From the best-selling author of The Emperor’s New Mind and The Road to Reality, a groundbreaking book that provides new views on three of cosmology’s most profound questions: What, if anything, came before the Big Bang? What is the source of order in our universe? What is its ultimate future?
Current understanding of our universe dictates that all matter will eventually thin out to zero density, with huge black holes finally evaporating away into massless energy. Roger Penrose—one of the most innovative mathematicians of our time—turns around this predominant picture of the universe’s “heat death,” arguing how the expected ultimate fate of our accelerating, expanding universe can actually be reinterpreted as the “Big Bang” of a new one.
Along the way to this remarkable cosmological picture, Penrose sheds new light on basic principles that underlie the behavior of our universe, describing various standard and nonstandard cosmological models, the fundamental role of the cosmic microwave background, and the key status of black holes. Ideal for both the amateur astronomer and the advanced physicist—with plenty of exciting insights for each—Cycles of Time is certain to provoke and challenge.
Intellectually thrilling and accessible, this is another essential guide to the universe from one of our preeminent thinkers.
©2011 Roger Penrose (P)2011 Random House
Somehow Roger Penrose has a reputation as an explainer of cutting-edge scientific ideas to the lay public. This is the first of his books that I have read, and I am disappointed.
A major technical problem with the audiobook is the constant references to a PDF of diagrams which makes the discussion impossible to follow while driving or working in the garden.
But beyond that, the author steps way back and teaches us the physics of Entropy in tedious detail. I suspect it is a cover for the fact that he, and no one else, really understands time at all! Perhaps they think that if they can make us fall asleep listening to the finer points of entropy, we will believe that our great scientists must really understand this. But I believe that if they understood time, they would be able to explain it.
When he talks about the universe and cosmology, he takes something of great beauty and deep mystery, and somehow makes it boring and dry. It is like the entomologist who would rather keep a collection of dead insects under glass than watch the creatures living in the wild. All the beauty and wonder are sucked out of it.
It is as if the subject of cosmology has had all the mystical lifeblood drained out of it, and its dead remains were pressed into the pages of this book. Buried deep in this pile of ashes is the suggestion that the universe goes through great cycles of expansion and contraction. Doesn't that sound marvelous? So why does it sound so boring in the pages of this book?
Someone who already knows about the subject and just wants equations he can't see.
There is no story -- at least for the first 30 minutes when I gave up. It's more like a math textbook, and that translates horribly to storytelling, especially for audio, when it requires looking at equations and mentions diagrams we can't see.
I don't know, but this narrator came off as pretentious which didn't help this subject.
These kinds of subjects -- quantum physics, relativity etc. -- can work but you have to tell a story. You can't get into equations and diagrams when you can't see them. For audio, you must tell a compelling story instead of just be a reference book.
Four similar books that know how to tell a story are: The Age of Entanglement, Quantum, Parallel Worlds, The Grand Design.
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