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“In thirteen succinct chapters, Rovelli shows us that time as we know it—continuous, smooth, regular—is an illusion. Our perception of time is limited and can’t take into account its true nature as a fluctuating, particulate field--“a network of relations that no longer holds together as a coherent canvas.” Step by step, Rovelli’s deconstruction of received notions of time is clear and accessible—our present is “a bubble around us” and can’t refer to far places in the universe; increasing entropy means “the entire universe is like a mountain that collapses in slow motion”—and his writing is elegant in all senses of the word, as breathtaking for the startling ideas as for his compact articulation of them. A theoretical physicist, Rovelli is also a true humanist; he doesn’t abandon us in a quantum universe ruled by entropy where “the difference between the past and the future refers only to our own blurred vision of the world,” but ends with Proust, music, and emotion. Overall, his book includes more poetry than equations, and he opens each chapter with an excerpt from Horace’s Odes—perhaps a subtle comment on standing the test of time.”Laurie G., Politics & Prose
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