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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Kurt and Albert let time disappear, 13 Jan. 2008
This review is from: A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein (Paperback)
In 1949 Kurt Gödel, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the twentieth century, was asked to contribute to a festive book commemmorating the seventieth birthday of his good friend Albert Einstein. He decided on some fooling around with general relativity and succeeded in constructing a universe without time. It is just possible that time is an illusion and travelling through it is perfectly feasible.

Einstein was impressed, though slightly disapppointed that his theory hadn't been the final word on time after all. Both giants of science continued to discuss the possibility the rest of their lives. The rest of science has found the idea so counterintuitive that it has hardly been explored.

This is what Palle Yourgrau, a professor of philosophy at Brandeis University, stands to correct. Despite his fine nose for human interest, which he sprinkles liberally over the pages, this is not a book for beginners, as it requires more than a smithereen of background (but not a phd) in modern physics and mathematical logic. For those who wield some command of these subjects 'A world without time' is a delightfully original read.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Apr 2008 19:25:57 BDT
Well Godel wasn't "one of the most brilliant mathematicians" of the 20th century. He solved one of Hilberts problems and made some contributions to the Continuum Hypothesis but there are far, far, far more important mathematicians. What is also neglected in this book is that by 1949, Einstein had long ceased to make contributions to physics, was well past his prime, considered an irrelevancy and probably a bit embarrassing to the people who remembered his heyday.

Yourgrau has taken the musings of two geniuses who were frankly has beens and blown it out of proportion. It is an experimental FACT that Godel's solution in no way describes our universe and even if it did, it doesn't have the features Yourgrau ascribes to it. Again one suspects he doesn't really understand what he is talking about.
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