A radical new view of the nature of time and the cosmos—“at once entertaining, thought-provoking, fabulously ambitious and fabulously speculative” (The New York Times Book Review).
What is time?
This deceptively simple question is the single most important problem facing science as we probe deeper into the fundamentals of the universe. All of the mysteries physicists and cosmologists face—from the Big Bang to the future of the universe, from the puzzles of quantum physics to the unification of forces and particles—come down to the nature of time.
The fact that time is real may seem obvious. You experience it passing every day when you watch clocks tick, bread toast, and children grow. But most physicists, from Newton to Einstein to today’s quantum theorists, have seen things differently. The scientific case for time being an illusion is formidable. That is why the consequences of adopting the view that time is real are revolutionary.
Here, the author of The Trouble with Physics argues that a limited notion of time is holding physics back—and what we need now is a major shift in scientific thought. The true reality of this manmade construct could be the key to the next big breakthrough in theoretical physics—and could hold implications relevant to issues from climate change to the economy.
What if the laws of physics themselves were not ageless? What if they could evolve? Time Reborn offers a radical approach to cosmology that embraces the concept of time and opens up a whole new universe of possibilities.
“With rare conceptual daring, Smolin beckons toward a new perspective for doing cosmological theory . . . A thrilling intellectual ride.” —Booklist, starred review
Contrary to Plato and Einstein, theoretical physicist Smolin (The Trouble with Physics) asserts that "not only is time real, but nothing we know or experience gets closer to the heart of nature than the reality of time." Though time has always been a quantity to measure, the author explains that in the 17th century, scientists began wondering whether "the world is in essence mathematical or it lives in time." Newton's laws of motion made time irrelevant, and "Einstein's two theories of relativity are, at their most basic, theories of time or, better, timelessness." Galileo and Descartes, on the other hand, insisted that time should be regarded as another dimension, and in 1909, mathematician Hermann Minkowski developed the theory of "spacetime," a feature of the universe shaped by gravity. Smolin asserts that current-day cosmology has hit a wall because physicists refuse to understand that physical laws must "evolve in a real time." Changing that perspective, he says, will revolutionize everything from string theory to the stock market. Although the distinctions in point of view aren't always clear, Smolin makes an energetic case for a paradigm shift that could produce mind-boggling changes in the way we experience our world.