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Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time (Anglais) Relié – 4 juillet 1996

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

`... a thoughtful (and thought-provoking) analysis of the time-asymmetry problem of physics which is in many ways deeper and more illuminating than accounts to be found elsewhere.' Roger Penrose, Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford, and author of Shadows of the Mind and The Emperor's New Mind

`In this challenging book, Price applies critical reasoning and penetrating insight to the current theories of physics and cosmology that have a bearing on this problem.' Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, The University of Adelaide, and author of About Time and The Physics of Time Asymmetry

splendidly provocative book. (Sunday Times)

' ...he has taken a subject understood by a few experts and thrown open the door to the masses. Take it with a pinch of salt, perhaps; but do take it, and enjoy it as a feast for the imagination." (The Sunday Times)

...Price's book is a useful addition to the literature on time, particularly as it reveals the influence of modern science on the way a philosopher thinks. (New Scientist)

Price is a philosopher with a real grasp of fundamental physics. He offers an original slant on some profound issues, where our understanding has advanced little since the time of St Augustine. His book is not an easy read, but should trigger lively debate about whether he has introduced new paradoxes as stubborn as those he claims to exorcise. (The Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

The arrow of time and the meaning of quantum mechanics are two of the great mysteries of modern physics. This important book - written for non-specialist readers, as well as physicists and philosophers - throws a fascinating new light on both issues, and connects them in a wholly original way. In considering attempts to understand the arrow of time in physics, Huw Price shows that for over a century physicists have fallen repeatedly for the same trap: treating the past and future in different ways. To overcome this natural tendency, we need to imagine a point outside time - an Archimedean viewpoint, as Price calls it - from which to think about the arrow of time in an unbiased way. Taking this Archimedean viewpoint, Price asks why we assume that the past affects the future but not vice versa, and argues that causation is much more symmetric in microphysics: to a limited extent, the future does affect the past. Thus he avoids the usual paradoxes of quantum mechanics, without succumbing to the rival paradoxes of causal loops and time travel.

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Dans ce livre

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Première phrase
SAINT AUGUSTINE (354-430) remarks that time is at once familiar and deeply mysterious. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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53 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
It's about time 1 mars 2000
Par D. Roberts - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is one of the hardest books I've ever read. It was rewarding, though. Price wrote the book explicitly for philosophers and physicists. Frankly, it was nice to see a book written thus with all the condescending attitudes that these two (?) spheres of knowledge have had towards each other in this day and age. This book belongs in the same prestigious realm as the books on physics & philosophy that were written by Werner Heisenberg and Sir James Jeans earlier this century. I would like to see more books of this type in the future.
As you might have guessed, the book deals with the nature of time. It is HIGHLY recommended that anyone attempting grapple with this intellectual Godzilla have a general understanding of quantum mechanics (if, that is, anyone really DOES understand QM) and some background in thermodynamics and relativity would not hurt, either. This book is not for those who think of books by Danielle Steele as intellectually stimulating.
The book deals with the entropy "problem" of how it is that matter ever got to its low entropy state after the big bang, since (apparently) high entropy (heat death) is its natural state. Price tours some potential (although sometimes far fetched) answers to this query.
For me, the most fascinating facet of the book was its discussion of the idea of advanced action as a solution to the nonlocality "problem" in QM. It's amazing for me to think that two entangled photons could already KNOW that the other's spin is going to change at such-and-such a time due to their travelling at the speed of light. Although Price did not invent this concept, he supports it (compellingly) and also objects to the normal criticism that either we can have relativity or free will, but not both. A truly fascinating concept for physicists and philosophers alike.
So, if you want a wild and engrossing intellectual ride, this book is for you.
37 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Time For A Drink 11 janvier 2001
Par Daniel Myers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is heady stuff-Perhaps if you're a theoretical physics professor at CalTech it might make for light postprandial enjoyment.-But for the rest of us...Beware!...Part of the problem is terminology(micro) or (mu) innocence for example....Oddly, I read this book for the same reason I read Proust-I'm fascinated with Time!-But be forewarned that, though this book has far less than Proust's 3,000 pages, unless you are the aforementioned professor, you have an extremely tougher row to hoe in reading this book, even though the author goes out of his way to make things understandable to the lay reader. -The basic idea isn't that hard to understand: we are captives of our position in time and that captivity affects our observations of physical (particle, wavicle, whatever) behavior. What the author eventually advances (after ploughing through many other concepts and alternative explanations) is something called "advanced action theory." This theory entails, as far as I can make out, very simply, that there is a "common future" as well a "common past" that influences what we call the present but that we are unable to perceive this common future because our nature as AGENTS (he uses this term over and over)precludes us from perceiving this common future.-I kept on thinking of a spatial analogy of a person tied to the back of the caboose of a train facing backward. He can see where the train has gone, but not the vista ahead, which is certainly just as real. But if he has been in this position his entire life, he would have no idea what you meant by saying "See that mountain up ahead!" How could you know? It's as if one of us were to state, "See that assassination attempt tomorrow!"- Archimedes' Point for Mr. Price would entail an observer standing by as the train passes observing both where it's been and where it's going.-This is the simplest way I know to explain what this book is about, though it may just make more of a muddle of things for all I know....But the physicists Mr. Price describes seem to have done a pretty good job of that already.-Anyhow, that's enough explanation for a review like this one. If you are intrigued, go ahead and buy it.-But be prepared for hard, hard work.-Unless, of course, you've already figured all this out.-In the former case, a pint down at your local pub is the fit epilogue to this mindbending work!
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A challenging, dense but enjoyable read 2 mars 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is not a book for the faint of heart, especially if, like me, you are neither a physicist nor a philosopher. I suspect that students of quantum mechanics will get much more out of the book than interested bystanders such as I (who have never taken a physics class and would probably have flunked had I tried).
You cannot skim this book or read it with half a mind. You must engage yourself with the author, pay attention to each and every sentence. I recommend reading the introduction and conclusion first (this is, after all, a book about the asymmetry of time), then the beginning and end of each chapter before digging in. Luckily, Price divides each chapter into bite-sized sections. He also repeats himself quite a lot, but I think he does so because he knows how difficult his subject is and hopes that if you don't understand something the first time, you will by the third or fourth time or just by an example with a slightly different twist.
The lack of a physics background will not only make the subject harder to understand (of course) but will also make the argument harder to evaluate. His points are very interesting and seem well-reasoned, but I don't know enough about the subject to evaluate them.
Still, if you're interested in the subject and are prepared to work at it, the book will reward your time and energy.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Depending on measurement, author fails and succeeds 18 mai 2009
Par R. Beery - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In the preface of Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point, Mr. Price describes his target audience as being those people with an interest in the subject of time, yet no formal education in either Physics or Philosophy. In this light I feel that the book does not fare well due more to its style than its topic. I am wildly interested in the book's subject matter, and I have no formal education in either Physics or Philosophy, yet I found myself struggling at times to appreciate Mr. Price's logic on the first pass. Following the linguistic style of the book was apparently an issue for the editors at Oxford as well because it contained over a half-dozen typographical errors (all contextual; not spelling errors).

The ultimate purpose of the book is to make the case for a "Block Universe", one in which time does not flow, but rather whose entire existence already resides as a fourth dimension. "Archimedes' Point" in the title refers to the need for us to step out of our shells as agents in time, and view nature "from nowhen" if we are to truly understand the concept. Mr. Price begins by analyzing what appears to be the natural symmetry of time as outlined by the mathematical description of physics. He then presents common time-asymmetric arguments, one after another, and shows them to be ultimately fallacious, contradictory, or suffering from anthropocentric double standards. Near the end of the book Mr. Price incorporates the strange behavior of quantum mechanics, which can plausibly be explained by advanced action (aka causes coming from the future), to bolster his "Block Universe" claims. In the end I almost take the Block Universe for granted, and from this perspective the book is a resounding success.

Making it through the book was ultimately satisfying. The author's arguments, once fully appreciated, are sound and persuasive. The end of each chapter contains a summary of its contents which was fantastic. The final chapter again contains a summary of the major logical points made throughout the book which really helps to bring everything together. If you are a casual reader looking to be entertained then this book is probably not for you. If you are willing to do some work in the quest to expand your knowledge then I would recommend it...
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A truly excellent book and a real eye-opener 26 août 2008
Par Wigner's Girlfriend - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Huw Price's book is one of the best, but also most demanding, popular science books on the market. Actually it is a mixture of science and philosophy. Depite now being over 10 years old, there is little in it that has lost its relevance or been knocked down in those intervening years.

The great thing about the topic of time is that it is something that we all experience and have an intuitive feeling for. But if asked to explain it, to others or ourselves, we start to tie ourselves in knots. That is where this author shines most - at tackling the problem a step at a time, clearly, in simple language and with great attention to possible misunderstandings. His whole argument centers on the question of why the laws of physics are time symmetric whilst the world that we observe appears to have a preferred direction - from past to future. It turns out that many fascinating concepts are involved in untangling this problem. Entropy, causality and dependence, micro- versus macro-events. Psychological factors (based on human experience) are shown to strongly influence the way we think about the world, and to obscure our view of what time symmetry really implies.

The central claim of the book is that microscopic processes actually are time reversible and admit backwards causation. This idea is applied in quantum mechanics (in a non-mathematical but logical fashion) to suggest that Bell's theorem and non-locality can be explained (away) by assuming that particles can be influenced in their present state by a measurement that lies in the future. Sounds crazy? No its not, really. This is not wishful thinking, or trying to open a 'scientific door' to supernatural phenomena. What Price shows, very convincingly, is how difficult it is, even for famous physicists, to step outside our human perspective as actors in time. However, with a little effort to adopt the Archimedean perspective 'outside' of time, the reader is rewarded with a truly mind-bending new view of time, and the challenges it poses for physics and philosophy. An excellent, carefully argued and thoroughly stimulating book!
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