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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time, Order, and Chaos

Daytime Program on Zoom

Friday, April 23, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1A0147
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member


Time is among the universe’s greatest mysteries. Why, when most laws of physics allow for it to flow forward and backward, does it only go forward. As the second law of thermodynamics states, the universe trends toward entropy and disorder. Physicist Julian Barbour makes the case that the law has been misapplied and that the growth of order, not chaos, determines how we experience time. In his view, the big bang becomes “The Janus Point,” a moment of minimal order from which time could flow, and order increase, in two directions. While most physicists predict that the universe will become mired in chaos, Barbour sees the possibility that order can grow without bound.

Barbour combines the established science of the cosmos with new ideas, as well as his own reaction to existence in the universe and wonder at its nature. He asks, “How is it that time has not only created the physical world of atoms and galaxies, but also poets, painters, and composers?” Explore the mysteries of time with a new and exciting perspective.

Barbour’s book The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time (Basic Books) is available for purchase.



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Inside Science

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.