nothing exists prior to the Big Bang.
Jun 28, rmn rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction-science. A perfectly good book on time using Einstein and Einstein's theory of relativity to explain how time is relative and how our perception of time is incorrect in many ways. The author, Paul Davies, seeks to illuminate questions such as whether time flows in one direction, whether time is it's own dimension, whether time existed before the big bang or whether the big bang happened , whether time travel is possible, and whether time exists at the singularity of a black hole.
Davies uses physics, qu A perfectly good book on time using Einstein and Einstein's theory of relativity to explain how time is relative and how our perception of time is incorrect in many ways. Davies uses physics, quantum mechanics, and Einstein's notion of space-time among other things to explore these questions and lay out what physicists have learned and know regarding time. It is reasonably well written and fairly easy to understand for non-science people, though Davies does explain some technical quantuim mechanics.
The only real issue I had with the book was that is was written in and it seems like the science has moved forward quite a bit since then. For instance, Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality which was published in , takes this book at least a couple of steps further. So I do find it ironic that a book about the relativity of time is a bit outdated. Oh yeah, one nit to pick.
Several times in the book, Davies went off on a tangent and then wrote something like, "if you want to learn more about this, read my book "XYZ"" or whatever the book's name. I found that annoying and classless. Don't market to me in the middle of a book. You know what Einstein or Einstein theory explainer? If i like you're writing, I'll seek out your other books, I don't need you upselling me mid chapter.
Jul 21, Lora Carney rated it it was amazing. Paul Davis is one of those names that people who read about time travel theory get to know well. The description says: "This is a book about the meaning of time, what it is, when it has started, how it flows and where to. It examines the consequences of Einstein's theory of relativity and offers startling suggestions about what recent research may reveal. Davies takes us through a rabbit hole of fascinating theory and current knowledge of related Physics that is easy to fol Paul Davis is one of those names that people who read about time travel theory get to know well.
Davies takes us through a rabbit hole of fascinating theory and current knowledge of related Physics that is easy to follow, if mind-bending in its content. He extrapolates on relativity and explores concepts of worm holes and time warps, sharing some of his own experiences of visiting research sites discussing various theories about time travel. If this is a subject you're interested in, this is one of the books you really need to read.
Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution
Davies keeps it accessible for the non-Physicist and holds interest on what is a very academic subject. Jun 06, Gabriel Joseph rated it really liked it Recommends it for: time travel sci fi lovers. For those of us who couldnt grasp quantum physics or physics itself in school, this book is a joy. After I read this book I saw existence, time and my reality forever changed.
Oct 11, Eric Hollister rated it really liked it. Probably more of a 3. Although it is a bit dated, I found this book quite interesting, and it helped me understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity and it's relation to perceptions of time as well as other theories and operations. I must admit, however, that the last third of the book lost me.
I imagine that is more my fault than the authors. May 07, Lawrence rated it it was ok.
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There were a few interesting parts, but I felt that it was not worth the time I spent with it. Dec 17, Corneliu Dascalu rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , science. Does a very good job of explaining arcane concepts in everyday language and high school math. Jan 07, Stephen Hayes rated it really liked it. Great book, a really fascinating insight into the differing concepts of time.
Apr 12, Ami Iida rated it really liked it Shelves: math , philosophy , physics. It's the physical and philosophy theme. Oct 05, Kiridaren Jayakumar rated it it was amazing Shelves: science. An excellent book that we all should read because everyone of us are affected by time. Knowing time should be made a necessity. Aug 27, Armand rated it really liked it Recommends it for: People who want to learn more about the physics of space-time and relativity. Shelves: source-used , genre-non-fiction , read Previous to reading Paul Davies' About Time, I had seen a few documentaries like PBS' Fabric of the Cosmos on astrophysics and Time, so I was aware of the some of the fundamentals, but About Time really helped me get a formal grasp of the whole picture of Time which- it turns out- might not exist at all.
I really appreciate just how accessible Davies' writing is. His prose isn't littered with technical jargon- so it's approachable- but he also respects his layman readers and does not dumb his ideas down. And he's also not afraid of an occasional poetic turn-of-phrase. In addition to reporting on science and theory, Davies also does a nice job of studying the history of thought on Time, moving from the religious, to the mystical, to the philosophical, to finally the scientific.
Within the context of the history of science, he further breaks down thoughts and belief into the "Newtonian Era", Einstein's revolutionary ideas, and post-Einstein development. His approach to history is thoughtful and respectful, and I like that he respects those with religious and mystical convictions. Personally, I don't recommend reading About Time quickly, or trying to wolf it all down in a few sittings like you might a novel because the book requires a certain level of concentration.
Many of the passages invite you imagine that you are watching tiny, subatomic particles bouncing around in complex patterns. Sign in. Become an FT subscriber to read: Einstein, quantum theory and the battle for reality Explore the new agenda We live in a time of disruption but where others see difficulty, we see opportunity - not just to survive but to thrive. Choose your subscription. For 4 weeks receive unlimited Premium digital access to the FT's trusted, award-winning business news. Premium Digital. Team or Enterprise. Premium FT. View other formats and editions.
A masterful exposition on the state of quantum physics The only problem with it, argues Lee Smolin, is that it is wrong. He attempts to examine other options for a theory of the atomic world Here is no detached narrator, but an active participant in the fray who perceives the debate over the nature of reality in personal terms. He is also a gifted writer who manages to translate his own insights about how science works into engaging language and compelling stories.
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