Wednesday,6 July 2022
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Smolin, Lee

Time Reborn


Quite a few physicists feel that an overhaul of what we mean by “time” could lead to the next great leap in physics. Among them is Lee Smolin, of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada.Smolin argues that science is blighted by what he says are unreal and inessential conceptions of time. He insists that “time is real” and that its reformulation could be central to finding the long-sought after “theory of everything”.

Some of the most interesting chapters in this book are those in which Smolin traces the history of what the philosopher Edmund Husserl called the "mathematisation of Nature". For Smolin (as for Husserl) the key figures here are Galileo and Newton, the first for discovering that falling bodies are described by a simple mathematical curve, the second for showing that the force that impels those falling bodies along that curve is the same force that impels the earth along its path round the sun and that sends apples crashing from a tree. "By the time Newton had finished," Smolin says, "we lived in a single, unified world," a world "as eternal and divine as a mathematical curve".

In Time Reborn, he offers an entertaining, head-spinning and, yes, timely blend of philosophy, science, and speculation to put the Now back into physics.

Of interest