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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jim Vaughan on 30-10-13

Everything you ever wanted to know about time...

I have previously taken a number of "Great Courses" series, from "The Teaching Company" - they are almost always excellent, and to be able to get them through Audible, represents very good value.

This course on Time is no exception. Professor Caroll has the perfect voice for explaining complex concepts in physics - slightly geeky sounding, but very easy to listen to, and immediately likeable. While he explains all the concepts he uses, so there is no need to have any background in Physics, I found some grounding helpful, as he gets into some quite complex stuff, fairly quickly.

The lectures cover all aspects of Time, from "why am I always late" to measurement and the "longditude problem", the "block" or "salami" models of time, Relativity, space-time and time dilation, black holes, the early universe, and a lot on thermodynamics! The main question, which the series attempts to answer is "why is there an arrow of time?" going always from the past to the future.

The various explanations for the arrow of time, (such as the probablistic explanation for the second law of thermodynamics) are prised apart, to show their circularity, such that it seems to come down to explaining the nature of the early universe, and the "past hypothesis". Without giving more away, this becomes the central intellectual puzzle, which drives us on towards the end.

If, like me, you like these kind of "ultimate questions", and you enjoy concepts in Physics, (without delving into Maths), I can thoroughly recommend this course.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mash Jamtoes on 06-11-15


Fascinating stuff. I wasn't sure whether to get this because I thought maybe Time was a bit more of a narrow field than what I was looking for.

Don't think I've ever been as wrong in an assumption before. Everything is touched upon; Relativity, Quantum theory, Black Holes, Time Travel, Mulitverses, Dark Energy, and broken eggs. There are lots of broken eggs :-)

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 24-07-13

Get From Eternity to Here instead

These lectures were OK but they were almost completely a not as good rehash of the materials in the professors book From Eternity to Here. The book was quite good but took a few shortcuts describing entropy that made it difficult to fully understand. The lectures take even more shortcuts. There is not much point to the lectures after reading the book. Other than that, the lectures are pretty good, but the structure of the book is better and more carefully presented. So, get the book instead. If you like repetition, then do the lectures before the book.

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68 of 73 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By David on 02-12-14

Fascinating topic, but needs editing

Would you consider the audio edition of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time to be better than the print version?

N/A (I have not read the print version)

What did you like best about this story?

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!

Have you listened to any of Professor Sean Carroll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to any of his other lectures.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?


Any additional comments?

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!

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25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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