By Lee Smolin
Smolin argues that physics and cosmology are trapped in insoluble dilemmas by viewing the universe as governed by timeless laws, with time as an illusion. He shows that by treating time as real, the laws of nature can be seen as evolving; indeed they are more like habits than laws. What has happened in the past affects what happens in the present through what Smolin calls "the principle of precedence."
"This is a Big Idea, and one with ramifications ranging from the Big Bang to the end of the universe.... The main thread of the argument...is easily grasped, and stands as a provocative challenge to the present state of what we think we know about the universe."
- Quill & Quire
"Time Reborn is the result of [Smolin's] most ambitious quest to date: He wants to get time flowing again.... It is incumbent upon us to occasionally step back and challenge our assumptions; to ask the very deepest questions we can articulate about the nature of the universe and our experience of existing within it.... Smolin is one of just a handful of thinkers who is up to that challenge."
- Dan Falk, The Globe and Mail
"[Smolin's] argument from science and history is as provocative, original, and unsettling as any I've read in years. It turns upside-down the now standard view of Wells, Minkowski, and Einstein. It contravenes our intellectual inheritance from Newton and, for that matter, Plato.... Smolin's argument develops slowly and builds suspense. The reader starts to wonder whether the lady being sawed into pieces will come out of the box alive.... The scientific case he makes is intricate."
- James Gleick, The New York Review of Books
"Smolin assembles ingenious arguments that the time-is-real version is the fundamental one, bypassing string theory, and explaining built-in aspects of our universe that science cannot otherwise address.... I suspect we're getting a peek here at what the cutting edge of physics a few decades from now is going to look like."
- The Boston Globe
"Smolin makes a compelling case.... For time to be 'real,' in Mr. Smolin's sense, it cannot be relative. But nor can it be absolute in the Newtonian mould, where the future already exists, by dint of inexorable logic. This leads Mr. Smolin to some audacious ideas. He challenges not only Einstein's relativity, but also the very notion of natural laws as immutable truths."
- The Economist
"The strongest dose of clarity in written form to have come along in decades. The implications go far beyond physics, to economics, politics, and personal philosophy. Time Reborn places reality above theory in stronger and clearer terms than ever before, and the result is a path to better theory and potentially to a better society as well. Will no doubt be remembered as one of the essential books of the 21st century."
- Jaron Lanier