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Reality Is Not What It Seems Audiobook

Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, a closer look at the mind-bending nature of the universe.

What are time and space made of? Where does matter come from? And what exactly is reality? Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli has spent his whole life exploring these questions and pushing the boundaries of what we know. Here he explains how our image of the world has changed over the last few dozen centuries.

In elegant and accessible prose, Rovelli takes us on a wondrous journey from Aristotle to Albert Einstein, from Michael Faraday to the Higgs boson, and from classical physics to his own work in quantum gravity. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers listeners a deeper understanding of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. His evocative explanations invite us to imagine, beyond our ever-changing idea of reality, a whole new world that has yet to be discovered.

©2017 Carlo Rovelli (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (256 )
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  •  
    Kyle 02-03-17
    Kyle 02-03-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Most compelling physics book in at least 10 years!"

    Rovelli is terrific. At one point he laments that poetry and science have become exclusive domains. Throughout the book he proves that loss to the reader. The last chapter is simply masterful!

    The science of loop quantum gravity is fascinating and Rovelli makes it relatively easy to understand. I am much more convinced that I was after either of Brian Greene's books on string theory.

    I should also add that the narrator Roy McMillan did wonderful job with a very difficult piece. I had to re listen to probably half of this book just to get the concepts, so I know what I'm talking about!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence F. Gambino 03-02-17
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    "Science is about uncertainty"

    There was little to dislike about this book. If you want a lucid explanation of what science is and of the nature of the universe read this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katelyn Cunningham 02-28-17 Member Since 2016
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    "WOAH! mind blown."

    The theories were broken down very well but at times I still felt very lost. I think this is one I'll have to re-listen to but it all is so fascinating!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Twin 02-14-17
    Twin 02-14-17
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    "Best Physics Book of Last 5 Years"

    Great book, presented in very simplified understandable terms of complex subjects. Really liked his humble dialog, and suggestion that merging of quantum mechanics, relativity, and entropy will be needed to make a complete model of the nature of the universe and matter.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-19-17 Member Since 2017
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    "The Timeline of Human Curiosity and Ignorance"

    Inspirational. Poetic. Scientific. Historic in Nature. Purely Humbling, Relieving, and Full of Wonder. I wish for every parent to give the gift of this book to their children, every teacher their pupils, every friend their friends.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Howe 02-17-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Worth a read"

    Even if you are not a science person like myself it is a manageable oppty to better understand the magic and wonder of the world.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    BigLaggonBill 02-10-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent contemporary history of the continuing evolution of the human understanding of the real world . . ."

    I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject matter with the hope that if anyone understands it will call me to explain it. The narrator, Roy McMillan, is excellent, as is the production of this audio book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Pearson Oakland, CA USA 01-27-17
    Dana Pearson Oakland, CA USA 01-27-17 Member Since 2017

    I am an infomaniac...seeking insight, clarity & understanding...

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    "Amazing and wonderful journey... Wow! "

    I've got most books exploring reality and wtf's going on and this is among the best... A thoroughly enjoyable and deliciously understandable journey from the beginning to where we are now.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
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    Mike 05-04-17
    Mike 05-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Loop Theory + Philosophy + Poetry"
    Any additional comments?

    Carlo Rovelli is a loop theorist by trade, a bit of a philosopher by nature, and not a little poetic about either.

    Let me tell you why these three things make this book very special.

    Loop Theory (aka Loop Quantum Gravity) is less popular than its main competitor String Theory. This gives Rovelli a unique perspective, and explains why you probably haven't heard it. For example, Rovelli is certain that spacetime - like all of reality - is granular, and not only that, but it embodies the "relational" aspect of quantum mechanics, ie it is a manifestation of field interactions, not a backdrop for other granular particles to manifest in. As Rovelli puts it 'all of reality is covariant quantum fields'. At its root then: no waves, no particles, only fields. "Space" is no longer different from "matter" at this level.

    The philosopher in Rovelli rephrases this: 'We inhabit not a world of things, but a world of events.'

    And therein lies the poetry.

    Any differentiation among spacetime and matter comes in the "covariant" of "covariant quantum fields". This is the way in which information correlates among things which hold information.

    Herein is also how our concept of time emerges from a world in which there really is no time. The world is only these very very very many interactions and information correlations. If we comprehended all this information as it interacted, we would know the totality of the future microstates - ie there would be no need to establish a concept of time. As Rovelli poetically puts it, 'however, had we perceived time in nanoseconds...' we would not have evolved the notion of time. Again, Rovelli: 'Time, then, is our ignorance.'

    I LOVE this. It squares so well with my interpretation of the Mary's Room thought experiment (in the Mind-Body Problem of consciousness): either Mary attains color vision (and so much more) from her complete knowledge of all microstates while inside the room, or her books never contained such complete information in the first place.

    Anyway, this is a fantastic book. Read it for the science. Read it for the philosophy. Read it for the poetry.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GREGORY 03-03-17
    GREGORY 03-03-17

    Gregory

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    "Amazing book"

    A great book giving a curious non-scientist a glimpse into the world of new ideas about how reality works from the widely accepted theories and laws to the cutting edge of new hypothesys and intuitions. I highly recommend it to anyone who is somewhat familiar with the basic concepts of physics as explained in popular science books.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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