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The Janus Point

A New Theory of Time

Julian Barbour



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The Bodley Head Ltd
03 December 2020
In The Janus Point renowned physicist Julian Barbour presents a major new solution to one of the most profound questions in physics - what is time? - with ground-breaking implications for the origin and destiny of our universe.

'Both a work of literature and a masterpiece of scientific thought' Lee Smolin Time is perhaps the greatest mystery in physics. Despite the fact that the fundamental laws of physics don't distinguish between past and future, we do. And so, for over a century, the greatest minds have sought to understand why time seems to flow in one direction, ever forward. In The Janus Point, Julian Barbour, author of the classic The End of Time, offers a radically new answer- it doesn't.

Most physicists believe that the second law of thermodynamics, and the increase of disorder that it describes, forces an irreversible, unidirectional flow of time. Barbour shows why that argument fails and demonstrates instead that our universe isn't heading for disorder; rather, it emerged from it. At the heart of his argument is a new vision of the Big Bang that Barbour calls the Janus Point, from which time flows in two directions, its currents driven by the expansion of the universe and the growth of order in the galaxies, planets, and life itself.

Monumental in vision and scope, The Janus Point is not just a new theory of time- it's a hopeful argument about the destiny of our universe. While most physicists predict that the universe will become mired in disorder, Barbour sees the possibility that order - the stuff of life - can grow without bound.
By:   Julian Barbour
Imprint:   The Bodley Head Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 242mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 38mm
Weight:   797g
ISBN:   9781847924728
ISBN 10:   1847924727
Pages:   400
Publication Date:   03 December 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Julian Barbour is a former Visiting Professor in Physics at the University of Oxford and author of the highly regarded The Discovery of Dynamics and the bestseller The End of Time. His papers have been published in the world's most prestigious scientific journals, including Nature, Proceedings of the Royal Society and Physical Review Letters and he has made numerous appearances on national radio, television and in various documentaries. The Janus Point is his first book in twenty years and the culmination of five decades' work.

Reviews for The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time

Julian Barbour has no peer when it comes to explaining scientific ideas in a way that is accessible without being simplistic -- Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash The origin of the arrow of time is arguably the most important conceptual problem in cosmology, and the prospect that it can be solved in a universe where time flows backward in the far past is as exciting as it is provocative. In this engaging book, Julian Barbour conveys this excitement admirably -- Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here With a rare humanity and a perspective based on a lifetime of study, Barbour writes a book that is both a work of literature and a masterpiece of scientific thought -- Lee Smolin, author of The Trouble with Physics Julian Barbour is a profound and original thinker with the boldness to tackle some of nature's deepest problems. He is also a fine writer, and this renders his book - despite its conceptual depth - accessible to anyone who has pondered the mysteries of space and time -- Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society The Janus Point shows history-in-the-making: a project to recast the foundations of all of cosmology, gravity, thermodynamics and the arrow of time. The book has given me a lot to ponder. As Gauss said of Riemann's habilitation lecture, '[it] exceeded my expectations' -- Bill Unruh, Professor of Physics at University of British Columbia

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