Since the beginning of human existence, we have questioned how the universe came to be and what our purpose is. While many find answers to these questions in faith and spirituality, local author Gene T. Yerger attempts to answer fundamental questions about the nature of our existence and place in the universe through a deep understanding of physics.
The East Greenville author will be presenting his theories and discussing his book, “The Meaning of Time: A Theory of Nothing” (New Hanover, 2008), at the Upper Perkiomen Valley Library at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2.
“What’s missing from our present society is a sense of purpose, a paradigm or belief if you will,” Yerger writes in the book. “This story promises to provide such a paradigm, a way of looking at the world with a new sense of wonderment and a new perspective. Most importantly, however, it will provide an answer to the question of why there is something rather than nothing.”
Half physics lesson, half memoir of a personal spiritual journey, “The Meaning of Time” looks at the schism between science and religion, as well as between Einstein’s theory of relativity (which functions on a planetary to cosmological scale and includes theories governing the laws of gravity) and quantum theory, developed by Niels Bohr (which deals with motion on the microscopic scale, i.e. electrons and protons). Yerger provides a comprehensive review of both theories, before expanding on current knowledge and developing his own Theory of Nothing.
“The problem is [scientists] have been trying for the last 100 years – since those theories were developed – to combine the two and they don’t mesh too well,” Yerger said, explaining that while both theories have their own merits, considered together, the theories don’t work to explain universal phenomenon, meaning that something, somewhere is wrong with them.
Yerger’s Theory of Nothing attempts to solve this problem by looking at the nature of time, which he believes holds the key to uniting the two theories. According to Yerger’s theory, time must be viewed from a multi-dimensional perspective in which the cause of an event (at the quantum level) actually may lie in its future. Although Yerger admits the idea, which he calls retro-causation, is controversial and seemingly counter-intuitive, he believes that such a radical solution to the problem of time is needed.
Although such heavy theories can leave readers’ minds whirling, Yerger’s personal story helps keep readers grounded and the text flowing. Interspersed throughout the chapters are recollections of Yerger’s life growing up in Spring Mount, swimming in the Perkiomen Creek, working for PhilcoFord and attending Ursinus College, among many other personal anecdotes. He said that he never intended to write a book about physics, but his personal search for meaning and a belief system after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks led him down the current path.
“I didn’t start out to write a book,” Yerger said. “But 9-11 happened and that was a very unsettling time for people. … It got me thinking about my own mortality and what my belief system was.”
After two-and-a-half years of research, reading hundreds of books and articles about various scientific theories, Yerger felt that he understood something significant, prompting him to publish “The Meaning of Time.”
But his research also resulted in a greater understanding of his own spiritual belief. “There is evidence in the universe and that implies some sort of designer or some sort of creative force that typically we call God,” Yerger said. “My feeling is that we should at least accept the premise.”
Yerger’s presentation at the Upper Perkiomen Valley Library on Oct. 2 will center on a new way of explaining the Theory of Nothing, which he believes will make it more accessible to the larger public. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session and a book signing from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Copies of “The Meaning of Time” will be available for purchase at the event for the special price of $23.99 ($10 for current high school and college students), and $10 from each book purchased will be donated to the library. To register or for more information call 610-721-9375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.