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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new formulation of the laws of physics, 18 May 2010
This review is from: The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature (Hardcover)
In this iconoclastic book, Ilya Prigogine argues for a concept of total indeterminacy by incorporating time in the current deterministic scientific laws.

Time in modern physics
Ilya Prigogine observes that the time dimension incorporated in the basic laws of physics, the classical Newtonian dynamics, relativity or quantum physics, does not make a distinction between the past and the future. There is no arrow of time, as in chemistry, geology, biology or the humanities. However, we should incorporate an evolutionary aspect (indeterminacy) in our physical laws, by revising the concept of time.

Revision of the concept of time in physics
The physics of non-equilibrium processes study dissipative systems, which are characterized by a one-dimensional, irreversible time (e.g. eddies, laser radiation, oscillations). This irreversibility is an essential condition for consistent behaviors in populations of trillions of trillions of molecules.

Revision of the deterministic physical laws
It becomes possible to overcome the contradictions between the reversible laws of dynamics and the evolutionary description associated with entropy, by extending dynamics to unstable and chaotic systems.
At and around the equilibrium, the laws of nature maintain their universality. Far from the equilibrium, they depend on the type of unstable irreversible processes. This instability can be incorporated into the basic laws with the introduction of statistics. Thus, the laws of nature become pure possibilities. There are no certainties any more. The laws describe a `becoming' not a `being'.
Irreversibility may lead to the formation of molecules which could not be synthesized in conditions close to equilibrium. In this case, she becomes a part of matter.

An eternal time?
Irreversible processes associated with dynamic instabilities have played a decisive role in the universe since its birth. In this perspective, time is eternal: it has neither a beginning nor an end. We could create a theory which combines certain elements of the two traditional cosmological models, the steady state and the big bang. The first model would be applicable to the pre-universe, an unstable environment that produced our universe, while the second would apply specifically to our universe.

This controversial book is a must for anyone interested in contemporary physics.
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Location: Beernem, Belgium

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