Time rules our lives, woven into the very fabric of the universe - from the rising and setting of the sun to the cycles of nature, the thought processes in our brains, and the biorhythms in our day. Nothing so pervades our existence and yet is so difficult to explain.
But now, in a series of 24 riveting lectures, you can grasp exactly why - as you take a mind-expanding journey through the past, present, and future, guided by a noted author and scientist. Designed for nonscientists as well as those with a background in physics, the lectures show how a feature of the world that we all experience - a process known as entropy - connects us to the instant of the formation of the universe, and possibly to a multiverse that is unimaginably larger and more varied than the known cosmos.
Drawing on such exciting ideas as black holes, cosmic inflation, and dark energy, the lectures also address a momentous question that until recently was considered unanswerable: What happened before the big bang? And while the focus is on physics, Professor Carroll also examines philosophical views on time, how we perceive and misperceive time, the workings of memory, and serious proposals for time travel, as well as imaginative ways that time has been disrupted in fiction.
"What is time?" asked Saint Augustine 1,600 years ago. "If no one asks me, I know. But if I wish to explain it to someone who asks, I know not." These lectures will move you much closer to an answer.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
These lectures were OK but they were almost completely a not as good rehash of the materials in the professors book From Eternity to Here. The book was quite good but took a few shortcuts describing entropy that made it difficult to fully understand. The lectures take even more shortcuts. There is not much point to the lectures after reading the book. Other than that, the lectures are pretty good, but the structure of the book is better and more carefully presented. So, get the book instead. If you like repetition, then do the lectures before the book.
Having read / listened to a number of "popular science" books (Greene, Hawking) that address the origin and fate of the universe, the concept of time and the role of entropy are familiar and central concepts in those books. It was about the third lecture of this series before I thought I learned anything new, but by slow accretion and careful explanation by Sean Carroll, I began to have a deeper understanding of time and why it is, indeed, still such a mystery Carroll has an earnest, engaging style. He does a good job of maintaining a coherent narrative through the lectures, so it is easy to follow his development of the topic. Not much math here (good from my perspective) except when he lays out Boltzman's equation for entropy. All in, I recommend this course. Like many of the concepts in modern physics, the ideas are counter-intuitive and elusive--at least to this former English major. Revisiting them from time to time is helpful in solidifying central concepts--and entropy / time is certainly one that deserves re-examination. Like all "Great Courses" lectures, these are survey level courses, so if you are someone who is calculating the trajectory of the next NASA probe to Mars, move along, there is nothing for you to see. But, if like me, you have a general interest in science, you will find this course worth your time and an enjoyable listen.
N/A (I have not read the print version)
The coverage of the material was well done. It is a fascinating topic to begin with, and the speaker clearly knows his field. He presents many aspects of time, and provides the listener with an intriguing journey. Furthermore, his style of speaking is entertaining and engaging. You won't be bored!
I have not listened to any of his other lectures.
I had two difficulties with these lectures. The first and least important is that the presenter seems to be speaking, rather than reading, which is fine--except that he makes frequent grammatical mistakes so that his sentences sound sometimes unprofessional. He would have done better to have written everything out clearly, and then followed his notes more closely.The more substantial problem is that the presenter frequently uses the teaching style of giving what he knows to be incorrect information; not telling the listener that it is incorrect; and then sometime later (perhaps many lectures later) correcting his earlier misinformation.For example: When he first introduces entropy (one of the central themes of the lectures), he defines it as a measure of the amount of disorder (paraphrasing here). As a physicist myself, I knew that this popular idea is entirely incorrect, and was appalled that he was actually putting it out there without comment. Sure enough, roughly 10 lectures later he provides an entirely different definition of entropy (the correct one), and tells the reader that what he said before was not correct. I consider this method of teaching to be at best unfortunate, and at worst inexcusably sloppy.I would not say that this problem overrides all of the good in these lectures (hence the 4-star rating), but Professor Carroll should definitely know better.Summary: A fascinating topic, presented by an engaging speaker. Just don't believe everything he says, until you're sure you've reached the end!
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Time, as a fourth dimension, is a mystery that Professor Sean Carroll partly unravels in a lecture series titled Mysteries of Modern Physics. Carroll helps Physics’ dilettantes, like this essayist, broaden understanding of the mechanics of the universe; albeit at the cost of some confusion and a headache.
Carroll defines words that are commonly understood by Physics’ students and vaguely or not understood by everyone else. He defines time’s arrow, entropy, and the second law of thermodynamics. Each definition offers insight to the mystery of time.
Time remains a mystery at the end of Carroll’s lectures. Travel to the future seems a possibility but travel to the past, a logical impossibility. Carroll speculates on the idea of a multiverse from periodic reversals in the arrow of time that creates new universes from new big bangs. There is much more in Carroll’s lectures that tickle the synapses and light up dendrites of a listener’s mind.
He gets very very technical and detailed. I got a lot out of each lecture.
I appreciated that he deconstructed this idea of the "laws of physics" being absolute. The second law of thermodynamics in particular.
Great lecturer. Has an engaging way of speaking and he prepared these lectures in a very accessible way.
Time is not what you think.
I said above that it's more about entropy than time. But, in the first lecture he points out that entropy is the best way to think about time. And he carries this through all the way to the end.
This was the most dense of the Great Courses Lectures I've listened to so far. Probably worth a second and third listen. You will get a lot out of it.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. —Wayne Gretzky
Physics is no easy subject, at least to me. Quantum theory harder still. However the author does a terrific job making theoretical physics accessible for the regular person. On top of that, there is just so much interresting stuff in this book that it is almost impossible to get everything in only one listen, specially while you are driving. I'm planning to listen it at least once again.
It is a book for those people who like me are absolutely fascinated by physics but just don't get what does those weird equations mean. If I had a teacher like that on high school I would probably had studied physics on college.. but you don't find teacher like him on highschools. =( It is the first time I can say I understand what entropy really is. I read many times on wikipedia and other books, and I thought I did understand, now i know I do.
There is still a long way to go before humanity is able to fully grasp the misteries of the big bang. And maybe the future that looks rather bleak may have a way out, to survive the end of the universe... hopefully
Great pacing, fascinating material, the lecturer presents extremely abstract concepts, but guides you into them so that you come out tge other side understanding something you couldn't even conceive before. This lecture series alone is worth an Audible subscription. Concepts of physics that I've scratched my heard over for years were made clear in this course. Meanwhile, one of the seemingly most straightforward concepts, the progression of time, is revealed to be an amazingly complex mystery.
I dont think there is a print version- but if there is, definitely. The highly technical language is absolutely more easily understood through the presenter.
As far as the great courses go, this is one of the best ones i've listened to.
I have not heard the professor's other works but i would certainly listen to him again.
I listen to a lot of courses from the teaching company, and this was by far the most challenging to follow. The really hard stuff comes towards the end, but it remained enjoyable throughout. really complex physics, a great crash-course in the field.
I think i understand time less now than i did before. i might have to give it a second listen.
Worth the ... TIME!
(1, 2 ... 3 - yes, looks about right)
(Audible, could you please come up with even more stupid questions?)
Let me ignore Audible's blabla for a sec and try to say it with my own words:
Sean Carroll really manages to take even the layman (I am from the philosophical side of science) on a tour through classic physics up to more or less the most modern theories about what's "the kernel of the brute". Pace of the lectures, examples and even the honest outlooks on what "we don't know" are one great inspiration for the mind.
Mr. Carroll describes several ideas about how our universe may have come into existence, how the "Arrow of Time" (time always going into one direction and not being reversible) works and why it is there. He does not pretend to have an answer, but gives a nice kaleidoscope of working (and not so working) theories. On sidelines he gives some basics about Quantum physics, the differences to classic physics and ... lots of stirring up milk in coffee to test entropy.
So far I haven't listened to any other of Mr. Carroll's "performances" (Audible, PLEASE rethink the phrasing of your questions, this typing-in of comments is making me feel like a complete idiot).
But the good feeling I have after listening through this course, the believe that I "got it", or at least some of it, makes me think: "Gimme more, Mr. Carroll!"
What really "moved" me is the fact that - although I don't claim to have understood everything - especially not why anyone would actually pour milk in his coffee! - it feels like I have some "vocabulary", to say the least, from the world of Quantum Physics. That's surely not the worst one can say about listening to an audio book. What's next? Rocket Science? Understanding Women?
"Everything you ever wanted to know about time..."
I have previously taken a number of "Great Courses" series, from "The Teaching Company" - they are almost always excellent, and to be able to get them through Audible, represents very good value.
This course on Time is no exception. Professor Caroll has the perfect voice for explaining complex concepts in physics - slightly geeky sounding, but very easy to listen to, and immediately likeable. While he explains all the concepts he uses, so there is no need to have any background in Physics, I found some grounding helpful, as he gets into some quite complex stuff, fairly quickly.
The lectures cover all aspects of Time, from "why am I always late" to measurement and the "longditude problem", the "block" or "salami" models of time, Relativity, space-time and time dilation, black holes, the early universe, and a lot on thermodynamics! The main question, which the series attempts to answer is "why is there an arrow of time?" going always from the past to the future.
The various explanations for the arrow of time, (such as the probablistic explanation for the second law of thermodynamics) are prised apart, to show their circularity, such that it seems to come down to explaining the nature of the early universe, and the "past hypothesis". Without giving more away, this becomes the central intellectual puzzle, which drives us on towards the end.
If, like me, you like these kind of "ultimate questions", and you enjoy concepts in Physics, (without delving into Maths), I can thoroughly recommend this course.
I've listened to a few of these course type formats and find it easy to follow. The fact that each lesson is only 30 minutes makes easier to stop and start.
The material was interesting and the tack that the instructor takes to explain it was thought provoking
Other lecture type books
His energy and pace
what a stupid question
Fascinating stuff. I wasn't sure whether to get this because I thought maybe Time was a bit more of a narrow field than what I was looking for.
Don't think I've ever been as wrong in an assumption before. Everything is touched upon; Relativity, Quantum theory, Black Holes, Time Travel, Mulitverses, Dark Energy, and broken eggs. There are lots of broken eggs :-)
I found this absorbing and strangely relaxing. even if you can't follow all the concepts you still get a feel for the topic and the narration is very easy to listen to.
"Best science lecture"
Carroll is the best science lecturer I have come across. He is so passionate and makes the topics enthralling and is very good at making the inherently difficult concepts graspable if you are willing to put the effort in.
Sean reads his own work and does so in a very clear and informative manner. One of the best of the best in the Lecture series.
"Surprising, gripping, fascinating"
Having listened to other physics-based "Great Courses", I thought I'd give this a try, however I was not expecting it to be as absorbing, well presented and thought provoking as it is.
The clarity of the exposition.
An expert communicator, on a subject he clearly knows so well as to make it sound very straightforward.
At 12 hours long, unlikely to sit through it in one go - but always wishing I had time for just one more chapter.
Excellent, the best of the Great Courses I've listened to so far, with possible competition from "Particle Physics for Non-Physicists".
"I thought I knew phisics"
Yes this is one of a better books i have listened to so far.
I loved quirkiness and sufisticated sense of humour that professor brings to the book, made me look silly several times.
I have listened to a few phisics books and had general understanding of things, this book had expanded my view substantially and 'fixed' quite a few mistunderstandings and gaps that I had.
"Hard to start but by 6th chapter very rewarding"
Does not waffle or condescend.
Not technical enough what I was looking for. Very difficult to start but made some things very clear and easy to learn once you got past the first few chapters.
Thought I already knew a thing or two about entropy, relativity and physics of time. Bought this course on basis of other good reviews and wanting to know more. I really enjoyed the course. I learnt lots and I had a few of those moments when the whole universe suddenly appears really strange and wonderful at the same time. Mind expanding and well presented
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