From the world-renowned physicist and bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, a captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose
In both time and space, the cosmos is astoundingly vast, and yet is governed by simple, elegant, universal mathematical laws.
On this cosmic timeline, our human era is spectacular but fleeting. Someday, we know, we will all die. And, we know, so too will the universe itself.
Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to understand it. Greene takes us on a journey across time, from our most refined understanding of the universe's beginning, to the closest science can take us to the very end. He explores how life and mind emerged from the initial chaos, and how our minds, in coming to understand their own impermanence, seek in different ways to give meaning to experience: in story, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and our longing for the timeless, or eternal. Through a series of nested stories that explain distinct but interwoven layers of reality-from the quantum mechanics to consciousness to black holes-Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed.
Yet all this understanding, which arose with the emergence of life, will dissolve with its conclusion. Which leaves us with one realization: during our brief moment in the sun, we are tasked with the charge of finding our own meaning.
Let us embark.
Greene (The Hidden Reality), director of Columbia University's Center for Theoretical Physics, translates sophisticated science topics into an accessible and illuminating survey. His achievement is particularly remarkable given the cerebral subject the "fundamental transience of everything" in the universe, and of the universe itself. Greene digests the latest scientific thinking on how the universe began; on molecular Darwinism, the "chemical combat" believed to have triggered the transformation of inanimate collections of atoms into life; and on the nature of consciousness. Greene effectively illustrates his points with understandable examples, as when he uses pennies, all arranged heads-up, to explain entropy; shaking the coins will flip some of the coins to tails, thus increasing disorder, but is highly unlikely to return them all to the ordered state of all-heads. He concedes that some profound questions "Why is there something rather than nothing?" are currently unanswerable, though he is convinced that "there is no grand design," and that people must construct their own meaning. Curious readers interested in some of the most fundamental questions of existence, and willing to invest some time and thought, will be richly rewarded by his fascinating exploration.