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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

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New edition edition (21 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006544622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006544623
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 782,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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'

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you've ever wanted to know about Einstein's Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Chaos and Thermodynamics then this book's for you. Pulling all these topics together by trying to see what they can tell us about 'Time', this book is a highly enjoyable read and IS suited to the beginner. My only reservation is that it is over ten years old now, and therefore misses out the recent developments in the world of Physics.
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....?
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Format: Paperback
This book explains clearly and consisely how time may or may not work in our universe. However, if you want to learn more about this subject it may not be the wisest book to begin with. While it has an introduction to astrophysics, its still quite complex and confusing at times. However, its totally fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
The Arrow of Time: The quest to solve science’s greatest mystery by Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield, Flamingo (HarperCollins), 1991, 382 ff

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.
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