Richard Feynman once quipped that "Time is what happens when nothing else does." But Julian Barbour disagrees: if nothing happened, if nothing changed, then time would stop. For time is nothing but change. It is change that we perceive occurring all around us, not time. Put simply, time does not exist.
In this highly provocative volume, Barbour presents the basic evidence for a timeless universe, and shows why we still experience the world as intensely temporal. It is a book that strikes at the heart of modern physics. It casts doubt on Einstein's greatest contribution, the spacetime continuum, but also points to the solution of one of the great paradoxes of modern science, the chasm between classical and quantum physics. Indeed, Barbour argues that the holy grail of physicists--the unification of Einstein's general relativity with quantum mechanics--may well spell the end of time.
Barbour writes with remarkable clarity as he ranges from the ancient philosophers Heraclitus and Parmenides, through the giants of science Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, to the work of the contemporary physicists John Wheeler, Roger Penrose, and Steven Hawking. Along the way he treats us to enticing glimpses of some of the mysteries of the universe, and presents intriguing ideas about multiple worlds, time travel, immortality, and, above all, the illusion of motion.
The End of Time is a vibrantly written and revolutionary book. It turns our understanding of reality inside-out.
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Julian Barbour is a theoretical physicist who has worked on foundational issues in physics and astronomy for 35 years. His first book, the widely praised The Discovery of Dynamics, has recently been republished in paperback. In 2000 the Association of American Publishers awarded The End of Time its prestigious award for excellence in the Physics & Astronomy section. Julian Barbour, a theoretical physicist, has worked on foundational issues in physics for 35 years. He is the author of the widely praised Absolute or Relative Motion?: Volume I, and is working on the second volume.
"This book presents a number of subtle physical (and accompanying philosophical) ideas in a non-technical manner for the non-professional reader. The exposition is often a model of clarity..., presenting very difficult physical and conceptual ideas in a remarkably lucid way."--Mathematical Reviews
"This book is gold.... Barbour leaves his mark on every topic he considers, including the arrow of time and the origins of the Big Bang. One is left with a remarkable conception of reality and a sense of a personal quest.... Above all we get a sense of what economy of thought can truly be, of how shocking and sparse the concepts of physics may turn out to be.... Whether or not Barbour is right in his vision, as pedagogy and as analysis his book is a masterpiece."--The New York Times Book Review
"An unusual alternate to the standard way of viewing the four-dimensional universe (three spatial dimensions and time), beginning with how our perception of time is formed."--Publishers Weekly
"Barbour's theories may lead to the solution of one of the great paradoxes of modern science: the chasm between classical and quantum physics."--Science News
"The End of Time [is] British physicist Julian Barbour's treatise on the idea that time doesn't even exist. It's nothing more, he says, than an illusion, a sort of cosmic parlor trick.... The orderly flow of events may really be as much an illusion as the flickering frames of a movie. And according to independent physicist Barbour's new book, even the apparent sequence of the flickers is illusory."--Time
"In this provocative volume, Barbour presents the basic evidence for the nonexistence of time, explaining what a timeless universe is like and showing how the world will nonetheless be experienced as intensely temporal."--The Astronomical Society of the Pacific
"Most of the work is concerned with the struggle to resolve the disparities among classical physics, quantum mechanics, and general relativity. Barbour argues that the omission of time from the foundations of physics will enable scientists to achieve a unified theory of physics.... A book that deserves serious study and consideration."--Jack W. Weigel, Library Journal
"I cannot think of another book that so successfully forces the reader to reconsider his or her most intimate assumptions about reality. But there is much more here than a radical scientific vision. In order to properly explain his destruction of time, Barbour also offers one of the clearest overview explanations of twentieth century physics available. Whether he is right or wrong, Barbour is on a great intellectual journey, and he is articulate enough to allow us to observe him in flight. Of course, if Barbour is right, the previous sentence would have to be rewritten. Read the book and learn how."--Jaron Lanier
"Julian Barbour is so knowledgable about contemporary physics--especially general relativity theory, quantum theory, and quantum gravity--so learned in the history of physics, so gifted at analytical philosophy and so elegant and amusing in his presentation that anyone who seriously confronts his argumentation and nevertheless remains a temporalist (as I do) will inevitably emerge a stronger, subtler, and wiser advocate of that philosophy."--Abner Shimnoy, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Physics, Boston University
"Julian Barbour's new theory of time is the most interesting and provocative new idea about time to be proposed in many years. If true it will change the way we see reality. Experts in the field of quantum gravity have for years looked up to Julian Barbour for his wisdom and imagination, as he is one of the few people who is truly both a scientist and a philosopher. Written with rare clarity and force, this book makes his thinking accessible to all interested readers."--Lee Smolin
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