The Arrow of Time: The Quest to Solve Science's Greatest Mystery: The Quest to Solve Science's Greatest Mysteries (Flamingo) Paperback – 21 Nov 1991
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From the Back Cover
In 'The Arrow of Time' physical chemist Dr Peter Coveney and award-winning science journalist Dr Roger Highfield have shaken the foundations of our understanding of science with their engrossing, controversial and engagingly humorous reinterpretation of the most profound aspect of time – why it points from the past to the future, like an arrow. Their highly accessible challenge to scientific preconceptions about the irreversibility of time is set to become a classic in linking apparently irreconcilable features of science, from Einstein's obsession with causality to chaos theory, from the cause of jet lag to that Monday morning feeling.
"I warmly welcome this book, which is written on a high scientific level while being accessible to a wide public."
PROFESSOR ILYA PRIGOGINE, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977
"A rare combination of intellect and descriptive power… 'The Arrow of Time' is in the best traditions of scientific argument and the effort of absorbing it will be well rewarded"
DR PETER POCKLEY, 'Financial Review'
"This is an important book… I heartily commend this volume"
JOHN LAURENT, 'New Scientist'
Top Customer Reviews
I bought this book thinking I was going to have to attack it with a determined concentration (like 'A Brief History of Time') half expecting not to finish it, but once I'd picked it up I couldn't put it down. It reads like a good TV documentary and doesn't dumb it down. In fact, it would make an excellent TV series. How about it....?
Dr Peter Coveney is a physicist working at a Cambridge Research Laboratory and Dr Roger Highfield is a journalist. Together they have produced a highly readable book though, dealing as it does with scientific problems, clearly some science background is necessary before reading it. The language is scientific, pitched at the level of a documentary that we might see on television. To be comfortable with reading this I suggest that readers need to be familiar with the top level of high-school science – but the explanations are clear, only the jargon may be a bit intimidating.
The range of topics covered is broad: beginning with ideas of time in literature and popular culture, it moves on quickly to the Second Law of Thermodynamics – the key to the directionality of time. The authors explain Boltzmann’s concept of entropy (the degree of disorder in a system) and show how this determines our vision of time’s arrow. They discuss how some equations in physics are time-independent whereas others involve a timescale. They explore the significance of time in relativity, quantum physics, cosmology and, inevitably, in thermodynamics and chaos theory.
There is an interesting Appendix on biological clocks, over 30 pages of Notes that expand on many of the topics covered, and a Bibliography of further reading. Now a quarter of a century old (but with a new edition imminent in 2015) this book is a fine overview of some of the most important topics in science today, though the latest discoveries about quarks and hadrons are not discussed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Drawing on physics, chemistry, 'chaos' and some philosophy this book does a good job of presenting a broad and interesting look at what time actually is. Read morePublished on 18 Jan. 2013 by GJ_Reading
I am very interested in mysteries, and science generally, so when I saw this book for sale in the Oxfam shop, I snapped it up. Read morePublished on 27 Dec. 2011 by W. Robinson