The Future of Spacetime
by Richard Price, editor
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Where will the science of black holes, gravitational waves, and time travel lead us? Our minds tell us that some things in the universe must be true. The new physics tells us that they are not, and in the process it blurs the line between science and science fiction. Here are five accessible essays by those who walk that line, moving ever further out in discovering the patterns of nature, aimed at listeners who share their fascination with the deepest mysteries of the universe.Stephen W. Hawking: Chronology Protection Our fantasies of time travel and why they probably violate physical laws that we have yet to discover.Kip S. Thorne: Speculations About the Future What we might expect to discover about general relativity and its interface with quantum theory in the new century.Igor Novikov: Can We Change the Past? An exploration of the problems time machines pose to logic and free will.Timothy Ferris: On the Popularization of Science How scientists can communicate to the public the new, often counterintuitive ideas of spacetime.Alan Lightman: The Physicist as Novelist The creative similarities of and differences between working in theoretical physics and writing fiction. The Future of Spacetime is also available in print from W.W. Norton & Company.
Don't leave the solar system without it
Sometimes people call things 'genius.' A great catch in baseball was a brilliant play. A particularly well-crafted mystery story might be the type of smart fiction boosted into the company of the G-word. What we have here is real, living savants -- titans of the mind -- speculating on the development of theoretical physics as they might not live to see it. It might be tempting to accuse some wishfulness of creeping into the analysis of these scientists who find new empirical data more pulse-pounding than a car chase on IMAX. The tell-tale signs of such hopeful analysis are absent. Nice, round numbers do not abound. This linear presumption of the future of physics does not pace itself at regular intervals. Particularly telling is these scientists' knowledge not just of what is happening in their field, but by whom. Often, because these worldwide experts know who has been blessed with staggering research grant freedom or technological supercenters, they predict not only when a leap in scientific understanding is expected to arise, but through whose work it will develop. OK, after you accept the validity of the arguments presented, the speculations seem superhuman. Science fiction writers could scarcely bestow more potential to an alien civilization. This research dances on the cusp of the mind's potential for observation and extrapolation. If you find the history of twentieth century science interesting, this authoritative collection of possible directions for the universe is a must-read. Humanity should thank itself daily that such colossal minds are willing to demystify some of the leading potential research into our understanding of force, dimensions and matter/energy. I'll mimic the role the authors' early teachers likely played and give the collaboration an A+
This was a good book, written and explained in layperson style. You don't need a degree in physics to understand where the writers are coming from. If you like time travel, black holes, and quantum theory this is the book for you.
Very enjoable time
I was amazed that the book starts with essays from Stephen Hawking, and ends with one from Kip Thorne. Both of them talking about their bet about the space-time travel. Very instructive about the future of science, very well explained and very amousing. I enjoyed it very much!