Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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'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
"This book must have been fun to write because it is fun to read."--John Archibold Wheeler, Professor Emeritus of physics, Princeton University, and author of Geons, Blackholes ad Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics
In this highly 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. 20 illustrations.
About the Author
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 and 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.