Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time” as Want to Read:
Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Time rules our lives. From the rising and setting of the sun to the cycles of nature, the thought processes in our brains, and the biorhythms in our day, nothing so pervades our existence and yet is so difficult to explain. Time seems to be woven into the very fabric of the universe. But why? Consider these contrasting views of time: A movie of a person diving into a pool ...more
Audio CD, The Great Courses, 12 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by The Teaching Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mysteries of Modern Physics, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mysteries of Modern Physics

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  266 ratings  ·  40 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time
Clif Hostetler
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This is a collection of 24 lectures that carry a heavy dose of thermodynamics, relativity, quantum theory, and cosmology. I expose myself to this sort of cutting edge science at least once per year in the hopes that a little bit of the knowledge will stick with me. When I first started the lectures I thought perhaps the relativity of time in relation to gravity, acceleration, and travel speed were mysteries to be understood. Well, those concepts were certainly mentioned, but that stuff is ...more
Menglong Youk
4.5/5 stars

We all know what time is: 6 o'clock, tomorrow, three weeks ago, etc. But what is it really? How did it come to existence? Newton's laws work both forward and backward, but why does time always go forward?

I found this course more intense than I had anticipated. It is divided into three parts: what time is, entropy, and quantum physics and cosmology. The first part is relatively easy to digest, but the next two-thirds are quite intimidating.

Sean Caroll guides viewers into entropy deeper
Jagdish Tripathy
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I listened to these lectures on Audible.

From Classical Newtonian physics to the more modern theories of quantum mechanics, time does not have a direction. Time is just another dimension we should be able to travel along - given enough information, we should be able to reconstruct the past; something conjectured by Laplace way back in the 19th century.

But a direction of time is something we are keenly aware of. We have memories of the past not the future and we (appear to?) make choices of abt
Kathy Nealen
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Good course on the dimension of time from the perspective of physics. Later lectures in the 24 lecture series were difficult for me to comprehend. I will pursue additional study n this area to improve my understanding. I think some more animated graphics would be helpful to illustrate the ideas.
Alex Shrugged
I took off a star because it seemed like he threw in a couple of lectures that seemed superfluous. I suppose he had to stretch it out to a standard 24 lectures. Otherwise, great.

Note that I have been over this material from various other Great Courses lectures. This series of lectures focuses on the issues of time, how to define it (if one can), and why it goes in only one direction. In other words, why can I remember what I ate for dinner yesterday, but I can't remember what I'm going to eat
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Sean Carroll’s work. His books are great and this course was really enlightening. Sometimes it seemed like a mix of science, philosophy and fiction, but through 24 sessions he managed to hold it together. I think it would have worked better if he had at least shown some of the equations that he talked about. I’m sure the solutions would have been beyond me, but at least I would have been able to get a feel for what the moving parts are. Still, it was well worth the time. I just bought his ...more
Bob Collins
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Carroll covers time from a number of viewpoints, but primarily from the viewpoint of quantum mechanics. Although there is no coherent theory as to why there is such a concept as time - why do we remember yesterday, but not tomorrow - there are a number of interesting hypotheses, and Dr. Carroll covers many of them and does a good job of explaining a complex, difficult subject with examples, analogies and scaffolding the information, that is continually building the subject from easier ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
not what i expected, i was expecting more about time travel, Einstein, and the other aspects of time. I guess i should have realized when the topic is mysteries of modern physics that it was more physics based. I guess to each their own, but doesn't the concept of entropy seem a bit arbitrary.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting lecture series about why we have time. Looking at entropy, neuroscience, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and cosmology. I've read quite a few popular physics books, but I still managed to learn some new stuff here.
Kevin Hanks
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whoa. crazy subject. Seemed at times nothing but an explanation on the 2nd law of thermodynamics (entropy increasing over time). That being said, I learned more about entropy and the arrow of time than I ever have in my life.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Good information, just couldn’t get into It. I got too bogged down in the properties of thermodynamics, algorithms, and other groundwork laid for later in the lecture, that I was kind of burned out by the time I got to the actual physics of time.
Chandra Prakash
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What is Time? What would happen in a universe without time?
These sort of questions are answered by Prof. Sean Carrol. He is great at explain these things. We can only observe the order of time in a universe with entropy, it is entropy which determines the order of time. In a universe without time, there won't happen anything it will be just frozen so the question doesn't even arise from what will happen in a universe without time, as we ourselves will be frozen nothing to observe. And if by
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quite accessible!
Sjoerd van Heijst
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent course on modern Physics as well as a course in “Time”. Time itself remains a mystery but it does take away some of the mystical areas and sheds lights on the parts we do understand.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edu-books, physics
This is an instant favorite of mine. I loved every moment. It is full of fun science and interesting facts about the universe, spacetime, the past hypothesis, Laplace's demon, entropy, and much more.
This was an interesting lecture series to listen to, especially for all of the real science explanations of out there things like time travel or parallel universes. But honestly, I never really understood the central problem that he spent so much time going over: that time has a direction. I just don't understand the physicist perspective that somehow there shouldn't be a direction to time and/or that processes should run equally well forward or backward; the objection sounded like it was based ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Prof Carroll deploys a novel tool - the passage of time - to elaborate on the same scientific theories from a new vantage point. He succeeds to a large degree given his mastery of the subjects and ability to explain complex things.

A large part of the book is spent on introducing the thermodynamic time. Professor explains lucidly how nothing in the Newtonian or even the relativistic physics point to an arrow of time that so fundamentally define our universe, let along one moving so uniformly in
May 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, audibles
Very thought provoking. Kind-of-a chicken and the egg approach to time. Largely dealing with entropy, this course covers:

1 Why Time Is a Mystery
2 What Is Time?
3 Keeping Time
4 Time’s Arrow
5 The Second Law of Thermodynamics
6 Reversibility and the Laws of Physics
7 Time Reversal in Particle Physics
8 Time in Quantum Mechanics
9 Entropy and Counting
10 Playing with Entropy
11 The Past Hypothesis
12 Memory, Causality, and Action
13 Boltzmann Brains
14 Complexity and Life
15 The Perception of Time
16 Memory and
Yasser Mohammad
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Good exposition to the problem of the arrow of time and the past hypothesis for the uninitiated.
The lectures are extremely easy to follow yet they could have been compressed in less than half their current length without major loss I believe.
Carroll is a very good popularizer but the lectures in which he strayed from physics were not on the same level as his other parts.
The main thesis of this series is that all differences between the past and the future can be traced back to the astonishingly
Mohammed alkindy
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
refreshing reading, i like the book as it is focusing on the subject TIME starting for a layman point of view to really in depth concepts. how entropy got into the subject is a new twist for me. the book could nor explain why the entropy was low to start for it to increase with time. i like the statement that not every existing thing could be seen, it was a blunt statement and i hope the author would realise its other meanings. time traveling and teleporting were part of the story. space-time is ...more
Roo Phillips
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This course is about the arrow of time. That is, it explores the reason why time seems to travel in only one direction. It is 24 lectures and can get pretty detailed in the physics, which is why I only gave it four stars. But if you can avoid getting bogged down in the details, the general description of time and how it connects with our universe is fascinating.

Sean Carroll is an outstanding lecturer and can really break down difficult concepts in physics. He spends the majority of the lectures
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a fascinating series of lecture examining the idea of time from every angle imaginable. Most of the content dealt with entropy and how it defines the arrow of time though but I guess that is the most important topic regarding time when you really break it down. It asked many questions I had never considered like the entropy of black holes and the entropy of the big bang. There is some discussion of relativity and time travel to round out the subject matter a little. I would prefer a more ...more
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting tour of time-related scientific topics by a University Physicist/Cosmologist. The lectures deal with everything from sub-particles of atom through multiverses. The central/unifying theme is "The Arrow of Time". The lectures bring the listener to the very edge of human understanding of our cosmos. And then take a well thought out step beyond that.

It took me some time to acclimate to this lecture series, but I was well rewarded by the effort. Lots of very cool ideas to think about from
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics
I am honestly not in a position to critique Carroll's scientific claims. I can, however, say that I really enjoyed listening to these lectures and they got me thinking about the nature of time, entropy and how the world we know began: things I didn't think much about before.

From time to time I got a little confused, but it didn't seem to last long. Listening to these required an ability to not understand all the time, but to stay with the lecturer nonetheless.
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My first thought, upon finishing, was "I have more questions than answers here."

My second thought, upon finishing, was "Were I less inquisitive S.O.B., I would tell myself to just stick to history lectures, because this was confusing as hell." But really, that's just a more refined version of the first thought.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
Meh, I have listened to all the physics related physics courses that I could find and this is the weakest in my opinion. Despite being a series, it still seemed very disjointed. There was way too much time spent on totally unsupported theories and possibilities. It could have been 5 hours of listening instead of 10.

Your mileage may very!
Mario Streger
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I got this course I expected something more about relativity (special and general), but I got a course about entropy, and at the end, I liked it very much, because I could learn more about this very interesting and essential topic, presented wonderfully by Professor Sean Carroll.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A nice overview. I probably could have done with more weird, wild stuff, and the technical basics could have been slowed down and repeated a bit more for those of us with humanities brains, but overall I would recommend it.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great lecturer. I should probably read it again to let it sink in.
Nathan Schwartz
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly cool. Carroll knows his stuff and can explain it very well.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists
  • Valkyrie (Expeditionary Force, #9)
  • What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
  • Law School for Everyone
  • The Story of Human Language
  • Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War
  • The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon
  • Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide
  • The Science of Information: From Language to Black Holes
  • What Einstein Got Wrong
  • A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs
  • Interview with the Robot
  • Understanding Complexity
  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
  • Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
  • The Planets
  • The Other Side of History : Daily Life in the Ancient World
  • Midnight Son
See similar books…
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993. His research focuses on issues in cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His book The Particle at the End of the Universe won the prestigious Winton Prize for Science Books in 2013. Carroll lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.