Well, Isn’t That Special?
FROM ETERNITY TO HERE: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. By Sean Carroll. Dutton. 438 pp. $26.95
Stars as well as human beings are born, grow old, and die. In the 19th century scientists proposed the dismaying notion of the "heat death” of the universe, according to which every hot thing becomes tepid while all cool things become warm, so that in the end all matter exists at the same middling temperature and the future is an eternal unchanging tedium. Physicists have a word for this general tendency toward decay and dissipation: entropy. And entropy, as Sean Carroll, a physicist and cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, ably explains, is all about the directionality of time. The onward march of time fundamentally derives from something peculiar about the way the universe was born, and that’s the puzzle Carroll attempts to resolve.
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David Lindley is the author, most recently, of Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science (2007).more from this author >>