Time rules our lives, woven into the very fabric of the universe - from the rising and setting of the sun to the cycles of nature, the thought processes in our brains, and the biorhythms in our day. Nothing so pervades our existence and yet is so difficult to explain.
But now, in a series of 24 riveting lectures, you can grasp exactly why - as you take a mind-expanding journey through the past, present, and future, guided by a noted author and scientist. Designed for nonscientists as well as those with a background in physics, the lectures show how a feature of the world that we all experience - a process known as entropy - connects us to the instant of the formation of the universe, and possibly to a multiverse that is unimaginably larger and more varied than the known cosmos.
Drawing on such exciting ideas as black holes, cosmic inflation, and dark energy, the lectures also address a momentous question that until recently was considered unanswerable: What happened before the big bang? And while the focus is on physics, Professor Carroll also examines philosophical views on time, how we perceive and misperceive time, the workings of memory, and serious proposals for time travel, as well as imaginative ways that time has been disrupted in fiction.
"What is time?" asked Saint Augustine 1,600 years ago. "If no one asks me, I know. But if I wish to explain it to someone who asks, I know not." These lectures will move you much closer to an answer.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."
Fascinating topic, but needs editing
N/A (I have not read the print version)
The coverage of the material was well done. It is a fascinating topic to begin with, and the speaker clearly knows his field. He presents many aspects of time, and provides the listener with an intriguing journey. Furthermore, his style of speaking is entertaining and engaging. You won't be bored!
I have not listened to any of his other lectures.
I had two difficulties with these lectures. The first and least important is that the presenter seems to be speaking, rather than reading, which is fine--except that he makes frequent grammatical mistakes so that his sentences sound sometimes unprofessional. He would have done better to have written everything out clearly, and then followed his notes more closely.The more substantial problem is that the presenter frequently uses the teaching style of giving what he knows to be incorrect information; not telling the listener that it is incorrect; and then sometime later (perhaps many lectures later) correcting his earlier misinformation.For example: When he first introduces entropy (one of the central themes of the lectures), he defines it as a measure of the amount of disorder (paraphrasing here). As a physicist myself, I knew that this popular idea is entirely incorrect, and was appalled that he was actually putting it out there without comment. Sure enough, roughly 10 lectures later he provides an entirely different definition of entropy (the correct one), and tells the reader that what he said before was not correct. I consider this method of teaching to be at best unfortunate, and at worst inexcusably sloppy.I would not say that this problem overrides all of the good in these lectures (hence the 4-star rating), but Professor Carroll should definitely know better.Summary: A fascinating topic, presented by an engaging speaker. Just don't believe everything he says, until you're sure you've reached the end!