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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - probably solves 3 fundamental problems
In a direct extension of his Nobel-prize-winning work on thermodynamics,Prigogine explains that almost all natural systems are non-determinsitic, even if all their components are subject to deterministic laws. This is because such systems have enormous numbers of Poincare resonances which lead to fundamentally non-deterministic solutions. This provides a solution to...
Published on 1 Jan 1999

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6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I've still got my certainty...
The author seems too argumentative in this book. His main premise seems to rest on the idea that we cannot succesfully achieve the needed precision of measurment to show time as reversible. I am of the belief that laws of nature hold, regardless of our precision of measurement. Prigogine has Einstein rolling in his grave.
Published on 13 Oct 1998


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - probably solves 3 fundamental problems, 1 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
In a direct extension of his Nobel-prize-winning work on thermodynamics,Prigogine explains that almost all natural systems are non-determinsitic, even if all their components are subject to deterministic laws. This is because such systems have enormous numbers of Poincare resonances which lead to fundamentally non-deterministic solutions. This provides a solution to 3 of the most important problems in science: 1. Time's arrow 2. The Measurement Problem in QM 3. The existence of Freewill.
Everyone who is seriously interested in these questions should read this book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time does have an arrow, 17 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
Nobel Laureate Prigogine describes how the lack of infinitely precise measurements and non-linear behavior in the laws of nature give rise to the arrow of time experienced by all of us. His results seem completely natural in everyday experience where you never see a broken glass on the floor jump back on the table and reassemble itself. Prigogine shows that the current laws of physics, when used in a mathematical framework that excludes perfect measurements, gives rise to laws of nature where an uncertain future must follow the past. An excellent, but technical, book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new formulation of the laws of physics, 18 May 2010
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
In this iconoclastic book, Ilya Prigogine argues for a concept of total indeterminacy by incorporating time in the current deterministic scientific laws.

Time in modern physics
Ilya Prigogine observes that the time dimension incorporated in the basic laws of physics, the classical Newtonian dynamics, relativity or quantum physics, does not make a distinction between the past and the future. There is no arrow of time, as in chemistry, geology, biology or the humanities. However, we should incorporate an evolutionary aspect (indeterminacy) in our physical laws, by revising the concept of time.

Revision of the concept of time in physics
The physics of non-equilibrium processes study dissipative systems, which are characterized by a one-dimensional, irreversible time (e.g. eddies, laser radiation, oscillations). This irreversibility is an essential condition for consistent behaviors in populations of trillions of trillions of molecules.

Revision of the deterministic physical laws
It becomes possible to overcome the contradictions between the reversible laws of dynamics and the evolutionary description associated with entropy, by extending dynamics to unstable and chaotic systems.
At and around the equilibrium, the laws of nature maintain their universality. Far from the equilibrium, they depend on the type of unstable irreversible processes. This instability can be incorporated into the basic laws with the introduction of statistics. Thus, the laws of nature become pure possibilities. There are no certainties any more. The laws describe a `becoming' not a `being'.
Irreversibility may lead to the formation of molecules which could not be synthesized in conditions close to equilibrium. In this case, she becomes a part of matter.

An eternal time?
Irreversible processes associated with dynamic instabilities have played a decisive role in the universe since its birth. In this perspective, time is eternal: it has neither a beginning nor an end. We could create a theory which combines certain elements of the two traditional cosmological models, the steady state and the big bang. The first model would be applicable to the pre-universe, an unstable environment that produced our universe, while the second would apply specifically to our universe.

This controversial book is a must for anyone interested in contemporary physics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird science, 21 Sep 2009
By 
M. Sahibzada (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
This book is a fusion of science and philosophy. Ilya Prigogine is a legend in the field of thermodynamics, where he showed that chaotic or oscillating processes come about sometimes when a chemical system lies in a far-from-equilibrium state in relation to the environment. Prigogine discovered that ordered, complex structures can be produced from this state of chaos. He called these dissipative structures. There are many philosophical implications that flow from his theory, e.g. that time can only go in one direction. The theory contravenes the very idea of determinism in that it is impossible to predict the outcome of chaotic processes.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science finds time, it's about time! Philosophically import., 31 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
Oh well, I loved this book and think Prigogine's work is of fundamental importance. The math's not bad if you're from an engineering or science background, otherwise skip the math -- the text in the first 3 and ending chapters makes the point.
One of the other reviewers got it all wrong. Just like we all seem to accept that there are no infinite velocities -- they do not exist -- so too, there is no infinitely precise location -- it does not exist either, independent of whether there's an observer or not. Without infinite precision, you get time, creativity and with a little intelligence, meaning (my claim, not Ilya's. Well at least science doesn't preclude it anymore...sort of a multi-century "D'oh!").
Probability is now the fundamental unit of understanding and dynamics, not trajectories. What's neat is how well this dovetails into the Process Philosophers and theologians like Whitehead and Rav Abrahan Cook as well as Bhaskara way back in the 10th century.
The section on cosmology is well in line with recent findings. I recommend the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful ideas - even without the maths, 3 Sep 2011
By 
Steven Unwin "Steve Unwin" (Preston, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
At the heart of this book is a challenge to the bedrock of our current scientific thinking. Newton's science, and indeed that of quantum physics contains no arrow of time. Whilst it may be true that knowing the current movement of balls on a pool table not only reveals where they will go, but also where they have come from, in contrast all around us we see a world that is deeply time irreversible. Smoke and embers do not spontaneously form into pieces of wood and fragments of glass do not leap onto tables to form the shape of a vase.

As Prigigone points out, all of our time reversible equations describe a simplification of what actually occurs in nature. We live our lives with eyes blinkered, dismissing reality as the exception to our neatly formed approximations.

Nobel laureate Prigigone does his best to avoid the mathematics as he describes ground breaking ideas that challenge and redefine science and through it the way we comprehend our world. In doing so it shakes the foundations of our knowledge and points not just to new understanding but new ways of understanding a universe governed by probabilities.

In my case at least, Prigigone did not fully succeed and there are parts of the book in which my lack of mathematical knowledge left me floundering. However don't be put off and feel free to skip the middle chapters. The key ideas all shine through even without the maths and will feed the open mind of those seeking a real understanding of the natural world.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The late Physicist Prigogine (1917-2003) has pushed our Science further to materialistic side to solve the time paradox, 1 Aug 2011
By 
Masayoshi Ishida "Non-Materialist" (Tokai-mura Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
First of all the author defines the "time paradox" as follows: "Yet everywhere--in chemistry, geology, cosmology, biology, and the human sciences--past and future play different roles. How can the arrow of time emerge from what physics describe as a time symmetrical world? This is the time paradox, one of the central concerns of this book."
(1) The most important thing we have learnt in the transition from classical to quantum physics is, I think, closely related with our epistemology & ontology of physical reality or reality in general.
However, the author quotes P.C.W. Davies' writing (in 1989) of quantum mechanics putting us in a position of an observer: "..., but when an observation takes place, we get nonsense! Attempts to break out of this paradox range from the bizarre, such as the many universes interpretation of Hugh Everett, to the mystical ideas of John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner, who invoke the observer's consciousness... The problem of physics of the very small and the very large are formidable, but it may be that this frontier--the interface of mind and matter--will turn out to be the most challenging legacy of the New Physics."
(2) Measurement by an observer of a quantum system is an irreversible process which introduces an arrow of time in the process; that is, this arrow of time is of a very much anthropocentric concept. The author expresses this situation as our being a "demiurge" that creates the world, whether it is the "one world" or "many-worlds."
(3) The author writes that both this quantum paradox and the time paradox have the same origin that our fundamental laws of physics are time reversible and do not include the "arrow of time" in their formulations.
(4) Based on the ideas of Poincare' resonances and the laws of chaos, the author proposes a new approach to the whole physics (ranging from Newtonian mechanics, to Einstein's special as well as general relativity theories, to quantum theory, and to cosmology) to describe the nature. The author summarizes the result for quantum mechanics in his new formulation: "There is no collapse of the wave function, as the dynamical laws are now at the level of "density matrix," and not of "wave function." Moreover, the observer no longer plays any special role. The measurement device has to present a broken time symmetry." [Though the device still has to be prepared by an observer!] The author closes chapter 6 (A unified formulation of quantum theory) with the following words: "In this sense, our approach restores sanity [from the insanity of "we get nonsense!" in the above-quoted Davies' words]. It eliminates the anthropocentric features implicit in the traditional formulation of quantum theory. Perhaps this would have made quantum theory more acceptable to Einstein."
(5) This is why I put the title of my review as so. However, I wonder: Is this really a triumph of the author's drastically new approach to physics, eliminating "this frontier--the interface of mind and matter" from physics (as quoted from Davies above)? Because of my being a non-materialist, alas, I regret the missing of the role of observer!
(6) Recently I read the book by Philosopher Georges Dicker "Berkeley's Idealism: A Critical Examination (2011, Oxford University Press)." In Preface the author, Dicker, writes: ... It [this book] is, rather, a statement to the genius of this then twenty-five-year old prodigy that some three hundred years later, graying professors of philosophy such as myself should find his work so fascinating and rewarding as to want to engage with it, using the method of analytic philosophy to assess the challenging arguments that the good bishop offered for his visionary idealism.
And the following is what I posted as a customer review for the book:
Now, from my point of view, there is a big question from the start about "the existence of one objective physical reality." Who guarantees it?
Berkeley assumed that it is the infinite Mind, God, who guarantees it!
Modern philosophers, I believe, assume that it is modern physicists!
Modern physicists may say that (according to a poll [conducted in 1995: visit wikipedia.org]) 58% of them subscribe to the idea of Many-Worlds Interpretation and the rest may do to the Copenhagen Interpretation. However, either interpretation does not guarantee the objectivity of physical reality. Rather, both conclude that a physical reality, being observed by an observer or selected by a life-experiencing personality, is at least very much subjective, and to prove its objectivity is not an easy problem, if not impossible. As a matter of fact, the late physicist John Wheeler posed a yet-to-be-answered question: How come the "one world" out of many observer-participants? (1990) (By the way I believe the answer may be found in the knowledge of psychical research, which Wheeler called as "pathological science," using the term coined in 1953 by the physicist Langmuir; that is, there is no such thing as the "one world" but "many coherent subjective worlds" through subconscious telepathy.) However, it is true that modern physicists do not like to argue about subjectivity vs. objectivity of physical reality. ...

(7) Now, I have to modify the above review for Dicker's book:
"...and some of the rest may do to the Copenhagen Interpretation. However, either interpretation does not guarantee the objectivity of physical reality. Rather, both conclude that ..., and to prove its objectivity is not an easy problem, if not impossible. At least, Ilya Prigogine seems to have successfully eliminated the role of observer in quantum theory; hence, some of the rest physicists may subscribe to Prigogine's drastically new idea.
Then, are graying philosopher Dicker and his colleagues wasting their precious time left in their mortal life, engaging with Berkeley's idea with their analytic philosophy for a critical examination of the Idealism??
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Einstein was wrong part 2 ..., 4 Nov 2010
By 
Giovanni A. Orlando "GOrlando" (Benevento, ITALY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
Professor and Nobel Prize Ilya Prigogine opens great sights in him books. This book is in some sense the companion of him book, "Is Future Given?" ... that I comment on my Website ... getting it from the web.

Their clarity is really great and fundamental in the complex word to fix and heal "Physics"
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6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I've still got my certainty..., 13 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
The author seems too argumentative in this book. His main premise seems to rest on the idea that we cannot succesfully achieve the needed precision of measurment to show time as reversible. I am of the belief that laws of nature hold, regardless of our precision of measurement. Prigogine has Einstein rolling in his grave.
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The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature
The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature by Ilya Prigogine (Hardcover - 4 Aug 1997)
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