The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me begin this review by saying a couple things…
Firstly, I’ve been interested in Physics since I was a wee lad in the ’60s. My neighbor, who was also my godfather, had a Ph.D. in Physics. He was also a career teacher. He was always spinning yarns about Einstein, Newton and the amazing current events going on in Physics and Cosmology back then. He gave me a copy of Sagan’s Cosmos when I was about 17 years old. He had also given me a few other books on stars, planets, etc. when I was a child. This spurred my lifelong interest in Physics and related sciences.
That being said, throughout my studies of Physics all these years, there is one thing that has always astounded and amazed me; that is the concept of time. I’ve read many books and papers on past and current theories purporting to explain the phenomenon of time; none were definitive, all were very interesting, though.
On the back of the edition that I’m reading there are some remarks from reviewers here and there. One that really is accurate is this one:
Some physicists, mind you, not many of them, are physicists-poets. They see the world or, more adequately, physical reality, as a lyrical narrative written in some hidden code that the human mind can decipher. Carlo Rovelli, the Italian physicist and author, is one of them. –NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos & Culture
I could not agree more with this statement. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Even if it had been about horse racing or organic farming, I believe I would have enjoyed it because of Rovelli’s manner of writing. He may be a physicist, but he could easily have made a living, probably a better one, as an artist, writer, performer, etc.
This is a small book, but it has a lot to say. It will definitely make you think… or rethink your ideas about time. Rovelli briefly explains the current status of Physics’ views on time and then, in the second part of the book, he gently explains his view. The book is not a jumble of calculus and geometry. He writes for the everyday man/woman in this one. If you have a modicum of reading abilities and a little basis in high school science, you will be able to follow along just fine.
When I closed the back cover on this book, I was a bit surprise to experience the same regret (that it had ended) and joy that I often experience with the closing of the back cover on a really good novel. I think you’ll enjoy reading this book. If you have the slightest interest in the mystery of time on our plane of existence, I believe you will listen intently to what this man has to say. The 5-star rating I gave this one is as much a result of the quality of the writing as it is of the content.
I hope you’ll give this one a go.
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