Cathy Douglas's Reviews > From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

From Eternity to Here by Sean Carroll
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's review
Jun 20, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: science-nonfiction, back-burner, tried-gave-up

I burned my way through the first hundred pages or so, fascinated by the notion of entropy as an explanation for the arrow of time. It's one of those questions it would take a scientist to even think of: why does time, to all appearances, "move" forward at a steady pace? I had to think about it for awhile to even realize how clueless we are about this very basic question. I knew Carroll as Mr. Dark Matter/Energy for the Teaching Company course Kid B and I took, so I was bullish about this book from the start. Unfortunately, after the idea is presented, nothing new happens; Carroll re-explains and re-iterates and re-defends his idea, never really moving on.

The hypothesis takes off from an old science-class conundrum, the coffee with cream problem: you can stir cream into coffee, but the process is not reversible; once the cream and coffee are mixed up, you'd have to stir an impossibly long time for the molecules to rearrange themselves in a way that would un-mix the cream back out. Pinning a theory of time on this observable phenomenon makes a good hypothesis, but ultimately the book didn't convince me that it fully explains the observable directionality of time. And reading-wise, I could have wished that Carroll would give the scenario a break, either writing a much shorter book or else exploring the alternatives to his idea in more depth.

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Reading Progress

01/17/2010 page 9
2.01% "Yay! Came in the mail when I got home from work last night. I've been waiting for this one."
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message 1: by Nola (new)

Nola This reminds me of my experience reading his "The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution". I had the same complaints. I also gave it 2 stars.

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