Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time : The Great Courses: Physics

  • by Sean Carroll Ph.D. Harvard University, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Sean Carroll Ph.D. Harvard University
  • Series: The Great Courses: Physics
  • 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Jim Vaughan


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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- Mash Jamtoes

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses