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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Emperor’s New Mind and The Road to Reality, a groundbreaking book that provides new views on three of cosmology’s 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 universe’s “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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 
©2011 Roger Penrose (P)2011 Random House
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Darkcoffee on 05-29-11

Difficult, Awe-inducing and Fascinating

Wow, this is a challenging book. I was tempted to stop listening at various points, but it was usually there that Penrose dropped in a gem of insight or an utterly fascinating speculation on the nature of the universe, and on I went. I finally settled in when I realized that I was listening to a unique book: it is written for the general reader, but it doesn't try to soft pedal any of the complexity of thought that leads to the conclusions. In the end, I loved it.

What is the book about? Penrose is proposing an admittedly conjectural notion of universal cosmology. He is, in fact, making a new argument for something like the balanced beauty of the old Steady State idea of the universe's orgin and life while using all the new stuff on black holes, the cosmic background radiation and black holes. He's attempting to reconcile the Big Bang with a steady state by arguing that at the extreme end of things -- the heat death of the universe after all the black holes have evaporated and all that remains are mass-less protons, gravitons and such -- the geometry of the universe will match the geometry necessarily in place at the time of the Big Bang. And things could, thus, start all over again or, as Penrose puts it, bounce. We could be somewhere in the midst of an endless cycle of expanding and "bouncing" universes.

Whether or not you buy Penrose's conclusion, the road there is hard, awe-inducing and fascinating.

I highly recommending downloading his cool illustration packet, many handdrawn, and referring to them from time to time, as well.

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18 of 18 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 10-26-11

Detailed and makes key points - not for everyone

I recommend downloading the PDF. If you can???t understand the PDF without reading the book ??? don???t bother. Now if you find the PDF fascinating, then try the book. It is really not a book that does well with audio unless you are already very familiar with the subject and have excellent multidimensional visualization skills. This book has a truly excellent description of entropy and the second law it is worth it just for that analysis. I don???t find the overall thrust of the book compelling, but it points out very important defects of the basic big bang theory which must be addressed one way or another.

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14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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