The world-renowned physicist and author of The Elegant Universe takes readers on a journey from the big bang to the end of time and invites us to ponder the meaning of humanity in the face of this unimaginable expanse—investigating how we came to be, where we are now, and where we are headed.
Our knowledge of our impermanence, Mr. Greene stresses, might just be what lures us to search for the eternal ... Mr. Greene explores this claim beautifully in the book by placing our 'pervasive need for coherence and value and meaning' into the broadest possible cosmic context ... Mr. Greene tackles these profound questions with great skill. He weaves personal stories, scientific ideas, concepts and facts into a delightful tapestry that showcases the multiple points of view on these questions. Until the End of Time is organized into 11 thematic chapters that build up the argument deftly and deliberately ... What is remarkable about Mr. Greene’s book is how he has delved into deep questions that not only have no simple answers but may never be settled at all ... The crux of the issue lies in whether science as we know it can integrate subjective experience into its framework of objective reality. It is this grand unification that Mr. Greene has attempted in this ambitious and utterly readable book.
... encyclopedic in its ambition and its erudition, often heartbreaking, stuffed with too many profundities that I wanted to quote, as well as potted descriptions of the theories of a galaxy of contemporary thinkers, from Chomsky to Hawking, and anecdotes from Greene’s own life — of which we should wish for more — that had me laughing ... is also occasionally afflicted with stretches of prose that seem as if eternity will come before you ever get through them, especially when Greene is discussing challenging topics like entropy ... a love letter to the ephemeral cosmic moment when everything is possible. Reading it is like riding an escalator up through a giant department store. On the lower floors you find things like time, energy, gravity and the Big Bang, and biology.
With its scepticism of religion but openness to humanistic wonder, awe of nature, celebration of the individual and recognition of the power of physical law, the narrative has a strong whiff of transcendentalism ... Such qualities lift this work above many accounts of the cosmic story spanning from the Big Bang to the end of time—whether that’s a big rip, heat death or cosmic bounce ... Until the End of Time is packed with ideas; whether they come together as a convincing story is another matter ... His grand tour is sometimes breathtaking, necessarily selective and occasionally superficial. It often lacks the space or rigour to do its vast range of subjects justice. Beyond fundamental physics, Greene is a lucid summarizer of other popular accounts, but little more. That can leave his story patchy, and even misleading at times ... what’s missing—foreshadowing a wider lacuna in the book—is any sense that intermediate levels of that organization, particularly the cell, are equally fundamental ... When it comes to human behaviour—creativity, art, story, religion—Greene places a reductive faith in evolutionary psychology ... It is an eloquent invitation to debate.