An Autonomous Agent

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Category: time (Page 1 of 2)

Order Out of Chaos – Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers

A little bit of quantum physics, chemistry, biology and philosophy all rolled up into one important book. Order Out of Chaos (La Nouvelle Alliance as originally published in French) by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers is a paradigm changing book. The first parts of the book are an excellent overview on the historical development of science – the evolution of dynamics and the discovery of thermodynamics and their relationship is particularly fascinating.

Once the reader gets to the later parts, it becomes somewhat abstract and the reader may not be able to get through it without a background in chemistry and physics. Chapter Nine, when the phrase “Order Out of Chaos” is developed, is difficult. Despite this, it is much more accessible than a scientific paper on the subject. It may take two or three reads to fully absorb the ideas presented. Overall it is one of my favorite reads.

Some important conclusions from the book:

  • The arrow of time objectively exists and it arises from non-equilibrium and irreversibility at the microscopic level.
  • The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can be understood as a selection principal. It operates as a negative on allowable initial conditions, in other words it restricts systems with certain initial conditions from existing.
  • Time travel to the past is not allowed by thermodynamics because time reversal requires infinite information concerning the initial conditions of the system, an impossibility to an observer in the universe. This implies that information is closely connected to irreversibility and time.
  • Thermodynamics can be expressed from dynamics through the idea of correlations and internal-time operators. Thus, dynamics has been extended once again (general relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos theory).
  • The universe as a whole is in a non-equilibrium state and it is an irreversible process with pockets of reversible dynamics.
  • In general, one of the goals of the authors is to make dynamics and thermodynamics consistent with each other.

The Holographic Universe – Michael Talbot

After watching an interview with Michael Talbot on YouTube, I was eager to read his book, The Holographic Universe. Despite being published in 1991, the book contains a wide range of references and resources perfect for any reader in 2016 interested in the boundary between science and the paranormal. I recommend this book, not because it provides profound new insight, but because of the huge number of paranormal examples (if legitimate) and historical occurrences with which any reader may have a difficult time fitting into their framework of reality. Of course, it is unwise to accept anything you read as truth; however, the source material is listed and the reader can stroll down any path he/she wishes in their own personal investigation of these topics. My own path is now taking me into the work of Dr. Stanislav Grof,  Rick Strassman, etc… and topics such as LSD, DMT, NDEs and OBEs.

Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy – Kip S. Thorne

It has been a long time since I read a book on astrophysics and I am now interested in Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy, by Kip S. Thorne. I hope this book will be thought provoking and fun to read.

Longitude: The True Story of the Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time – Dava Sobel

I really enjoyed reading Longitude: The True Story of the Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time by Dava Sobel. The book provides a well written narrative on the eventual development by John Harrison of a chronometer which could accurately measure time during ocean voyages.

The God Particle – Leon Lederman

Probably my favorite book by Leon LedermanThe God Particle provides a fascinating summary of modern physics accessible to all readers. Anyone interested in understanding the Standard Model should check out this book. In fact, this book should be read by any student beginning a course in physics.

Standard Model:

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