Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of The Emperors New Mind
and The Road to Reality,
a groundbreaking book that provides new views on three of cosmologys most profound questions: What, if anything, came before the Big Bang? What is the source of order in our universe? What is its ultimate future?
Current understanding of our universe dictates that all matter will eventually thin out to zero density, with huge black holes finally evaporating away into massless energy. Roger Penrose — one of the most innovative mathematicians of our time — turns around this predominant picture of the universes “heat death,” arguing how the expected ultimate fate of our accelerating, expanding universe can actually be reinterpreted as the “Big Bang” of a new one.
Along the way to this remarkable cosmological picture, Penrose sheds new light on basic principles that underlie the behavior of our universe, describing various standard and nonstandard cosmological models, the fundamental role of the cosmic microwave background, and the key status of black holes. Ideal for both the amateur astronomer and the advanced physicist — with plenty of exciting insights for each — Cycles of Time is certain to provoke and challenge.
Intellectually thrilling and accessible, this is another essential guide to the universe from one of our preeminent thinkers.
"Where did the universe come from, why is it the way it is, and what is its ultimate fate? Eminent Oxford mathematician Penrose (The Road to Reality) finds 'a profound oddness underlying the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the very nature of the Big Bang' theory of the universe's origins. In response, he proposes tweaking the old theory to answer these questions. Armed with some fairly hairy math (logarithms, tensor calculus), Penrose argues that increasing entropy, a natural consequence of the Big Bang, supports space-time models in which an increasing number of hungry black holes should yield matter-spewing white holes as well. Instead, we have an entirely too uniform universe more suited to a 'conformal cyclic cosmology' where black holes grow and eventually 'pop,' yielding a fresh new Big Bang in an infinite 'succession of aeons.' Although Penrose makes provocative arguments for his challenging new theory (relegating his denser mathematical explorations to the appendixes), readers will need a solid grounding in college-level math and physics to wade through this intriguing work. B&w illus. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"If you'll forgive a skiing metaphor, Cycles of Time is a black diamond of a book. But like all steep slopes, sometimes you take a moment from your struggles and look up, and in front of you is an utterly gorgeous view." Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe
"Controversial but intriguing....Well worth the effort." Kirkus
"The hyper-density of this book made my brain feel simultaneously wiped out and dazzled." Boston Globe Best Science Books of 2011
"Radical....A surprising and unorthodox work disguised in the jacket of a popular science book, Cycles of Time should prove both deeply enlightening and just as deeply mystifying for anyone who dares to follow along." Peter Woit, The Wall Street Journal
"An intellectual thrill ride....As Penrose builds a solid foundation for his argument in analyzing universal entropic accumulation and Newton's Second Law, the reader senses something tremendous looming — mysterious and compelling as a black hole....A cosmological page-turner." Y. S. Fing, Washington Independent Review of Books
"Profound....This fascinating book will surely become a classic in the history of cosmology." Choice
About the Author
Roger Penrose is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He has received numerous prizes and awards, most notably the Wolf Foundation Prize in physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking. He is the author of three previous books, including The Emperor’s New Mind. He lives in Oxford, England.