Customer Reviews


38 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


50 of 52 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 18 months ago by Brian Clegg

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars How long have you got?
Physics has encountered a tough problem in explaining why the fundamental constants which define the masses, charges and interactions of particles have the values they do. This impasse, decades in duration, has been analysed by Lee Smolin in his 2006 book, "The Trouble with Physics".

Foremost among attempts at its resolution are schemes containing a plethora of...
Published 1 day ago by M. Woodman


Most Helpful First | Newest First

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Reborn Lee Smolin, "TIME: Is the elephant in the room wearing the emperor's new robe?" M.Marsden, 3 Oct 2014
Time Reborn Lee Smolin, "Is the elephant in the room wearing the emperor's new robe?" M.Marsden

While I respect professor Smolin and his work, and I completely agree there is a crisis with the theory of time, but I have a fundamental problem with the reasoning behind this book from the outset. Because, it starts from the position "time is real", as opposed to checking our most basic observations and building from there. E.g. that "matter seems to exist", and "matter seems to be moving and interacting within and around us".

I think if Lee Smolin built up logically from these simple, checkable observations, (that things `just' exist, and `are' moving and interacting) he might find that they alone may be enough to mislead us into (imo probably wrongly) assuming terms like the "past", "future" and thus "time" are scientifically valid ( as opposed to just being (admittedly very useful) `ideas').

For example, in the preface of "Time Reborn" it is suggested...

1-Whatever is real in our universe is real in a moment of time, which is one of a succession of moments.

2-The past was real but is no longer real. We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in the present.

3-The future does not yet exist and is therefore open. We can reasonably infer some predictions, but we cannot predict the future completely. Indeed, the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel, in the sense that no knowledge of the past could have anticipated them.

4-Nothing transcends time, not even the laws of nature. Laws are not timeless. Like everything else, they are features of the present, and they can evolve over time.

(Smolin, Lee. Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Kindle Locations 132-133). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition. My numbering)

But if we consider each of these suggestions objectively, without just taking common assumptions as `probably' being true, then I think the following possible flaws are found...

1-Whatever is real in our universe is real in a moment of time, which is one of a succession of moments.

Despite the idea that there are "moments", and "successions of moments", this does not seem to be actually observed, or scientifically proven. All we seem to observe is a vast collection of matter, each part of which, seems always and only to be somewhere, doing something, moving and changing.

Comparing some motion, to the motion of a hand rotating on a numbered dial, does not prove there are `moments' or successions of moments, it is only if we just assume there are `moments' , we see nothing to disprove this. (which is in no way a scientific proof our assumption is correct).

2-The past was real but is no longer real. We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in the present.

This quote implies there is a thing or place called "the past", that might be legitimately scientifically discussed, but no experimental proof exists to show this is more than just an idea. If a human is looking at an example of motion, some of the physical contents of their brain may indeed be being reorganised. And we may wish to `call' these patterns "memories of `the past'" , but themselves they prove only that matter `is' existing, and interacting , and not that a thing called `time' also exists, and involves a `past'.

Also the statement "The past was real but is no longer real", is , with respect, illogical...
A key question that needs to be answered here, may be,

Q- "is there a 'past', or is there not a `past, but only a mistaken and confusing idea of a `past'... that leads to (imo) self invalidating sentences like... "The past was real but is no longer real"?

The suggestion "We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in t, he present. " seems invalid, because all the evidence we see around us seems only to prove that "matter exists, and `is' moving and interacting". Therefore we cannot analyze `the past', or prove it is a valid concept, we can only analyse the patterns in our minds, and the formations of matter around us.

3-The future does not yet exist and is therefore open. We can reasonably infer some predictions, but we cannot predict the future completely. Indeed, the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel, in the sense that no knowledge of the past could have anticipated them.

Without substantial proof, as per the scientific method, I would suggest the term `the future' may be invalid, and reference only an `idea' within human minds. As such the `idea' proves only that matter exists, and can be coaxed into intricate formations in human minds. The idea of `the future' may make the basis for a theory and hypothesis, which thus needs scientific proof, none of which seems evident.

The suggestion "We can reasonably infer some predictions", used the word "predictions", which implies there is a `future', that we can predict. I would suggest that while we may write down `it will rain' on a piece of paper all this proves is that matter (us, the pen, the paper) exist, and can `be' interacting. The atmosphere around us is also changing, but this proves only that matter ( air, water etc) exists, and is moving and interacting. At no point do we see anything come out of , or go into a `future', so claiming our note is a `prediction', of a `future', is, imo invalid, unless one can prove the matter in the universe is not "just" existing and interacting constantly in countless ways.

Re: "the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel",
I would suggest there only seems to be a consistent set of universal matter, which under the laws of nature, and intelligent manipulation, where energy is available, can be constantly being configured in countless ways, all of which are just, always, possible.
To suggest a thing called "the future" also exists, and, extra to the laws of nature and energy, produces each formation does not seem to be observed. E.g. Watch an approaching cloud, it "is" changing as it "is" approaching, but all of its matter seems only to exist, and we don't actually seem to see any thing, or phenomena "come out of", or proof of , the existence of a "future".

4-Nothing transcends time, not even the laws of nature. Laws are not timeless. Like everything else, they are features of the present, and they can evolve over time.

This statement is only true IF a thing called "time" exists. The laws of nature seem only to show how matter is existing, and how it is interacting in all locations. The suggestion "these laws are not timeless" , would need to be verified by an experiment that showed that extra to energy, physical interactions `also' need a thing called `time' to be existing and `passing', and a valid reason for even suspecting this (let alone a proof), should be given.

It is agreed the laws of nature themselves may `be' changing, and changing in all locations, and in all directions, but to say they `can evolve over time', one would have to prove time exists, and explain what `over' time meant.

More to the point I suggest that any of the statements above need to be shown to require more than "just matter existing and interacting" to be valid, for the more complex conclusion that `a thing called time also exists' to be reasonable proven, rather than just an accepted, (and probably very misleading from the start) Argumentum ad populum, that a thing called time must exist'.

The fact, extra to just personal opinion, and shared assumptions, there seems to be no scientific proof, or experiments as per the scientific method, to demonstrate that `the past', `the future', or `time' are more than useful ways of describing motion - but no scientist seems to notice or care about this - seems to me to be the "elephant in the room" here, and the fact many people seem to just accept that a completely unobservable `past, and completely unobservable `future', and completely unobservable thing called `time'... just exist `exist' makes as much sense as proving a naked emperor proves invisible clothes exist, hence I wonder not is time reborn, but whether the elephant in the room is indeed wearing the emperor's new robe.

Matthew Marsden. (Auth).
A Brief History of Time-lessness (r2): "Does Time exist?", "What is Time?","Is Time-Travel possible?" - We examine how all these questions may unfounded, if everything is 'timeless'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Challenging ideas, 16 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
This book starts well , summarizing what is known about the nature of time. however later in the book the arguments became more vague, and I became somewhat confused as what the proposition was. The conclusion / epilogue wandered off to another topic, instead of wrapping up the proposition. Worth reading at a low price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 14 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a shame he strayed outside his field into climate change and economics, otherwise an interesting theory. Give it a go.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maths: no longer the substitue god, 10 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 12 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Hardcover)
This book was all I could have wished it to be. An excellent author on top of his game. I highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Reborn, 4 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, 25 Jun 2013
By 
D. Jefferies - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intuitively explained, 7 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. Alexander J. Hewitt (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
i am a 2nd year studying physics, so i thought i would give this book a go. I'm glad i did, it really makes you think but still is easy to understand. I'm still not sure if i believe time is real or an illusion, but i will keep thinking about for the rest of my life im sure
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 25 Aug 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Perfect
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe
£16.59
Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews