The bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics takes us on an enchanting, consoling journey to discover the meaning of time
'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come'
Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe.
With his extraordinary charm and sense of wonder, bringing together science, philosophy and art, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery. Enlightening and consoling, The Order of Time shows that to understand ourselves we need to reflect on time -- and to understand time we need to reflect on ourselves.
Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre
Extraordinary. . . you should read it (Nick Hornby Believer)
Modern physics has found its poet. A captivating, fascinating, profoundly beautiful book. . . Rovelli is a wonderfully humane, gentle and witty guide for he is as much philosopher and poet as he is a scientist (John Banville Irish Times)
A dizzying, poetic work in which I found myself abandoning everything I thought I knew about time (Charlotte Higgins Guardian)
Wonderful. . . Time is something we think we know about instinctively; here he shows how profoundly strange it really is (Philip Pullman Guardian)
Meet the new Stephen Hawking. . . I've never seen special relativity explained so well, never visualised it less fuzzily, never felt such a jolt of shock at what it implies (James McConnachie Sunday Times)
A joy to read. . . Rovelli writes easily, vividly and brilliantly - he is as at ease with Beethoven as he is with Boltzmann's constant, and verses by Horace launch each chapter, one of which ends with a couplet from the Grateful Dead. . . A delight (Tim Radford Guardian)
A deep - and remarkably readable - dive into the fundamental nature of time. . . written with enough charm and poetry to engage the imagination of anyone who reads it (Clive Cookson Financial Times)
Highly original. . . The heart and humanity of the book, its poetry and its gentle tone raise it to the level and style of such great scientist-writers as Lewis Thomas and Rachel Carson (Alan Lightman New York Times Book Review)
Rovelli is one of our great scientific explicators. . . Not since Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has there been so genial an integration of physics and philosophy (Ian Thomson Observer)
Physics' literary superstar makes us rethink time. . . The Order of Time will surely establish Rovelli among the pantheon of great scientist-communicators (Philip Ball New Scientist)