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From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

Written by Sean Carroll

Narrated by Erik Synnestvedt


From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

Written by Sean Carroll

Narrated by Erik Synnestvedt

ratings:
4/5 (15 ratings)
Length:
16 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781400185658
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Time moves forward, not backward-everyone knows you can't unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today's hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself-a period of modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though, physicists are going out into realms that make the theory of relativity seem like child's play. Carroll's scenario is not only elegant, it's laid out in the same easy-to-understand language that has made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most popular physics blog on the Net.



From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of space-time before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction. It's an ambitious, fascinating picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale, one that will captivate fans of popular physics blockbusters like Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781400185658
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. His papers on dark matter and dark energy, the physics of extra dimensions, and alternative theories of gravity have been widely praised. He is also one of the founders of the group blog cosmicvariance.com, named one of the five top science blogs by 'Nature'.



Reviews

What people think about From Eternity to Here

4.2
15 ratings / 12 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    I read this as research for an upcoming book that I probably won't write for another 5 years from now. I'll have to reread the book again and will leave a more detailed review then.
  • (5/5)
    I don't like a quest. I like scientific research, creativity, non-conformist ideas. Luckily it's only the subtitle of the book that I hold a grudge against. In the book itself you'll find scientific research, creativity and non-conformist thinking. And a scientist who tells us that some of his ideas aren't science but speculation. (Well, 'predictions' my ass). All too often scientists use misplaced authority in popular science books when it comes to defending their own theories. Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at CalTech, isn't one of them, and that is laudable.From Eternity to Here (2010) is a book about the arrow of time. What is time? The answer in a nutshell: experiencing the tendency of the universe to increase its entropy, a measure of "disorder". There we have them again. Scrambled eggs won't unscramble (although quantum mechanics tell us there's a small chance it will happen. And if you wait long enough it inevitably will happen). The milk in your coffee that won't get unmixed.Entropy tends to stay the same or increase on a large scale. That's because there are more possible combinations of chaos than of order. If an earthquake hits your pile of books, it tends to fall over. If the books are on the ground and the second wave of earthquakes come, generally they won't pile on top of each other.That seems to be what we perceive as time: the direction from low entropy to higher entropy. It will eventually end with everything - all matter, all fields, all of spacetime - in equilibrium, which means time will stop as well. No change, no time, ma'am.Carroll speculates however that it won't stop there. In an equilibrium universe entropy will continue to grow by creating bubbles that are new universes. These universes start out low in entropy, and the unlimited increase can continue.Why does Sean Carroll come up with the need for eternal increase of entropy, to the cost of a yet unfalsifiable multiverse theory? Reason is that our own universe started out in a strange, very low entropy state. And that poses problems. Not only for the development of our universe, but for the current state of our universe as well. After all, the highest chance for us is to find ourselves in such a De Sitter space. In such a space there's equilibrium without an arrow of time. Weak anthropic principle, but with a twist.The book fills up with explanations about the usual suspects. That is: entropy, general relativity, quantum physics, string theory, black holes and event horizons, AdS/CFT . The whole cast of characters you'll find in most current books about cosmology. In that regard the book won't teach you much extra. But it is a good overview structured from another perspective: the perspective of time. As a bonus it takes you on a mind-boggling tour of possibilities. From the dimensions of infinite space to the multiverse in its many variations. A well written book with an interesting conclusion. Worth your time.For those missing the most basic of mathematics you should read the 'math' section at the end of the book first. For those with a few years of high school math: dive right in. Follow the arrow From Eternity to Here.In the right direction, that is.
  • (3/5)
    This is more of a layperson's book than I expected. The first 3/4 of the book rehashes your high school and college physics, and then it proposes some speculative ideas to explain the low entropy of the early universe. However, the speculative ideas (I'm trying avoid spoilers) are not new. That would be fine, if there were some evidence to support them, but there was none. I was disappointed.

    It's a quick read though.
  • (3/5)
    The book starts out with an understandable discussion. Toward the end I started to get lost and disinterested. Note: I have a PhD in engineering and taught physics. I appreciate that Sean is an expert in theoretical physics and has written an interesting book.
  • (3/5)
    Ostensibly this book is about time and why it goes only one way. Mostly, it's about entropy, and it's a bit repetitive, and not as elucidating as one might hope. I think it may be intended primarily for those working or studying in the areas of cosmology or quantum field theory rather than laymen such as myself.
  • (4/5)
    A lucid, reasonably understandable look at relatively, quantum mechanics, and time. The author seeks to understand and explain time's arrow, and trace time back to the Big Bang...or before, if possible. There are some points where it appears the author does not understand biology (nothing unusual for a physicist; most don't), but otherwise the work is interesting, comprehensible, and thorough. His solution to the problems posed by the current state of physical knowledge is interesting, and he almost convinces me it could be possible. I am at least leaving an open mind. There are a couple of chapters in which the explanations get a bit tedious, but most of the book reads well, though for some inexplicable reason, it took me a longer time than usual. Perhaps some sort of cosmic irony, considering the topic.