"Meet the new Stephen Hawking . . . The Order of Time is a dazzling book." --The Sunday Times
From the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, comes a concise, elegant exploration of time.
Why do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to "flow"? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike.
For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe.
Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.
Modern physics has found its poet. A captivating, fascinating, profoundly beautiful book. . . Rovelli is a wonderfully humane, gentle and witty guide for he is as much philosopher and poet as he is a scientist (John Banville Irish Times)
A dizzying, poetic work in which I found myself abandoning everything I thought I knew about time (Charlotte Higgins Guardian)
Wonderful. . . Time is something we think we know about instinctively; here he shows how profoundly strange it really is (Philip Pullman Guardian)
Meet the new Stephen Hawking. . . I've never seen special relativity explained so well, never visualised it less fuzzily, never felt such a jolt of shock at what it implies (James McConnachie Sunday Times)
A joy to read. . . Rovelli writes easily, vividly and brilliantly - he is as at ease with Beethoven as he is with Boltzmann's constant, and verses by Horace launch each chapter, one of which ends with a couplet from the Grateful Dead. . . A delight (Tim Radford Guardian)
A deep - and remarkably readable - dive into the fundamental nature of time. . . written with enough charm and poetry to engage the imagination of anyone who reads it (Clive Cookson Financial Times)
Highly original. . . The heart and humanity of the book, its poetry and its gentle tone raise it to the level and style of such great scientist-writers as Lewis Thomas and Rachel Carson (Alan Lightman New York Times Book Review)
Rovelli is one of our great scientific explicators. . . Not since Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has there been so genial an integration of physics and philosophy (Ian Thomson Observer)
Physics' literary superstar makes us rethink time. . . The Order of Time will surely establish Rovelli among the pantheon of great scientist-communicators (Philip Ball New Scientist)