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**These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"**

Very few people
are willing to take the second law of Thermodynamics as a primitive law of the
universe. Explicitly or implicitly, we don't seem happy with this law that
states an inequality. Somehow it must be a side effect of some other
phenomenon. Thomas Gold (among others) believes that the second law follows the direction
of the universe: entropy increases when the universe expands, it decreases when
the universe contracts (or, equivalently, when Time flows backwards). The
second law would simply be an effect of the expansion or contraction. In that
case the universe might be cyclic. Roger Penrose has also investigated the mystery of entropy. A gravitational
effect results in two dual phenomena: a change in shape and a change in volume
of space-time. Consequently, Penrose separates the curvature tensor in two components: the Ricci tensor
(named after the Italian mathematician Gregorio Ricci who founded the theory of tensors) and the Weyl tensor (named
after the German mathematician Hermann Weyl, a close associate of Einstein's). The Weyl tensor measures the
change in shape, and, in a sense, the gravitational field, whereas the Ricci
tensor measures the change in volume, and, in a sense, the density of
matter. The Weyl tensor measures a
"tidal" effect and the Ricci tensor measures an effect of volume
reduction. The Ricci tensor is zero in empty space, it is infinite in a
singularity. The Weyl tensor is zero in the initial singularity of the Big
Bang, but infinite at the final singularity of the Big Crunch. Penrose showed
that entropy follows the Weyl tensor and the Weyl tensor may hide the puzzling
origin of the second law of Thermodynamics. Back to the beginning of the chapter "The New Physics" | Back to the index of all chapters |