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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real eye-opening science speculation
Lee Smolin's book is largely accessible (more on this later) and simply mind-boggling in its scope. What he does here is take on time, and specifically the position of time in physics. Even taken as a simple book on time this is brilliant. The fact is, the majority of books that claim to be about time tell you nothing. It's striking that A Brief History of Time tells us...
Published 10 months ago by B. M. Clegg

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good effort
This book doesn't quite bridge the gap between popular science and a scholarly essay. The author belabours many of his points in order to demolish arguments the lay person isn't really aware of. I got the point and was bogged down in much of the proof at the end.
Published 6 months ago by B. Portes


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Reborn, 4 July 2013
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
An amazing author on the subject of time following every avenue of thought throughout the history of the human race and beyond.
Worth a read just to make you rethink.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, 25 Jun 2013
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D. Jefferies - See all my reviews
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As a reader with a PhD in Physics, I found this book interesting as a kind of diversion from more mundane things. There is a rundown of modern physics which, as far as I can judge, is somewhat accurate, and some interesting "personal to the author" speculative takes. My five stars on Amazon is NO WAY an endorsement of the thesis of this book!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious facts and dangerous fiction, 31 Aug 2013
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
In this eminent book Lee Smolin tackles such crucial issues as the nature of mathematics and of the laws of physics, determinism, the reality/illusion of time and, ultimately, the moral lessons to be learnt from the different points of view. (PC = personal comment)

Mathematics, laws of physics
As J. von Neumann said: `a mathematical formulation necessarily represents only a theory of some phase (aspects) of reality, and not reality itself.'
Also for Lee Smolin, `mathematics is only a hand maiden to science. It comes in reality after science.' `Those burdened by the metaphysical presupposition that the purpose of science is to discover timeless truths represented by timeless mathematical objects might think that eliminating time, and so making the universe akin to a mathematical object is a route to a scientific cosmology. But it turns out to be the opposite.' `The ultimate governing language of science is language.'
The mathematical `laws' of physics are only formulas which, of course, can explain behaviors of the physical forces.
(PC) Naked numbers don't exist in the real world; they have to be combined with real things: `1 cow + 3 sheep = 4 animals.'

Determinism
Physical determinism is sometimes called `the Newtonian paradigm' or `Laplace's demon'. It states that one can predict the future state of any system from its initial conditions and the laws acting on it.
(PC) In this view all actions (also human ones) are predetermined. This is the same vision on life as the one formulated in Calvinistic Predestination. Man has no personal responsibility: he only can guess if he is elected or not.

Laws of combined physical forces and time (PC)
If time has to be eliminated in order to better understand the action of a physical force, why not?
Another matter is the elimination of time for events (facts) provoked by a combination of physical forces.
The perhaps only universal physical law of `action and reaction' points unambiguously to a process in time (present, future, past) of successive interrelated events. Lee Smolin gives a luminous example of one such process: `the Darwinian biology is the prototype for thinking in time because at its heart is the realization that natural processes developing in time can lead to the creation of genuinely novel structures.'

Moral lessons (PC)
Determinism and the illusion of time are not only outlandish concepts, but also immoral ones.
Calling the dropping of an atom bomb (an event) and its future effects (they are still going on) an illusion in a deterministic (forgive them, for they had to do it) universe, is nothing less than a monstrous insult of the victims.
Also, all those who continue to believe in a timeless `block universe' could be in for a nasty surprise: a world transformed into a terrestrial island full of `penguin bunches' composed by human beings who were chased from their homes by climate change.

One can only hope that all true scientists support Lee Smolin's truly crucial vision that `time will turn out to be the only aspect of everyday experience; that there is an arrow of time, a strong ordering of events in time.'

This thought-provoking book is a must read for all those who want to understand the universe we live in.
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13 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More science confusion: "What is Time" - its obvious, 15 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
Reading this book leaves me in despair. There is something deeply wrong in the collective thinking process that scientists use when such basic academic rigour as "check your terminology" is ignored.
Nowhere in Prof Smolin's book does he attempt to breakdown the word Time. He, like all scientists who write on the subject (Carroll, Hawkin etc), starts with a muddled assumption about the word Time, and then tries, pathetically, to explain this muddle using wacky science. And fails.
Start with the basics, Prof Smolin - look in your dictionary. The understanding of Time lies in the word. It's a semantics thing NOT a physics thing.
The truth is, if you distil down the (various and broad) dictionary definitions of time (www.thisistime.co.uk) it is in fact a very simple concept:-

1. It's a measurement, calibration and referencing framework for change (events and intervals). [Intervals can themselves be re-defined simply as external event calibration; so time is an abstract framework for measuring and referencing events], and
2. Time is a mass noun that also refers to change (events and interval), but as an indefinite, unspecified set (as is the intrinsic quality of mass nouns).

That's makes time a subtle, slippery, abstract thing - it has two root meanings that appear very similar, and are easily confused and interchanged - but academics who write on the subject have no excuse for not making the differentiation.

Science doesn't have the answer to "what is time". Semantics does. And it is very simple. It's a word used to frame and reference events. Yes, it's an abstract.
Physicists are too inebriated by this sort of uber-abstracting to want to hear this simple thing, I know.
If you enjoy this pseudo-intellectual confusion, then read the book. If you like clarity and rationale save yourself Time, don't bother.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See page 173, The Emergence of Space, 10 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
If," the number of neighbors nearest you grows proportionally to the number of dimensions", in three dimensional space you may have up to six neighbors, maybe in two and a half dimensional space you only have up to five neighbors, distributed around a cardioid or apple shaped neighborhood. If antimatter occupies a three dimensional hole within space, does it have up to six very anti-neighbors? Is there such a thing as fractional space?
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gift, 6 Aug 2013
By 
Mrs. J. E. Murphy "Asor" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
It was for my son. It was a surprise and he was delighted. He had it on his 'wish list' but had not known he was about to receive it as he already believed he had had everything from me already, for his birthday.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A woolly unsubstantiated diatribe, 15 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
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 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Reborn book, 16 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
if you like science fiction this is for you .bought this for my dad he is hooked now with this author.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 22 July 2013
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This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
Spend a bit more money and read Roger Penrose.
This writer is 'proposing' that time is being 'forced out of the picture'. I will believe him when I see proof that, in relative terms, time does not slow down in the presence of a gravity field.
As for the 'Future of the Universe', let it worry about itself. (Ones 'concious time' is too short to seriously affect it).
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