In Search of Time The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time

Dan Falk

St. Martin's Griffin

0312603517

9780312603519

Trade Paperback

352 Pages

$16.99

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In his latest book, award-winning science writer Dan Falk chronicles the story of how humans have come to understand time over the millennia, and by drawing from the latest research in physics, psychology, and other fields, Falk shows how that understanding continues to evolve. In Search of Time begins with our earliest ancestors’ perception of time and the discoveries that led—with much effort—to the Gregorian calendar, atomic clocks, and “leap seconds.” Falk examines the workings of memory, the brain’s remarkable “bridge across time,” and asks whether humans are unique in their ability to recall the past and imagine the future. He explores the possibility of time travel, and the paradoxes it seems to entail. Falk looks at the quest to comprehend the beginning of time and how time—and the universe—may end. Finally, he examines the puzzle of time’s “flow,” and the remarkable possibility that the passage of time may be an illusion.

Entertaining, illuminating, and ultimately thought provoking, In Search of Time reveals what some of our most insightful thinkers have had to say about time, from Aristotle to Kant, from Newton to Einstein, and continuing with the brightest minds of today.

REVIEWS

Praise for In Search of Time

"An engaging writer who fearlessly tackles potentially brain-freezing topics."—San Francisco Chronicle
 
"Falk selects, organizes, and interprets a mass of lore for our enlightenment and pleasure. We owe him."—Scientific American
 
"In this thoroughly readable, broad-sweeping, and thought-provoking book, Falk . . . poses some fascinating questions."—New Scientist
 
"Falk's book is what Hawking's Brief History should have been."—Ottawa Citizen
 
"Falk displays a deft touch with both temporal history and experimentation."—Toronto Star

"Falk is a great writer."—BBC Focus

“Dan Falk is a riveting writer: his latest book is almost unputdownable. He covers an eclectic range of fascinating topics—from prehistory to the far future. Time is a mysterious commodity: we gain, spend, save, and lose it. But everyone should make enough time to read In Search of Time.”—Martin J. Rees, author of Just Six Numbers and Our Final Hour

"Beginning with a 5000-year-old tomb in Drogheda, Ireland, illuminated only at the winter solstice, science writer Falk asks the question, 'What is time? . . . the stuff that flows . . . or a dimension, like space?' Falk explores the origins of calendar time, from primitive astronomical observatories to the precision clocks of today. Though the movement of the heavens provided the basis for years, months, days and even the seven-day week, it wasn't until the Catholic Church needed to date important events like Easter that reconciling the lunar and solar calendars became a major concern; as such, the Church became 'one of the strongest supporters of precision astronomy and timekeeping.' Falk seamlessly combines science with literary and philosophical observations ('Chaucer had no notion of the length of a minute; Shakespeare did but nowhere does he mention the second') and digresses to fascinating topics like root notions of past and future, the vagaries of memory and the behavior of birds at breakfast time. Rounding out his multi-course feast, Falk contrasts Newton's notion of 'absolute, true, and mathematical' time with Einstein's final words in 1955, 'the distinction of past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,' to present modern speculations on black holes and the universe's future."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Dan Falk has written about science for The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Astronomy, Nature, and New Scientist, and has been a regular contributor to the CBC Radio programs Ideas and Quirks and Quarks. His awards include a Gold Medal for Radio Programming from the New York Festivals and the Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy from the American Institute of Physics. His first book, Universe on a T-Shirt, won the 2002 Science in Society Journalism Award from the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Dan Falk

  • Dan Falk has written about science for The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Astronomy, Nature, and New Scientist, and has been a regular contributor to the CBC Radio programs Ideas and Quirks and Quarks. His awards include a Gold Medal for Radio Programming from the New York Festivals and the Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy from the American Institute of Physics. His first book, Universe on a T-Shirt, won the 2002 Science in Society Journalism Award from the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

  • Dan Falk
    Dan Falk
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