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Publisher's Summary

“Now” is a simple yet elusive concept. You are reading the word now right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment "now" so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of now. Equally puzzling: Why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it. 

In Now, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out - with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful - a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the big bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward. 

Muller points out that the standard big bang theory explains the ongoing expansion of the universe as the continuous creation of new space. He argues that time is also expanding and that the leading edge of the new time is what we experience as now. This thought-provoking vision has remarkable implications for some of our biggest questions, not only in physics but also in philosophy, including the ongoing debate about the reality of free will. Moreover, his theory is testable. Muller's monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe and may crack one of physics' longest-standing enigmas.  

Includes a PDF of Images from the book.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2016 Richard A. Muller (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Mind-blowing…[Muller] posits a theory that seems at once plausible and - surprisingly, for a book with equations - one worth not spoiling." (Time)

"[A] concise master class in understanding the essentials of physics." (Lisa Jardine-Wright, Science)

"Muller has taken a remarkably fresh and exciting approach to the analysis of time. With his usual clarity and wit, he proceeds from solidly established principles - each a fascinating story in its own right - but when he gets to the meaning of the flow of time and now, he forges a new path. I expect controversy!" (Saul Perlmutter, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics) 

What listeners say about Now

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    3 out of 5 stars

Worth the listen

I learned a lot and gained some perspective. I have read many physics books but this one has some better first principals explanations.

Also, nice job calling out physics on its shortcomings.

I could do without the free will and soul stuff.

11 people found this helpful

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The Physics of Time – Intelligent, Intuitive and a Great Read

Where does Now rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

1st… I rarely write reviews, and when I do, it's when I find its a book that has an author that has a very high IQ and is without a massive ego to go along with it. I was very pleased with the scientific content of Richard's book as well as how the story is laid out. For those of you, that enjoy Marcelo Gleiser's books; you'll most likely find The Physics of Time an enjoyable read. I would place this book in the top 3% of the hundreds of science-based audiobooks I've listened to in the last ten years.

What did you like best about this story?

While no physicist can fully tell their "story of time" without using advanced calculus, Richard Muller does an excellent job of simplifying the physics without " talking down" to the reader. He also provides his career experience regarding who he has worked with (such as Saul Perlmutter Nobel Prize winner 2011) which helps to make the story more interesting and personal. While the author is fully aware of the "strangeness of quantum mechanics" he eloquently tells the story of time without "falling into the rabbit hole" of absurdity. The author also does an excellent job in carefully helping the reader to understand what an incredible gift science is, but he also helps the reader to understand that science has its limits.I must say this is a refreshing perspective from the many other scientific authors that speak about the scientific method with "evangelical zeal."

Have you listened to any of Christopher Grove’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Christopher Grove did a great job narrating this book. A great voice and does a very good job in pronouncing some of the technical terms correctly

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes… Very engaging and very well narrated

13 people found this helpful

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Great insights in real physics; some "metaphysics"

This audible is definitely worth a listen if you want to gain further insights into fundamental physics. The author, who is a highly-cited physicist in his practice, doesn't go super deep into any one topic, and not all critical topics of relevance are covered; but he does give what I consider to be really good, extensive explanations regarding entropy, quantum particles/fields, quantum gravity, etc.

It might fizzle out somewhat in the end; but it's not because of topics irrelevant to physics. He ends up digging further into borderline-metaphysics than most of his intended audience might appreciate, assuming that audience to be science-minded people who only respect falsifiable hypotheses. But eventually physicists will have to explain the borderline physics that he mentions. Besides, he never suggests pursuing any studies that can't be tested and falsified, so it's not "spiritual clap-trap".

5 people found this helpful

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Not a real scientist.

He gets a lot of the science wrong. The first parts are ok but towards the end it seams like he believes in some kind of souls.
E.g. he believes that experiencing a color in a human brain is outside of physics. Basically he postulates therefore that consciousness is outside of science. That’s equivalent to a religious view of the world not a scientific one.
He also rambles about “free will” seeming to suggest that we do have some kind of free will and he hopes that any theory is wrong that would remove free will. (I suggest he should read: “Free Will” by Sam Harris to get more clarity about that subject).

I recommend “Our mathematical universe” by Max Tegmark as a much better and more scientific exploration of our universe.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved it

Unlike some of the reviews, I absolutely loved the end, and his take on the direction of time. I found the book to be very mind-opening. Concepts I had not considered. I bet at least some of the critics had their feelings hurt with criticism of Richard Dawkins' logic, thus they dissed the book. But the author also dismisses intelligent design as pseudoscience and tries to stay above the fray, and stick to figuring out the puzzle, with astounding conclusions. One of my favorite books.

9 people found this helpful

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Physics mixed with spiritual claptrap!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The subject is interesting without the author having to delve into his personal theology. I think Muller should have stuck to subjects on which he is informed and knowledgeable.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was horrified that such an intelligent and educated man could buy into his own half-considered musings on the nature of the human soul and its interactions with the physical world. It was a truly flaccid ending to what would otherwise be a very interesting tome.

What does Christopher Grove bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

N/A

What character would you cut from Now?

The human soul.

Any additional comments?

A great example of why physicists should stick to what they are good at. I would as soon read a theologian's musing on the nature of reality as a physicists musings on the nature of the soul. Neither have much of interest to divulge.

18 people found this helpful

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A book with good beginning that fizzles out in end

This is one of those books which could have been exceptionally good but fails to make it. It started off well and I developed high hopes only to find that as the book progressed it became philosophical ramblings of the author instead of a science book for lay people.

For example, in the latter part of the book the author starts discussing about soul and makes a point that he feels that he certainly has a soul though he is not sure about other animals. I have just one question for the author - if we have something like soul which other animals don't have , at what point during evolution did we develop it? Every cell in our body is a living thing , so does it mean that your soul is divided among trillions of cells?

Despite its flaws the book does shine in bits and pieces. Some topics have been explained well.

13 people found this helpful

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Bewildering, mind blowing, ultimately enlightening

I'm an artist and writer, very right-brained, sadly inept in mathematics and the sciences. Yet I have always been fascinated by Physics. Physics has remained a bewildering foreign language to me. Over the years, I thought if I listened to enough words spoken in the language Physics, I would suddenly understand it. Until this book, my hope has been unfulfilled. However, about half way through this book, my brain experienced an awakening to the notion of symmetry. I can't explain it, but from that moment forward, I understood, haltingly it is true, how and why Physics reveals and predicts the universe and life. I am going to listen to this book from the beginning again and again.

9 people found this helpful

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  • CJ
  • 06-22-19

Presupposes the existence of souls...

Provides some good examples of experimental results is physics, but cherry picks philosophy and almost completely ignores neurophysical /psychological experimental results that refute or at least bring into question the concept of free-will. Clear bias in the western idea of self, soul, and consciousness. Muller does a good job of writing physics ideas in an easily digestible way for the non-physics reader. Also mostly ignores Multiverses or the many worlds hypotheses.

2 people found this helpful

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An interesting rethink

This book contains some interesting ideas and challenges existing ideas, but breaks down into dualism and some questionable Philosophy by the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Willemoes Larsen
  • 09-16-17

Good start but bad end

Wery good in the first parts, but gets pseudo religious in the end. Thats a turn off, and the reasoning behind the theory of Now is just an opinion.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 12-02-16

Physicist is incompetent philosopher

Finishing this book was arduous.

The taxing condescending tone doesn't help the incompetent philosophy.

This book is about 5% interesting physics. The rest is wikipedia level introductory material and religious and political propaganda argued for without any understanding of the philosophical subjects involved.

This book would never pass peer review. Not that it has to.

Muller also rants about scientific metaphors using natural language terms, yet transgresses more on that front in this very volume than most.

May make an interesting read for fans of Chopra, otherwise avoid at all costs.

Terribly damaging to the intended audience, American High School students, this unclear mess is best forgotten about.

I suggest you wait for more papers on the actual theory being proposed - ephemerality as another horizon of expanding spacetime, the physics are truly interesting.

4 people found this helpful

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  • NRivere
  • 01-16-17

Incredible story and explanations.

Great food for thought and very complete.
Diagrams in Pdf.. But where is pdf? NO reference on where to get it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Samuel
  • 01-05-17

ok

some clear and well written passages, but not throughout! was hoping for more! on to the next

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alison
  • 01-27-21

Fantastic and inspiring

Fundamentally moved my understanding of the world with profound understated and deeply thoughtful writing. A lifetime of wisdom! Fabulous!

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  • Alexander Marinov
  • 10-28-16

cute

interesting story far connected to science and reality.
worthy listen it at least once. enjoy. learn and study

1 person found this helpful

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  • susan wee
  • 11-16-20

nice!!!!!!!!!!

lots of good physics but it goes beyond just science, into some of the bigger questions.