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Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Lecture

Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 07-24-13
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 07-24-13 Member Since 2016

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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    "Get From Eternity to Here instead"

    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.

    56 of 58 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Weed, CA, United States 12-02-14
    David Weed, CA, United States 12-02-14
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    "Fascinating topic, but needs editing"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time to be better than the print version?

    N/A (I have not read the print version)


    What did you like best about this story?

    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!


    Have you listened to any of Professor Sean Carroll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to any of his other lectures.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Chicago, IL, United States 05-27-14
    Adam Chicago, IL, United States 05-27-14 Member Since 2015
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    "More about entropy and less about time."
    What made the experience of listening to Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time the most enjoyable?

    He gets very very technical and detailed. I got a lot out of each lecture.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time?

    I appreciated that he deconstructed this idea of the "laws of physics" being absolute. The second law of thermodynamics in particular.


    What about Professor Sean Carroll’s performance did you like?

    Great lecturer. Has an engaging way of speaking and he prepared these lectures in a very accessible way.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Time is not what you think.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aimee 01-02-15
    aimee 01-02-15
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    "Awesome!"

    Very well spent time learning about the physics of Time. The narration was excellent and the scientific concepts very accessible for a non-scientist.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-29-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-29-14 Member Since 2015

    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.

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    "THE FOURTH DIMENSION"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Guilherme 01-16-14
    Guilherme 01-16-14 Member Since 2013

    You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. —Wayne Gretzky

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    "Making an is not as easy as it seems."

    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

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 01-15-16
    John 01-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Best physics lecture I've listened to, ever."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 11-11-14
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 11-11-14
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    "Really Fantastic - Challenging"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time to and why?

    As far as the great courses go, this is one of the best ones i've listened to.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Sean Carroll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not heard the professor's other works but i would certainly listen to him again.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I think i understand time less now than i did before. i might have to give it a second listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc 03-22-15
    Marc 03-22-15
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    "Mixing Milk and Coffee - Entropy At its Best!"
    If you could sum up Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time in three words, what would they be?

    Worth the ... TIME!

    (1, 2 ... 3 - yes, looks about right)
    (Audible, could you please come up with even more stupid questions?)


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Sean Carroll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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!"


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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?


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 11-23-16
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 11-23-16 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

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    "worth your while"

    In this course you will explore the physics of time, how they relate to entropy and the Big Bang, and how understanding time leads us to try to understand the nature of the laws of physics. I have read several of the Great Courses classes now, particularly on physics. Many of them repeat essentials about Special and General Relativity, the nature of quantum mechanics, dark matter, dark energy, and the forces of nature. With that in mind, they tend to cover much of the same ground. This has been a completely different course. Here we spend quite a bit of time on entropy, the big bang, and how theories on the beginning of time also has consequences for multi-verse theories.

    The instructor spends a little too much time on the introduction and calendars and perhaps labors on entropy for a bit too long. But with that said, he is an engaging teacher, the subject really evolves over time, and goes places I did not expect. Really worth the time you invest in it. Hang on until the second half especially, where it gets really interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Jim Vaughan
    Malvern, UK
    10/30/13
    Overall
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    "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.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Mash Jamtoes
    UK
    11/6/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "Wow!"

    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 :-)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • jeffrey
    United Kingdom
    1/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen"
    If you could sum up Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time in three words, what would they be?

    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


    What other book might you compare Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time to, and why?

    Other lecture type books


    What about Professor Sean Carroll’s performance did you like?

    His energy and pace


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    what a stupid question


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dan
    11/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "mind expanding!"

    expanded my mind like the bounce of the multi verse! well worth the time and money

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    10/3/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Course"
    Would you listen to Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time again? Why?

    The theory's and evidence in this course are pretty complex and would need a re listen to really grab hold of the essence of what it being told. Although, it has been explained by Sean Carroll in a very eloquent way.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time?

    Lots, lots of great information to absorb.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No chance, time is definitely needed between sections of this book to absorb the information that is being given


    Any additional comments?

    Really good listen, I will be re listening again to fully take in the information provided.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cirion
    6/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fascinating"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eliel Cohen
    4/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A. L. Mooresmith
    Kent UK
    2/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very informative"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • D. J. Morris
    Manchester, UK
    9/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprising, gripping, fascinating"
    What did you like most about Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The clarity of the exposition.


    What about Professor Sean Carroll’s performance did you like?

    An expert communicator, on a subject he clearly knows so well as to make it sound very straightforward.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At 12 hours long, unlikely to sit through it in one go - but always wishing I had time for just one more chapter.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent, the best of the Great Courses I've listened to so far, with possible competition from "Particle Physics for Non-Physicists".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • LIUFA
    9/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I thought I knew phisics"
    Where does Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Yes this is one of a better books i have listened to so far.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Sean Carroll’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I loved quirkiness and sufisticated sense of humour that professor brings to the book, made me look silly several times.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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