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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2013
I heard Smolin interviewed on a radio podcast (Discovery, I think) talking about this book. It was an interesting and thoughtful interview and this is a writer who normally does not disappoint, However, I found this book a dismal and sisappointing experience. The premise (i.e. the 'death' of time is not at all established) and the solution (and its consequences) is not at all convincingly outlined. Instead, the book reads like a self jsutification and it seems that all the points Smolin wishes to make are held to be almost self-evidently true while the opposing view is helf to be self-evidently false.

This should have been an excellent read, after all the conundrum of the way we experience time is a deep one. However, by delving dangerously close to the realm of pseudo-science this book did not address the key issues for me at all. Really disappointing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2014
Probably the best book in the temporal nature of the universe I have ever read. In part 1, Smolin describes how time is treated in our current theories of physics (from Newtonian mechanics, through Relativity to The Standard Model) - they effectively remove it. He also explains why such an approach cannot be applied to the universe as a whole. In part 2, he shows how many of the problems in physics can be overcome by embracing the reality of time. He discusses an evolving universe (as opposed to a multiverse) approach, how quantum mechanics and relativity might be united and how we can address time's apparent arrow. A very insightful book, albeit, a little bit of a drag at the end. Smolin can labour the point somewhat. But, thoroughly recommended if you are interested in the very fabric of physics and how we may take it forward in the future.
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on 15 April 2015
Very interesting book
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on 4 February 2015
very enjoyable book
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2013
Mathematics will continue to be a handmaiden to Science, but she can no longer be Queen"
Beyond all the great chat in this book about Time and bringing it back into being a fundamental part of Physics and Cosmology, there appears, as seen in the quote above, to be a more fundamental message the author is trying to get across and that is that Maths is no longer the Queen but the Handmaiden of Science and indeed that Maths is now inhibiting development of a more complete understanding of Cosmology and all of this comes down to the notion that Maths cannot handle Time. It cannot the author claims handle the fact that in the "real world it is always some particular moment"

As the author himself alludes to Time will tell if he is correct but the strength of argument is certainly there.

His thesis on the Evolution of the Laws of Physics via a sort of natural Selection is Fascinating

The book is not quite as easy reading as a number of these types of popular science books but it is well worth the extra effort.

I do hope he is correct as his Physics sound so much more Fun than where we are headed at the moment
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2014
Really good. If you are thinking of reading this book then look at 'The Trouble with Physics' also by Lee Smolin.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2014
Maybe I am just not smart enough but I found a lot of the concept hard to follow . I may have to read it again.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2013
A - much needed - whole new approach to fundamental physics, breaking away from the Newtonian view of time. A must read... and a good read.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 August 2013
Time has reality,it runs and we age.To Einstein the passing of time( and to theoretical physicists) was an illusion.Difficulties that face contemporary physicists-eg the difficulties of bringing reality into line with the rest of currently accepted reality-lies in overturning this orthodoxy and reaffirming the view non-physicistshare, their experience of the reality of time.The reason physicists have come to reject the reality of time,is their bewitchment by the beauty and success of the mathematical models they use into mistaking these models for reality. Timelessness,though not a feature of our world,is a feature of mathematics.Timeless truths,like 2+2=4,are eternal truths.If we can have timeless truths in mathematics,why not in physics?We forget that the objects of mathematics-numbers,curves etc-do not exist,whereas physics concerns itself with what does exist,and in the domain of things that do exist,time is inescapable. The postulation of timeless mathematical laws is never completely innocent, for it always carries a trace of the metaphysical fantasy of transcendence from our earthly world.Either the world is in essence mathematical or it lives in time.Husserl spoke of the"mathematisation of Nature".Galileo and Newton played their part,the 1st for discovering that falling bodies are described by a simple mathematical curve, the 2nd for showing that the force that impels those falling bodies along that curve is the same force that impels the earth along its path around the sun and that sends apples crashing to the ground.After Newton we lived in a single, unified world as eternal and divine as a mathematical curve.

Though Newton's theories of gravity were superseded by Einstein's,the world of general relativity,no less than Newton's laws of motion,is still represented by a mathematical object,and it still invites us to regard the world(mistakenly) as pristine and timeless.When we deny the reality of time,we are confusing a mathematicalmodel with what it is modelling.Even the laws of physics evolve and change over time.Theories of multiple universes may be based on fundamental misconceptions.This book is aimed at the general reader,and is very easy to grasp,without jargon.Even if everybody believes an idea in a field of physics,that can't be shown,then you should challenge it,investigate the opposite.He's following in a tradition of Pierce (philosopher) and Dirac,that laws evolve in time.If the universe is emulatable by a computer,then we are also emulatable by a computer.Therefore you'd be able to make a computer that was conscious,as intelligent as we are,in artificial intelligence.If the present moment is real,then there is not a precise mathematical model of reality.He's for Leibnitz's theory of a whole universe based on the principle of sufficient reason,where everything lives not in space but in a network of relationships.

There is no mathematical model for the flow of present moments.The world works fundamentally in time,there is no timeless purity.There is room for our imaginations, novel ideas, works of art,solutions to our political problems. We're not just atoms moving around in empty space, obeying mathematical laws.There is no equilibrium, just change and time. Everything changes and everything evolves,so that as human beings we work this change and evolve our societies and our thinking.This colours our conception of who we are,what the meaning of life is.The experience we have of life in time is driven by deep needs that include ourselves.Our conception of who we are is coloured by everything we love and look forward to,not as epiphenomena, illusions,that would alienate us from our deepest needs.We must liberate ourselves from false metaphysics or the real world being a transcendent, timeless, mathematical world to a picture of nature in which it's still governed by those laws,but in which novelty,the present moment is real and in which our experiences have a real place in the natural world.Our view becomes more optimistic.

In economics there is supposed equilibrium if the market's left to itself.This is not the way real markets function. They are historical,time-dependent,based on change. But the dogma is there is one equilibrium,which you should not interfere with or regulate.But when many equilibria are possible,the notion that politics plays a role becomes paramount,the notion that regulation make sure you're in an equilibrium with some conception that people are treated with fairness,and there is some stability and justice in the market become important.History and politics change.Politics should not be a war between static positions,it should be the art of proposing novel solutions.Ourdesire should be to work this change into our thinking for the best happiness of everybody.He rules religion out because of the 2 rules that govern science and also govern how a democratic society works:if there is an issue that can be decided by appeal to the evidence,by rational argument from the evidence,we must so decide.

This is the way juries work,parliaments work and science.If a prediction goes against him or an experiment,he's prepared to say the idea is wrong.As long as people of faith are willing to concede those theories he has definitive proof about,theory of evolution, the human causes of climate change,he's happy to live in a pluralistic society in which people believe in metaphysical things of a religion that he doesn't believe.He's for the public understanding of science(hence the clarity),hes' willing to take them into the process of science in the making. He's willing to expose ideas he can make a scientific case for,which are not yet demonstrated by experiment,and he trusts the public have the interest and the maturity to know how to separate a discussion about science in progress from a report about science that's been settled.Science is dependent upon the public good will because in particle physics,astronomy,cosmology,the experiments and observations are very expensive, they need the public to understand the adventure that they're on in order to have the support,that they're spending the money for good reasons for matters of fundamental importance,deepening our knowledge of nature. He's cleverly left out the maths or put difficult stuff online so we can follow the ideas. One of the best science books I've read in some time.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2013
I read a great deal of this stuff despite being neither a mathematician nor a physicist. This is a complex and demanding read but deeply satisfying. It sustains a well substantiated argument from page one to the end. The basic proposition is that , like everything else, the universe evolves and this requires time therefore time is real and if that is the case then it is difficult to posit a case for continuous equilibrium.Smolin is particularly good on the physics/philosophy interface and is prepared to own up to the areas he struggles with.He points out with a logic often overlooked by the more Messianic statements from the 'universe in a box' school that while Maths is a great explainer and sophisticated language it is not the causal driver of the universe. There were bits I struggled with such as how an infinite universe hits a boundary but this was a great and enhancing read.
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