Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time

Stephen Town invites you to challenge your views on the Universe and physics as we know it, in the latest blog from his Nightshelf.

Unger, R., Smolin, L., The Singular Universe and Reality of Time, in the University Library at A13 UNG

Is time real? Can the past also be the future?
Image by Bonnyb. Reproduced from pixabay
This is an ambitious, controversial and probably difficult book for anyone who has not thought or read much about the nature of the Universe or taken a position on the debates about what the world we experience is made of and the laws that govern it (what the authors term ‘the foundational problems of basic science’). However it would be nice to think that any member of this University might feel inclined to at least give this work a try.

Unger and Smolin have been working for at least eight years on a new synthesis (in their words ‘a reinterpretation’) of twentieth-century cosmology and physics. This is accompanied by the recovery of the importance of the idea and methods of what used to be called ‘Natural Philosophy’. Smolin is a scientist reportedly considered tiresome and iconoclastic by his colleagues. Unger is a Harvard law Professor and politician. Both write their own piece in this book in their own style, and also reflect on their differences.

Is there a universe beyond our own?
Unger and Smolin argue the case for us being alone.

Their three main propositions run counter to current scientific views: that the Universe is singular; that time has reality; and that mathematics has only selective realism. Maybe you think these positions are common-sense and obvious? Or maybe you believe strongly in the current orthodoxy? Either way you want to read this book.

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