Physics, Metaphysics, and Poetry. I read the Audible version of this while driving to my hometown in another State (a solid book for such a mid-distance, 6 ish hr drive) and thus had the unique pleasure of having Alan Turing himself (as played in The Imitation Game and read here by Benedict Cumberbatch) lecture me on theoretical physics, metaphysics, philosophy, and poetry. If you’re looking for a more concrete look at the exact theoretical physics at hand… this isn’t the book you’re going to want to pick up. If you’re looking for more of an easy-read, high-level, pop science level look at whether or not time exists… this is a very good book from that perspective. And indeed, ultimately the text is all about perspective. At the most distinct levels, time simply does not exist, according to Rovelli. And yet obviously we humans experience time. So how can these two prior statements be resolved? Read this book for Rovelli’s solid examination into the question and attempt at resolving this seeming paradox. Very much recommended. Particularly the Audible. 🙂
Intriguing Theoretical Astrophysics. If it wasn’t clear from the description of this book, this book is *all about* theoretical astrophysics and the author’s new theory of the origins and nature of time. If words like Newtonian and General Relativity and Leibniz and thermodynamics are part of your every day lexicon, you’ll probably enjoy reading this. For the rest of us… at least there isn’t much math involved in the actual text here? Specifically of the Calculus variety, which gives even many math-oriented people the heebie jeebies? Truly an intriguing work, but I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t fully follow or comprehend all of it – it is simply that high level. Even though Barbour tries to use narrative examples and structures designed to allow most anyone to have some idea of what is going on, at the end of the day this is still advanced theoretical astrophysics, of the kind that even Stephen Hawking wrestled with. While others more learned in the actual science may find fault here, for what it is I could find none. Very much recommended.
Prooftexting In A Science Book? This was a first- prooftexting, the technique of taking random Bible verses out of context to “prove” a point, in a science book. Here, Dr. England looks at the origins of life from a physicist’s perspective… while using the life of Moses (he of the “Pharoah, Let My People Go” fame) as the overarcing narrative. One of the more prosaic, academic oriented science books I’ve read this year, Dr. England does a decent job of explaining high order thermodynamics – literally a form of rocket science – in an easy-ish way for most to understand. He simply does it in a way that is on the harder side of the actual reading experience from other science books I’ve read over the last year or two in particular. Truly fascinating stuff though, and very illuminating on the physics side of things, particularly as they relate to the future of “smart” polymers – which is not a subject Dr. England directly addresses here. Very much recommended.