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1. A World Without Time
$15.64 $14.95 list($23.00)
2. Spring Forward: The Annual Madness
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3. Introduction to Statistical Time
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4. Galactic Alignment: The Transformation
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5. Stephen Hawking's Universe: The
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6. An Experiment With Time (Studies
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7. Calendrical Calculations: The
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8. Time Travel in Einstein's Universe:
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9. The End of Certainty
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10. Faster: The Acceleration of Just
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11. Space and Time in Special Relativity
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12. Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's
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13. The Philosophy of Time (Oxford
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14. The Oxford Companion to the Year
15. Markov Processes, Brownian Motion,
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16. The Analysis of Time Series:An
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17. How to Build a Time Machine
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18. Breaking the Time Barrier : The
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19. A Geography of Time: The Temporal
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20. The End of Time: The Next Revolution

1. A World Without Time
by Palle Yourgrau
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 0465092934
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 1743655
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Book Description

It is a widely known but insufficiently appreciated fact that Albert Einstein and Kurt Goedel were best friends for the last decade and a half of Einstein's life. They walked home together from Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study every day; they shared ideas about physics, philosophy,politics, and the lost world of German-Austrian science in which they had grown up. What is not widely known is that in 1949 Goedel made a remarkable discovery: there exist possible worlds described by the theory of relativity in which time, as we ordinarily understand it, does notexist.He added a philosophical argument that demonstrates, by Goedel's lights, that as a consequence, time does not exist in our world either.If Goedel is right, Einstein has not just explained time; he has explained it away.

Without committing himself to Goedel's philosophical interpretation of his discovery, Einstein acknowledged that his friend had made an important contribution to the theory of relativity, a contribution that he admitted raised new and disturbing questions about what remains of time in his own theory. Physicists since Einstein have tried without success to find an error in Goedel's physics or a missing element in relativity itself that would rule out the applicability of Goedel's results. Philosophers, for the most part, have been silent.

_A World Without Time_, addressed to experts and non experts alike, brings to life the sheer intellectual drama of the companionship of Goedel and Einstein, and places their discoveries -- which can only be measured on a millennial scale -- in the context of the great and disturbing intellectual movements of the twentieth century -- in physics, mathematics, logic, philosophy, and the arts. It contains, as well, a poignant and intimate account of the friendship between these two thinkers, each put on the shelf by the scientific fashions of their day -- and ours -- and attempts to rescue from undeserved obscurity the work Goedel did, inspired by Einstein, which made clear for the first time the truly revolutionary nature of the theory of relativity, which to this day is hardly recognized. ... Read more

2. Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time
by Michael Downing
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
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Asin: 1593760531
Catlog: Book (2005-03-10)
Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard
Sales Rank: 4250
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Michael Downing is obsessed with Daylight Saving, the loopy idea that became the most persistent political controversy in American history. Almost one hundred years after Congressmen and lawmakers in every state first debated, ridiculed, and then passionately embraced the possibility of saving an hour of daylight, no one can say for sure why we are required by law to change our clocks twice a year. Who first proposed the scheme? The most authoritative sources agree it was a Pittsburgh industrialist, Woodrow Wilson, a man on a horse in London, a Manhattan socialite, Benjamin Franklin, one of the Caesars, or the anonymous makers of ancient Chinese and Japanese water clocks.

Spring Forward is a portrait of public policy in the 20th century, a perennially boiling cauldron of unsubstantiated science, profiteering masked as piety, and mysteriously shifting time-zone boundaries. It is a true-to-life social comedy with Congress in the leading role, surrounded by a supporting cast of opportunistic ministers, movie moguls, stockbrokers, labor leaders, sports fanatics, and railroad execs. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Seasons
I teach writing.I'm always telling my students that writers are curious and ask themselves questions. Real writers dig to find the answers to their questions.They're even willing to research to find the answers, I tell them.And I had the perfect book to illustrate my point-Michael Downing's latest book about the history of daylight savings time:Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time. I read the first several pages to my class and they were hooked.The intriguing details and humorous style generated a lively discussion that had students asking their own questions, willing to pursue the answers, and begging me to read more of Spring Forward before the bell rang.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but...
As it happens, two very similar books came out only days apart, this one and David Prerau's "Seize the Daylight". If I didn't have Prerau's book to compare with this one, I might have rated this one higher; but Prerau's is so much better than this book that I cannot give a 5-star rating to this book.

Both books give some background history of timekeeping. Prerau's goes back to ancient days and covers the previous changes from temporal hours to equal hours, from apparent to mean time, and from mean local to standard time. Downing's book starts at a later point, and also devotes less space to the details, as well as putting this material in a flashback chapter, which makes for inferior organization.

In addition, I find this book is not written as well as Prerau's, which does a better job of holding my interest, and in addition, Downing makes a number of minor (but significant) errors such as writing "latitude" when he means "longitude" or "east" when he means "west." This causes a bit of difficulty on some occasions.

I cannot say I didn't enjoy this book, but I liked Prerau's better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Be Prepared to Laugh
I looked on the back of this book and saw that one of the proponents of Daylight Saving Time was Richard Nixon. Then I saw that one of the opponents of Daylight Saving Time was Richard Nixon. Yep, I decided, this book has to make good sense. At least as good a sense as Daylight Saving Time does.

Then he said on the first page that he adjusted his clocks before he went to bed instead of at 2 AM. His neighbor told him that he was breaking Federal law.The neighbor then said that if the Feds came around he would lie for him and give him an alibi.

Then on Page 4 Britain's Royal Astronomer suggested that in addition to changing the clocks that the thermometer should be put up ten degrees in the winter so we would be warmer.

I was hooked.

The conclusions of the book: nobody knows why we have it, nobody can prove any savings (or cost).

My real conclusions on this book. Be prepared to laugh. (I also found it necessary to telephone people and read them parts of it.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun for the curious...
This is one of those books that will appeal to thosewho always wonder why things are the way they are.Downing introduces his subject by listing all of the explanations he's heard for the existence of Daylight Saving Time and the various dates he's heard it was enacted.The stories are inconsistent and none of them make much sense.Dowling's curiosity about what the real story behind Daylight Saving Time was the impetus behind his writing this book and my reading the book.I wasn't disappointed.

Downing begins with the origination of the idea of Daylight Saving in England, takes you through its first implementation in Germany during WWI, quickly followed by Allied nations including the United States.The story is interesting in that the debate surrounding Daylight Savings has been more or less active from 1918 forward.The players usually don't come down on the side you've been led to believe by your parents and the media.

This is a great book for those who see what most people perceive as non-noteworthy occurences and feel the need to understand how they came to be.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Time of Confusion and Controversy
Around 1965 when my friends and I would go to the movies, along with the previews of coming attractions, we would be treated to a polemical short film designed to teach us the evils of Daylight Saving Time."Do you want to lose an hour of sleep every night?" boomed the self-important voice, as a cartoon illustration of a red-eyed man appeared on the screen."Do you want your children staying out after bedtime because it is still light?"My buddies and I thought it funny at the time to answer back "No!" to the first question and "Yes!" to the second.We did not know it at the time, but were doing our small part to continue a storm of controversy and puzzlement over clock-shifting.In _Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time_ (Shoemaker & Hoard), Michael Downing has given a sprightly history of a peculiarity in timekeeping that has pleased and bothered people ever since it was first seriously proposed for action.You might think that the only confusion that DST causes is for people who forget on the appointed night to change their clocks, or our surprise in the first week over how high the sun seems compared to the nights before the change.The truth is that there is much more confusion to go around on an issue that you probably thought was simple.

The US adopted DST in 1918, but repealed it just a year later; the repeal was sparked by protests by farmers, who were among the first, though certainly not the last, to insist on a return to what they viewed as "God's time."How God came to divide the day into twenty-four hours, however, they did not clarify.The influence of farmers, however, could not compete with that of Wall Street, which liked the idea since it meant that there would be a one hour window in the morning when both the New York Exchange and the London Exchange were open simultaneously, permitting exploitation of prices during those sixty minutes.In fact, the New York Exchange so missed the lucrative hour when DST was repealed that it put itself on DST just for trading hours.Exchanges in Boston and Philadelphia did not want to lose out, so they followed suit, small islands of anomalous time within the nation.The patchwork coverage of DST and the attempted legal patches to make it all sensible resulted in timely confusion.If you drove the 35 miles from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, and wanted your watch to keep the local time, you would have to change it seven times on the route.In St. Paul, Minnesota, there was an eighteen-story office building with nine floors on DST and nine floors not.

From time to time, like during wars, DST was promoted as the patriotic thing to do, since it saved energy, but this has not conclusively been shown.Some think there are good scientific reasons for DST, but there is no science behind it.What powers DST in a small way is emotion; most people simply like the long summer evenings (and Downing admits that he is one of these).I like it because it shows the arbitrary nature of timekeeping; we can shift hours just as we can (or could, if we wanted to) shift from feet to meters.The biggest force, though, is economic.Wall Street likes it, and that's important, but there were significant gains for specific industries.Sales of golf equipment and course fees go up in DST, and so do sales of barbecue equipment, and seeds and gardening supplies.Farmers still don't like it, but there are fewer and fewer of them to complain.Nonetheless, there are still plenty of people (and businesses like movie studios) that don't like it, and although we have relative standardization in its implementation now, there are still attempts to tinker with it.Falsifying clock time in America has become "the most sustained political controversy of the last 100 years," says Downing.His often hilarious book shows that the controversy isn't going to go away any time soon.
... Read more

3. Introduction to Statistical Time Series (Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics)
by Wayne A.Fuller
list price: $120.00
our price: $120.00
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Asin: 0471552399
Catlog: Book (1995-12)
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
Sales Rank: 566928
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The subject of time series is of considerable interest, especially among researchers in econometrics, engineering, and the natural sciences. As part of the prestigious Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics, this book provides a lucid introduction to the field and, in this new Second Edition, covers the important advances of recent years, including nonstationary models, nonlinear estimation, multivariate models, state space representations, and empirical model identification. New sections have also been added on the Wold decomposition, partial autocorrelation, long memory processes, and the Kalman filter.

Major topics include:

  • Moving average and autoregressive processes
  • Introduction to Fourier analysis
  • Spectral theory and filtering
  • Large sample theory
  • Estimation of the mean and autocorrelations
  • Estimation of the spectrum
  • Parameter estimation
  • Regression, trend, and seasonality
  • Unit root and explosive time series

To accommodate a wide variety of readers, review material, especially on elementary results in Fourier analysis, large sample statistics, and difference equations, has been included. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars nice graduate level text covering both time and frequency do
In 1981 I used this book for a graduate seminar that I taught on time series analysis at UC Santa Barbara. The course was successful because I followed the text closely. It presents the material in a rigorous and cogent manner. At the time there were a few competing books but some emphasized time domain methods and others were strictly frequnecy domain approaches. Fuller balances the two very well and his book is better written and organized than most of the competitors at that time (1981).

Today there are a lot more books to choose from. You can check my listmania list on time series books to get an idea. I particularly like Brockwell and Davis' book as a competitor to Fuller for a graduate level time series seminar. ... Read more

4. Galactic Alignment: The Transformation of Consciousness According to Mayan, Egyptian, and Vedic Traditions
by John Major Jenkins
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 1879181843
Catlog: Book (2002-07-30)
Publisher: Bear & Company
Sales Rank: 44409
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Explores the central role played by the galaxy in both ancient and modern times in the transformation of the human spirit.
* Extends Jenkins' groundbreaking research in Maya Cosmogenesis 2012.
* Reveals how the coming Galactic Alignment of era-2012 promises a renewal of human consciousness.
* Uncovers the galactic vision of Mayan, Egyptian, Greek, and Vedic cosmologies.

The Galactic Alignment is a rare astronomical event that brings the solstice sun into alignment with the center of the Milky Way galaxy every 12,960 years. Building on the discoveries of his book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, Jenkins demonstrates that the end-date of 2012 does not signal the end of time but rather the beginning of a new stage in the development of human consciousness. He recovers a striking common thread that connects the ancient cosmological insights of the Maya not only to Egyptian thought and Vedic philosophy but also to the diversity of humankind's metaphysical traditions ranging from Celtic sacred topography and Medieval alchemy to the Kabbalah and Islamic astrology. His work presents us with a groundbreaking synthesis of lost wisdom once common to ancient cosmologies that will help us understand the significance of this transformative cosmic milestone. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jenkins Best Work
The conclusion of this book is the reason you won't find this book at B&N or borders or ANY bookstore for that matter. This conclusion, that we are between the years 2000 and 2012, going through the Galactic Equator Plane aligned with the central sun of the Milky WAy, which happens every 30 MILLION YEARS (which occurs 8 times in a Galactic Year of 250 million years). This conclusions disproves the central theme and flawed conclusion of "Catastrophobia" by clow, that we have 11,500 years ago passed through the galactic plane thereby averting the "every 30 million year catastrophe the earth goes through" has already happened. This book is worth your while to read, take my word on it.

4-0 out of 5 stars if you are into apocalypse/earth changes(2012)!!
The book is about the coming changes to our consciousness in the next age.The author's theory is that the stories through the ages about the end of the world are not what is really going to happen,but that we will change as a species,on a mental level.Every 26,000 years our sun is in alignment with the very center of our galaxy.the center of the galaxy is connected to everything that revolves around it.For a long time our world has been in a down cycle,very low consciousness,greed,anger materialism.There was a time (our golden age)when we were in a up cycle,when our world/consciousness was connected to this nucleus/life force.The book goes into detail about astrological alignments and the old religions that new about this connection to our consciousness.This knowledge has trickled down to our times through things like the occult and meditation teachings,but has become distorted.It made me think about why it seems that the world is going crazy(lots of medicated people out there!),and that this is part of the effect before the 2012/new age changing.It might also explain why more and more people are experiencing paranormal stuff and becoming more spiritual,and the tensions for war are also building.It got me to read some more books on this subject.Instead of doom and gloom about coming earth changes the author's theory gives us some light at the end of the tunnel. ... Read more

5. Stephen Hawking's Universe: The Cosmos Explained
by David Filkin, Stephen Hawking
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
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Asin: 0465081983
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 246674
Average Customer Review: 3.95 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Brief Version of "A Brief History"
The title "Stephen Hawking's Universe" may give you the wrong impression about this book, because one would naturally associate Stephen Hawking with more in-depth scientific theories. However, this book is in fact no more than an introduction to the histories and discoveries of our universe. That is, it is more of a "tell-tale" than an explanation type of book, and should not be compared with books like "A Brief History of Time" (by Stephen Hawking himself).

In terms of presentation, this book does a great job in showing us the discoveries made by various scientists of the past and present in a fairly logical order. The beautiful illustrations used also contribute in helping the readers to understand and to maintain interest in the contents. Nevertheless, at times the author does seem to lose focus on the topics, and they become slightly more difficult to follow. Quite often you have to read on a couple of pages (or even chapters) before you are taken back on track.

To summarise, the book provides a clear outline of human's knowledge of the universe in a very graphical manner, and would be suited to those new to such concepts. However, if you are expecting explanation of greater depths, then you will probably be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book describing the best cosmological principles
Stephen Hawking's universe is one of the very few books of its kind. It describes the complex and beautiful picture of our cosmos as presented by the most famous living scientist of the world. This book will prove helpful and informative for all those who are concerned with the universe and also with Professor Hawking.
Stephen Hawking's universe is such a book which tends to describe a difficult subject with simplicity and ace. Thus any one out there who is intrested in cosmology and is waiting for a new arrival the please do have a look at this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars Beware! You will be dumber after reading this!
I've always enjoyed Stephen Hawking's writings, as in them he clearly explains things without condescendingly simplifying them, mixes humor with science, and conveys the awe and thrill of scientific discovery. However, once I got past the forward of this book (the only part written my Hawking), I could see that this book was a complete failure. I should have known when someone got me the book; Filkin is a total non-scientist and I now know is scientifically illiterite.

I was first confronted with horrid and sometimes malicious (or at least maddeningly stupid) terminology errors. For example, throughout the book, a brown dwarf is said to be a cooled-down white dwarf. WRONG! A brown dwarf is a starlike object too small to start thermonuclear fusion, so it produces heat and light by contracting; this is the definition according to the International Astronomical Union, the body which defines all astronomical, astrophysical, and cosmological terminology. This is just one of many such errors.
The terminology I had the biggest problem with was the wrongful (indeed, gratuitous) use of the word "creationism." It is relatively apparent that Filkin means the idea that the universe was created at some time, but it is still the wrong word. Either it was placed in there by Filkin (I think unlikely) or the publishers (more likely) to cave to the 45% of this backwards country which seriously believes creationism (in the sense of what the word really means), or (maybe a little more likely)used without thinking. This leads to my next big problem with the book.

Rather than sticking to the science, or at least pointing out how science sharply contrasts with "faith," Filkin spends a large amount of time talking about how science and religion (specifically Christianity) go hand-in-hand. He even makes up malicious falsities, frequently claiming that science at least partially supports Christianity (actually, he said it supporst "creationism"), and that important discoveries were held up by the dogma of "atheist scientists." One particularly despicable example is his claim that after Hubble discovered the Hubble flow, its reality and logical conclusions were denied and held back by "atheist scientists," being unwilling to accept the idea that the universe began (and hence doesn't violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics). Nothing could be further from the truth! The Hubble flow was looked upon very skeptically for over a decade because the original measurements put the age of the universe as less than the then-known age of the Earth.

Lastly, there are the contradictory statements. Filkin often makes statements contrary to the 'evidence' he supports it with, if there is any. One example is as follows: "churchgoing" scientist were shunned and forced to hide their beliefs from the 18th to the 20th centuries because (a) they believed in a moment of creation despite the official church policy that the universe was infinite, (b) the "atheist scientists" believed, like Newton, that the universe was infinite, and (c) these two beliefs (the church's and the atheist concepts) are different. If you were paying attention, you'd know these beliefs are NOT different, and hence not in conflict.

I put the book down after a few chapters of being frustrated not learning anything, frequently needing to correct Filkin, and seeing a creationist-propagandist's dream come true (regardless of what Filkin meant, I've seen quotes from this book paraded around by creationists). Finally, I would like to point out my disgust with Hawking for having a book like this sold with his stamp of approval.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book
This book starts with Ptolemy, proceeds to Galileo and eventually to Einstein and Planck. Any one who has ever been interested in science will love this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars A grave disappointment
As a fan of Stephen Hawking, I was anxious to read this work - looking forward once again to his humorous and "banally-esoteric" approach to science. But I was gravely disappointed. My own fault really, for not reading the editorials, the reviews... or even the jacket!

If I'd only glanced at the bottom of the jacket I would have known that Hawking (whose photo and name are the most dominant features on the cover) had only written the forward to this book, and nothing else. Go figure.

But in spite of that, I began to eat from it greedily, expecting that it would at least resemble the familiar and palatable taste of a Hawking work. I was wrong of course. So then I felt sort of cheated. I guess I resent being hoodwinked. But then maybe I'm just too sensitive.

Apparently, David Filkin's approach to literary science is to be condescendingly simple. Which is okay if you promote it that way. But if you fire your intentions from the ramparts of Stephen Hawking's identity, I think it'd be best to run somewhat parallel to his reader's level of awareness, and allow us the dignity of licking the wounds of our own self-esteems as they occur.

The book attempts to be a chronological outline of scientific discovery. At times though, it becomes almost predictable - and as a result, boring. At other times, it wanders (Hawking wanders too, but he does so for good reasons, and usually has me laughing before he's back on track). Further moments are occupied with repetition, contradiction and redundancies - not to mention a maddening penchant for patting my head, and saying, "I know you didn't understand that, so here's a simpler explanation".

I had the nagging feeling that Filkin was being careful not to overburden the reader with science. Or at least the kind of science that requires explaining. Sure, I'm not a whiz at chemistry, and I flunked calculus twice, but at least give me a chance to feel stupid where I fully expect to. Don't tread softly on me if you think I won't understand it, especially if you're representing Stephen Hawking for Pete's sake!

Don't get me wrong - I am not a Stephen Hawking fanatic with a get-even agenda (I've had my moments with portions of Hawking's work a time or two also). My exasperation is purely clinical - I expect to get what I pay for. Or at least what I see on the cover.

Not recommended ... Read more

6. An Experiment With Time (Studies in Consciousness)
by J. W. Dunne
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.47
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Asin: 1571742344
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 257897
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

J.W.Dunne ("Intrusions?," "The Jumping Lions of Borneo," "Serial Universe") first published his ground-breaking theory of time in 1927.Spurred by dreams and other personal experiences to an intense interest in the nature of time and human perception, Dunne designed an experiment whose purpose was to isolate the barrier dividing our knowledge of the past from that of the future.Conversant with the concepts and language of physics - which he deemed inadequate to describe a world that is largely experiential - Dunne weaves an intriguing, intelligent, and convincing theory that has earned him a place of honor among the twentieth century's brightest minds.

- Brilliant theory that puts Dunne in the ranks of Einstein, Hawking, and other pioneers of physics and consciousness research

- A scientific experiment to probe the nature of time and the barrier dividing knowledge of the past and future

- Contains one of the first scientific arguments for human immortality

- Explores the relationship between dreams, time, perception, and reality

- As original and thought-provoking today as it was three quarters of a century ago ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The forgotten and fantastic.
In this gem first published in 1927, John W. Dunne puts forth a theory of multidimensional consciousness which manifests itself mainly in the "Dream effect". A mathematician and aeronautical pioneer, Dunne found himself having precognitive experiences throughout his adult life. His dreams would come true. Often times the very next day and in rich detail. I am myself mathematicly inclined, and can only ponder at the discomfort this would have created to a scientist of such a logical mind.

And surely enough, he spent the rest of his life seeking an answer to the riddle.
In "An experiment with time", he reveals his startling conclusions, which are based in deductive reasoning and experiments.
By applying the concept of regression in human consciousness and time to the results of the experimental work he finds an answer to the problem of apparent psychic abilities in his more or less ramdomly chosen subjects.
Not only that; he thereby also explains the phenomena of deja vu and many cases of clairvoyance, common precognition, ESP and many other "paranormal" occurances.
It is important to note that this theory, which I can only describe as analogous to the theory of general relativity in its ingenuity and brilliance, have NEVER been disproven in its 77 year history.
Furthermore there is no known physical law or concept that would disallow the "dream effect", even today.
The pieces of the puzzle, therefore, fits uncannily well in the map of the eye-opening reality that Dunne unfolds.
Towards the end, Dunne takes the theory even further to prepose the exsistance of an eternal multidimensional concsiousness and a higher, supreme consciousness, which it has to be said, I find rather speculative and philosophical. However, It is an extrapolation that is not wholly unnatural, at least in case of the seamingly immortal qualities of human serial consciousness.

This piece is in my mind one of the most important books of the last century, and almost tragic that so few know of it. This is in part, I think, due to the non-scientific material which it brushes up against, but ultimately deciphers for the first time.

As to the question of whether or not it is psuedo-science: The experiments can be repeated at all times in any laboratory with any subjects, and from that, the same results have so far been found. These are the parameters which define scientific research. And the more experiments are conducted, the more probable Dunne's conclusions are.

This book is exeptionally engaging to anyone interested in these matters. Its my all-time favorite non-fiction piece and I can only recommend it, so that awereness of the theory increases.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic study of precognitive dreams
The reader who was "sickened" by this book apparently didn't notice that it was written about 80 years ago. That reader also missed a central historical point: People have been reporting precognitive dreams for a very, very long time and trying to grapple with how to understand them in scientific terms for about a century. Dunne was one of the first to write about his experiences, and his training as an engineer led him to a thoughtful series of analyses and fledgling theories. Anyone who has had precognitive experiences will find this book interesting. But if you strongly believe that such experiences are mere coincidences, or logically incoherent, or impossible, you should avoid this book because it will just make you angry.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sickening anti-scientific pseudo-science...!
It's sick that people are allowed to write such horrible material and spread incorrect idiotic misinformation. This guy uses pseudo-science to try to convince (feeble minded idiots) that dreams show you the future. After using flawed logic, twists of linguistics, and pseudo-science to make this claim, he actually goes on to claim this proves God exists.

This is a horrible horrible book. This should get NEGATIVE stars for using incorrect misinformation to try to convince people of false claims.

These are the type of people who ruin humanity for the rest of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Glad it's back in print!
I've been borrowing this book from the library for many many years. I'm ecstatic I can finally have my own copy!

I still don't know how I feel about Dunne's theory----basically, that our dreams are memories from the future. But it's something that makes sense (no matter how far fetched it sounds....) and it's something that I'd *like* to believe.

A regular person can easily understand the text; it's not all heavy-handed scientific terms. An enjoyable read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very insightful yet flawed.
Dunne is onto something very important. The first half of the book is easy to follow and very insightful. It is an important work that, in my opinion, successfully demonstrates the precognotive nature of some dreams. I am perhaps more easily convinced than others as I too have had similar experiences. However, Dunne goes beyond proving the existance of such dreams and attempts to explain how and why they happen. The infinite regress argument seems to be flawed. He claims it to be proof of God's existance. I do not feel that he has successfully proven this theory about the how and why of time. For a very good analysis of Dunne's theory, see "Man and Time" by J.B. Priestly. Regardless, "An Experiment with Time" is a very important book that attempts to take an objective view on a very subjective subject. ... Read more

7. Calendrical Calculations: The Millennium Edition
by Edward M. Reingold, Nachum Dershowitz
list price: $40.00
our price: $31.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521777526
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 298166
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This new edition of the successful calendars book expands the treatment of the previous edition to new calendar variants. It frames the calendars of the world in a completely algorithmic form. The authors describe fourteen calendars and how they relate to one another: the present civil calendar (Gregorian), the recent ISO commercial calendar, the old civil calendar (Julian), the Coptic and (virtually identical) Ethiopic calendars, the Islamic (Moslem) calendar; the Baha'i, the Hebrew (Jewish) calendar, the Mayan calendars, the French Revolutionary calendar, the Chinese calendar, and both the old (mean) and new (true) Hindu (Indian) calendars. Easy conversion among these calendars is a by-product of the approach, as is the determination of secular and religious holidays. Calendrical Calculations makes accurate calendrical algorithms readily available for computer use with LISP and Java code for all the algorithms included on CD, and updates available on the Web. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for calendars - Legal issues in using code
I highly recommend the book if you are interested in calendars as a hobby. If you are using this book for a project I suggest you look at this soley as a reference, since you will have to look elsewhere to have something you can use. The bibliography included is a good source.

The details and discussions of how they approach problems like the visibility of sunset are amazing and really opened my eyes to the difficulties of creating an accurate calendar under different systems. This book covers everything I could think of and quite a few ideas I would never consider.

I would give it 5 stars, except that the code and algorythms provided in the book are copyrighted and can not be used without explicit permission of the authors. I contacted the authors for a project I had, but it was determined that I could not use their algorithms since I intended to release under GNU license.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good, but pseudocode hard to swallow
This books teaches you a lot of about the mathematics
that needs to go behind calculations to determine date/time,
and is truly a must-read book for people who want to
write such software.

However, I did find the equations hard to adopt for my
own use, partially because the pseudocode fails to show
exactly what the units were. For example, on the later
chapters where one must take into account planetary
position and such, it is extremely hard to find out
exactly what each variable/number represent if you're
not already very familiar with the subject. I believe
most of the definitions are in fact in the book *somewhere*,
but they are buried deep. This makes it extremely cumbersome and
time consuming for the reader to actually try to
implement the calculations.

If the notation can be improved a bit, I think it would
be even better book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
All you ever wanted to know about calendrical stuff.

5-0 out of 5 stars Super
Super! Better than the first edition: give it 6 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything you ever wanted to know about calendars!
The first edition was a masterpiece, but this one is evenbetter! I've been involved in proof reading the new edition, and I'veread the final draft. There are lots of popular books out there about calendars and the history of calendars. Unfortunately, most of them are filled with mistakes, especially when they talk about non-European calendars. The purpose of this book is to both give reliable information about the different calendars and to provide software for calendrical computations. My own field is the Chinese calendar, and this is one of only two books that gets it right (the other is the Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac). If you want to get the facts, there's no other comparable book. Remember to check out the web site of the authors to get the software and check out the applets. END ... Read more

8. Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time
by J. Richard Gott
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618257357
Catlog: Book (2002-09-19)
Publisher: Mariner Books
Sales Rank: 22327
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this fascinating book, the renowned astrophysicist J. Richard Gott leads time travel out of the world of H. G. Wells and into the realm of scientific possibility. Building on theories posited by Einstein and advanced by scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne, Gott explains how time travel can actually occur. He describes, with boundless enthusiasm and humor, how travel to the future is not only possible but has already happened, and he contemplates whether travel to the past is also conceivable. Notable not only for its extraordinary subject matter and scientific brilliance, Time Travel in Einstein"s Universe is a delightful and captivating exploration of the surprising facts behind the science fiction of time travel. ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Time Travel in Einstein's Universe
This book stands out from the now-ubiquitous books on quantum physics in several ways. First, it establishes a link between the science of quantum physics and the effect it has had on popular culture. It uses this as a jumping-off point for discussing some rather odd predictions of current theory, then delves into more detail than most similar books on why these predictions exist. The math is fairly easy to understand, and the book presents one of the most lucid explanations of the various states of vacuum and the possible geometries of space-time. The cover illustration is actually a 2-D model for a multidimensional concept that the author holds off until the end (and it is worth the wait), providing rare suspense to an otherwise dry topic.

Provocative, though it stops just short of the neo-Taoist theosophy of _The Dancing Wu Li Masters_ and _The Tao of Physics_. You will enjoy, I promise! Also in Discover Magazine's list of recommended reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Time Travel in Einstein's Universe
Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time written by J. Richard Gott is a very well-written book about time travel and what it might consist.

This book is easily read and is a delightfully refreshing as I found for the first time that the author was the first to completely explain Einstein's theory of relativity to me and I understand it and the ramifications.

The author explains how some of the best science fiction can stimulate science fact in the world's finest scientific people. Thus, time travel has been conceived.

The book only has five chapters all of which dedeal with the subject of time travel as seen of different angles. Cosmic strings, space folding upon itself, traveling back to a past event via two cosmic strings are discussed in detail along with wormholes and warpdrive. A warpdrive creates a U-shaped distortion in the spacetime creating a shortcut.

A self-creating universe according to the author, in which the universes give birth to other universes, a time loop at the beginning allows the Universe to be its own mother. I found thiss book to be some serious mind candy... some very deep level physical philosophy... indeed.

The prose moves quickly and you will not be bored as the author drives home his insightful points one after the other. The layperson will not be lost in space reading this book, but your mind could be bent as you read this very engaging book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great For Everyone
This book is exciting to read if you're interested in time travel, regardless of how much math you understand. It gives a good balance between the mathematics of time travel, and concepts, such as paradoxes and multiple universes. I loved it even though I didn't understand most of the math.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
I'm an avid fiction reader, but for some reason I decided to try this book. It was a blast! I learned on a basic level how our universe works, and was entertained too! I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes to both learn and be entertained.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book (Not for Beginners)
I'm in the middle of reading this book and it is AWESOME. Gott does a great job writing and addresses both visual and non-visual learners. I would recommend it for anyone interested in physics and/or astronomy. Even half way through I understand much more than I did before starting. I'm in fifth grade and nobody but me in my class understands it (but, as you probably know, I'm not the average fifth grader). It is the best non-fiction book I've ever read and I hope you read it too! ... Read more

9. The End of Certainty
by Ilya Prigogine
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684837056
Catlog: Book (1997-08-17)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 68994
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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In this intellectually challenging book, Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine tackles some of thedifficult questions that bedevil physicists trying to provide an explanation for the world we observe. How isit, for instance, that basic principles of quantum mechanics--which lack any differentiation betweenforward and backward directions in time--can explain a world with an "arrow of time" headedunambiguously forward? And how do we escape classical physics' assertion that the world is deterministic?In a sometimes mathematical and frequently mind-bending book, Prigogine explores deterministic chaos,nonequilibrium thermodynamics, and even cosmology and the origin of the universe in an attempt to reachan explanation that can reconcile physical laws with subjective reality. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A compelling case for a new worldview
As an earlier reviewer said this book provides a solution to three of the most important problems in science: 1. time's arrow 2. the measurement problem in QM 3. The existence of freewill (and the the death of the absolute determinism of Newton and Einstein). Although the book is short, I think he provided a compelling outline for the solution of all three problems. At times understanding his solutions requires understanding some advance concepts from math and physics. However, I believe an intelligent layman could skim these parts and still follow his presentation. (There is a glossary at the back of the book.)

I wish that Prigogine could have discussed in more detail the philosophical (and perhaps even religious) consequences of this work, which there are many, but few are explored and none are explored in depth. One consequence he does explore briefly is that it appears that "time precedes existence!" And at the end of the book, he also briefly addresses the worldview that emerges from his work. He says: "What is emerging is an 'intermediate' description that lies somewhere between the two alienating images of a deterministic world and an arbitrary world of pure chance. ... As we follow along the narrow path that avoids the dramatic alternatives of blind laws and arbitrary events, we discover that a large part of the concrete world around us has until now 'slipped through the meshes of the scientific net,'to use Alfred North Whitehead's expression."

I give the book my higest recommendation and hope in sequels Prigogone and his co-workers can explore the technical details (textbook level) and the philosophical consequences (layman level) of this very important and exciting work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tightening the Science Net Meshes. But Still Missing Much!
In a world gone crazy with Bohr's "observer-driven collapse of the wave function", Everett's surreal "many-worlds theory", and Einstein's discomforting "reversibility of time-flow direction", Prigogine stands as possibly the sole (or last?) defender of commonsensical notions of time in physics (which equals to say, of sanity!). He is the Champion of Time, bow, arrow, and all! His weapon: a "bow" of decades of successes (including a Noble Prize) in nonequilibrium thermodynamics. His ammunition, a quite peculiar arrow: the arrow of time. But just as happens with many literary characters, not only his virtue but also his vice may spring out of the very same source; in his case, his "sane" notions about Nature...

This book will very likely prove readable by most general readers, like myself, provided the technical parts are carefully skipped, and the central ideas are correctly spotted. It truly presents essential insights to issues like: the emergence of complexity; self-organization; the nature of matter; determinism vs probability; and the validity of time symmetry in both quantum mechanics and classical mechanics equations. As to issues like the actual existance of a flow and arrow (direction) of time (which, by the way, is the very subject of the book) and the existence of free will, the book may be too far from conclusive...

It seemed to me (only top experts could really tell for sure) that Prigogine showed compelling evidence supporting the idea that, contrary to the prevailing notions in the field of physics, there is time asymmetry both in quantum mechanics and in classical mechanics. And also, that reality at both these levels is not deterministic, but truly probabilistic. He further showed that determinism should be replaced by a probabilistic account of events both in situations where we have finite knowledge about the initial conditions and in situations where we have infinite knowledge (we are done with Laplace's Demon at last!). This alone is already a breakthrough, even though probably not news to well-informed members of the physical sciences community.

I found Prigogine a little bit contradictory (it might be that Nature itself is contradictory in this regard) when talking about determinism/time-reversibility. Sometimes, I got the impression that it only exists in idealized (non-real) situations, and sometimes I understood it as if it does exist in certain specific (real) situations.

I also found his rejection of Gödel's time-reversible interpretation of Einstein's equations far too emotional, instead of being based on experimental-mathematical grounds. As far as I know, this viewpoint, too, has experienced considerable growth over the last 10 years or so (the studies about CTC - closed timelike curves), and it seems to be a quite respectable field of inquiry. Time-flow reversibility does not seem less crazy to me than the fact that we have to use imaginary numbers (that is, numbers that do not exist at all!) in theories that deal with some very basic properties and behaviors of matter, like quantum mechanics and chaos.

Even though physicists usually equal time symmetry (in physical equations) to time-flow reversibility, and asymmetry to irreversibility, I don't see why this has to be so. Nor does this book clarifies this issue any further to the layman (it is interesting to point out in this regard that even the probabilistic collapse of the wave function is considered by the prevailing views of physicists to be symmetrical/reversible, according to Penrose in The Empreror's New Mind). Our suspicions and complaints about the mysterious nature of time are very much justified: space gives us 3 dimensions, bidirectional and with no compulsory flow. Time, on the other hand, gives us just 1 dimension, unidirectional and with compulsory flow. At best, we can slow it down, by traveling close to the speed of light (quite comforting, isn't it?).Time alone is responsible for most of our losses in life (unless you get exiled or something...). I think that, interpreting "time symmetry" as "time reversibility", scientists have actually tried to solve the unsolvable.

In our quest to understand the Universe, we often find three kinds of questions: first, those that can be proved or disproved, like the old statements "The Sun revolves around the Earth" (disproved), and "The Moon revolves around the Earth" (proved). Second, questions that can be proved, but not disproved, like the existance of God or of life after death. Third, questions that cannot be either proved or disproved, like the existance of consciousness in other human beings than ourselves (or in dogs) and (to me) the actual existance of time flow.

Prigogine says that in this book he tried to follow (or discover?) a "narrow path" between utter determinism and total randomicity, probably hoping to find room for free will in between. Although I think he did a brilliant work, I feel that he got stuck in this Narrow Path. His work refutes determinism, but instead of presenting phenomena or advancing mechanisms to support free will, it only casts us into the depths of utter chance. In spite of that, when talking about self-organization in dissipative structures, Prigogine passes on the idea of "choice", even saying (more than once) that "matter begins to see" and that "the system chooses". This might ascribe to nature at its most basic structure the properties of "life" and maybe even of "consciousness", which might mean that we are at the verge of a revigorated return to the ancient ideas of hilozoism and panpsychism. Furthermore, this blurs the limits between emergence and reductionism, for it is very difficult to take a sound reductionist stand (or emergencionist stand) if we don't know what to expect of the world around us (we can't tell if something is emerging or just "arising").

Prigogine's appeal for sanity is both his virtue and his weakness, in a Universe that pays little heed to human's logic and causality. A Universe in which, regardless of being dictated by an authoritarian God or determined by blind and cold laws of nature, the only theory that may account for all that there is is the familiar and provincial B.I.S.O. theory. Namely: Because I Say So!

4-0 out of 5 stars New physics for 21st century
I did buy this book some time ago and then I was fascinated. I studied the basis of his theory, but unfortunately, Prigogine passed away recently, before I can discuss with he some topics in more detail.

The greater part of the book is written in a natural style, but some sections are highly mathematical even for the majority of scientists! This mathematical presentation has a curious explaining. There are several version of Prigogine's theory, but the first versions had been "abandoned", and then Prigogine details the new approach: "Star-unitary theory for LPS outside of Hilbert space".

An earlier reviewer said that the book provides a solution to three of the most important problems in science: (1) Time's arrow. (2) The measurement problem in QM. (3) The existence of freewill. Precisely, I am working in those and other questions, and I do not believe that claim was completely correct (and perhaps Prigogine believed the same, because in his last communication, said me "The questions that you ask are very difficult."). In my opinion, the novel theory is conflictive both in mathematical and physical details, but I consider that, at least, the aim of the School is correct one. Irreversibility and uncertainty are two fundamental features of our universe. I see that orthodox physics (including particle physics and the so-called String-M theory) is incorrect and/or inapplicable. I believe that, whereas other "popular" books (The Quark and The Jaguar, The Elegant Universe, etc.) should be "relics" in 21st century physics, Prigogine's book will be then a basic work.

The contributions of Prigogine's physics to the understanding in other disciplines, as chemistry, are not clear. In fact, I believe that the impact of recent Prigogine's ideas into fundamental chemistry has been "insignificant", because his revolutionaries ideas in physics are an outcome of their previous chemical investigations (Nobel Prize for Chemistry). For example, in his complex spectral theory, energy is an imaginary quantity, and this is in direct conflict with standard quantum theory postulates. However, in theoretical chemistry, one always defines a transition state by means of an imaginary frequency. As said Prigogine in a recent Solvay conference, "all of Chemistry deals with irreversible processes". I cannot say the same of physics.

The book is very good one, but I disagree in one point. When one writes a scientific paper for publication in a specialized journal (as Physical Review), one can write about everything. Referees and other scientist can either accept or reject your work in scientific grounds. When one writes a popular book for non-expertises, one must be the most "neutral" possible. If this is not possible, one must to "alert" to the reader. This book is not neutral and, in some restricted sense, shows several theories and ideas as been of broad acceptance or current use in science. Of course, this overemphasizes the scientific status of the so-called Brussels School and minimizes the importance of other interesting points of view. In my opinion, this is not a correct attitude. For example, the "diagrammatic" method developed by Brussels School in the 60's (and illustrated in the book) is broadly not used by scientific community. See, for example, "Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics" by Robert Zwanzig for a view in more standard formalisms. In addition, I also must say that some previous Prigogine's ideas in dissipative structures, kinetic potentials, etc. are not standard, and other, as the "universal" criterion of evolution (following production of entropy), was experimentally shown to be false. Of course, other contributions of called Brussels School are simply impressive, for example the extension of scattering theory of particle physics to more general situations of chemical kinetics. Effectively, you have read fine, orthodox S-matrix of "fundamental" physics can be derived as an idealized asymptotic version valid for typical accelerator experiments! I am sorry, but I must said that Chemistry is not applied QED.

Conclusion: The book describes an excellent philosophical view in a "new" physics, and for this reason it may be a central piece on your collection. Nevertheless, I consider that the scientific way proposed is a little conflictive and some mathematics may be modified!

3-0 out of 5 stars All of this has been said before
If you want a simple, elegant, responsible, well-informed book on the origin of the macroscopic arrow of time and on how time-revesibility at the microscopic level resolves many of the quantum paradoxes, read Physics Prof. Victor Stenger's "Timeless Reality". You will get much more out of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Crucial Piece of the Puzzle
Many people presume that the integration of various domains of science into a single unified "superscience" will ultimately show that everything reduces to physics. In fact, one earlier reviewer of "The End of Certainty" closed his review saying, "Biology is, in the end, physics."

There is a way in which biology could be "reduced" to physics, but only if we learn to define "physics" very differently than we do today. Prigogine shows why biology CANNOT be reduced to context-independent, deterministic contemporary physics. (Read Robert Rosen's "Essays on Life Itself" for the most profound and fundamental explanation, based on non-integrable, complex, "impredicative loops of efficient causation".)

"The End of Certainty" is an important work because it points toward a revolutionary realignment of fundamental physical principles, theoretical perspectives, and even scientific methodology. In fact, it draws together many of the crucial elements that ultimately will result in the inevitable emergence of a fundamentally transformed model of scientific epistemology. It's an important snapshot of a pivotal stage in the evolution of scientific knowledge.

There has not been a coherent major shift in the foundational paradigms of physical science since the emergence of relativity and quantum physics in the early 20th century. The pioneers of those physical models, if not the models themselves, behaved as feuding brothers from the start. That disputatious relationship is perhaps best typified by Einstein's famous rebuke of the indeterminacy of quantum physics: "God does not play dice with the universe."

As usual, the enhanced perspective offered by an additional century of scientific enterprise shows us that neither side in the quantum dispute had an exclusive lock on the truth. If nothing else, Prigogine's work is a masterfully conceived reminder that we are fortunate to live in a time when a vastly larger shift in scientific world-view is imminent.

This book's importance derives from its elegant (though highly technical) presentation of so many of the founding elements of what Erwin Schrödinger predicted would constitute a "new type of physical law". In fact, the controversy between Einstein's perspective and the views of quantum physicists like Schrödinger-a controversy that once commanded so much attention-has faded into an historical amusement. Instead, our advantage in standing on their shoulders is that, with the benefit of teachers like Ilya Prigogine, we can see beyond their semantic squabbles. It turns out that their views were congruent in at least one significant respect: both Einstein and Schrödinger knew that contemporary physics is inadequate to explain more complex biological life.

That congruence is obvious in comparing Schrödinger's statement-"We must be prepared to find a new type of physical law prevailing in (the structure of living matter)."-with Einstein's equivalent assertion-"One can best feel in dealing with living things how primitive physics still is." Their scientific integrity and humbling lack of intellectual arrogance put all of contemporary physics on notice to expect the revolution whose epistemological lineage runs straight through Prigogine, who drops the other shoe in "The End of Certainty" when he irrevocably shatters the myth of time-reversible real-world processes. In doing so, he permanently exorcises "Laplace's demon", Pierre-Simon de Laplace's mythical entity that would be able, if physical processes were reversible and the precise position and momentum of every particle in the universe were known at any instant in time, to calculate the entire past history and future evolutionary state of the universe.

You'll sense the evolution of physics itself when Prigogine delivers some founding concepts of the new physics: time-irreversibility, far-from-equilibrium metastability, and the self-organizing nature of complex systems. He writes, "Once we include these concepts, we come to a new formulation of the laws of nature, one that is no longer built on certitudes, as is the case for deterministic laws, but rather on possibilities."

"The End of Certainty" is somewhat easier to assimilate than Prigogine's earlier works. Nevertheless, if you don't have a formal background in physics, you might find some parts of this book to be fairly rough going. Don't let that discourage you; focus on Chapter 1, Sections I through III. You'll find phenomenal insights there, like Prigogine's explanation of Henri Poincaré's proof that contemporary physics' belief in reversible, closed-system, deterministic modeling actually precludes the arrow of time, obviates self-organization, and prohibits the existence of life itself. In short, Prigogine shows that Poincaré proved that biology CANNOT be reduced to contemporary physics, and he even proved why (the existence of Poincaré resonances). It's an exquisitely beautiful insight.

"The End of Certainty" is not a deeply controversial book, at least not among credible scientific minds. Prigogine's work is revolutionary in many ways, but it is neither disputatious nor provocatively unorthodox. It's too rigorously tied to mainstream science to suffer the kind of rejection that a less credible or less elegantly constructed work would invite. Even if it is not fully understood by contemporary physicists, neither is it seriously challenged or disputed. His work is so overwhelmingly supported by empirical underpinnings as to be incontestable. The Nobel Prize committee concurred; as a Nobel Laureate for his work in dissipative systems, Prigogine is well respected in the world of cutting edge physics. He's the E.F. Hutton of the new physics; when he talks, serious scientists listen.

A final word: Don't sweat it if you're intimidated by some of the mathematics and graphics in "The End of Certainty". Don't worry about what you might be missing if you don't assimilate every bit of it. I didn't have to get it all on the first reading, and neither do you. In fact, you don't need to understand any of the mathematics or geometry to get value out of the non-technical portions of the text, which constitute the majority of the book. The only prerequisites for getting value from this book are literacy, an open mind, moderate intelligence, and a burn to understand the natural world. If you qualify, you're in for an illuminating perspective when you read it. ... Read more

10. Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067977548X
Catlog: Book (2000-09-05)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 50160
Average Customer Review: 3.51 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the bestselling, National Book Award-nominated auhtor of Genius and Chaos, a bracing new work about the accelerating pace of change in today's world.

Most of us suffer some degree of "hurry sickness." a malady that has launched us into the "epoch of the nanosecond," a need-everything-yesterday sphere dominated by cell phones, computers, faxes, and remote controls. Yet for all the hours, minutes, and even seconds being saved, we're still filling our days to the point that we have no time for such basic human activities as eating, sex, and relating to our families. Written with fresh insight and thorough research, Faster is a wise and witty look at a harried world not likely to slow down anytime soon.
... Read more

Reviews (95)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Gleick's best
This seems like the perfect topic for the times. The cover is catchy, the writer excels at making seemingly abstract topics topical (Chaos is superb) and he's gives great NPR. The first chapter or two, which I read before buying the book, was mesmerizing. That made my disappointment with Faster all the greater.

Gleick writes a series of great short newspaper-length stories, binds them together and calls it a book. To be sure, there is a bevy of fascinating factoids here. But Gleick never really creates a thesis and never really advances any particular argument. Some of the scenes he paints are memorable, but nothing really holds them together as a book. I tried to overcome that by reading a chapter a day on the subway and not even that worked. It's almost like he's trying to write a "fast" book that the reader can zip through. Well, in that area he succeeds, but in so doing he fails to move the book in any particular direction.

Gleick is a well-known writer with a good track record. I'm sure sales of this book have been good. But I hope that doesn't stop someone else from tackling a similar subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perceptive & Poignant.
James Gleick's Faster is well written, and even though the things he says may not be what some want to hear, his claims are all backed up with facts. This book was written in 1999, and so far things are unfolding just as he claims they will, ever faster.

Sometimes he dawdles over certain points for too long and seems like an old crank, but the emphasis is necessary. He makes a several references to how people will continually push the elevator door close button to shave seconds off their wait.
No longer are there elevator operators, they took too up too much time by being polite.

If you feel like you never have enough hours in the day, even though modern conveniences should be giving us more free time, then this is a book you should read. The pace of the writing emphasizes the theme of this book as he jumps from topic to topic trying to cover as much as possible without losing your attention. As a society we are a Type-A personality, always trying to get things faster, whatever that may cost us in the long run.

3-0 out of 5 stars Breezy. Fast. And bright yellow.
Aha! We knew it all along! Life, work, off-time - 'things' - just seem a hell of a lot faster these days. Those of us with typical 21st century urban, technology led lifestyles are all too familiar with the constant background noise of accelerated living. In Faster, Gleick amasses a mixed bag of armchair philosophy, anecdotal antics and random research to document our strangely mercurial existence.

And a mixed bag it is indeed. The book shines best when Gleick exposes in detail those 'hidden' time-saving procedures that underpin our everyday lives. The passage on telephone directory enquiries, where we discover the drive to shave mere milliseconds from customer's inbound requests, is a real eye-opener. As is the revelation that time-saving procedures have even encroached on the age old traditions of the leisurely 9-inning baseball game. And who would have thought that a restaurant in Tokyo now offers an all-you-can-eat service charging customers by the minute? Dining by time-clock? Well, thanks, but no thanks.

Still, I would have liked to have seen these sketches gather momentum and lead to a more cogent line of thought. Instead, they simply drift away and what remains is an assortment of charming but ultimately unsubstantial tales. Nothing more, nothing less. Readers looking for a more protracted cultural analysis, a deeper probe into psychological aetiology, or a broader review of our collective existential malaise will likely be disappointed.

So, It's hardly a radical premise. And there's no real conclusion to speak of; no pulling together of the various threads that weave through this work. But as a collection of interesting hors d'oeuvres and after-dinner anecdotes, this is an entertaining enough read which - thankfully - requires a not considerable investment of time nor energy. Bloody good job too, as I had to cook supper and pay my gas bill online at the same time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mind candy
I listened to it on the way to work so I could do two things at once. How ironic...

This is a good book to kill time, you may even laugh at yourself as you discover your own habits revealed and explained before your very eyes. I did

The elevator door close button and the double button microwave cooking methods to save time tid bits are very funny!! As well as the "500 calories a day you starve 3000 a day you are as fat as a pig"

5-0 out of 5 stars You have to make time to read this.
How can we fit all the things we need to do into the 24 hours of each day and still leave time for the things we want to do, and have to do? The truth is we just can't and James Gleick dissects our typical day in a humorous and informative way to demonstrate how we can't possibly have time to read his book. This is much, much more approachable than 'Chaos' and you should 'make time' to give this your full attention and read it from cover to cover. ... Read more

11. Space and Time in Special Relativity
by N. David Mermin
list price: $26.95
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Asin: 0881334200
Catlog: Book (1989-01-01)
Publisher: Waveland Press
Sales Rank: 466763
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A classic of elementary relativistic pedagogy! This straight- forward book introduces readers to the conceptually tricky subject of relativity in understandable terms. The writing is crisp and clearly written by someone who is aware of the conceptual difficulties that nonscientists have in coming to grips with relativity. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars also good for "specialists"-to-be too
I'm writing this review based on my impressions of this book when I read it 9 years ago as an undergraduate physics major at Berkeley. We used it in an honors sophmore-level physics class for physics majors. I'm know a physics grad-student at UCSB. I want to dissavow the impression you might have that this is just a light-weight, pop-science book. This book is very axiomatic and it really tries to "prove" relativity to the reader. The beginning chapters will motivate the postulates of special relativity (eg: "the speed of light is the same in all reference-frames"), and you will learn how to DERIVE the Lorentz transformations from them. (...which is the major thrust of the book. On a side note: topics like why E=mc^2 aren't discussed until the end.) This is why we used it in our class. The students taking the regular Berkeley physics class only memorized the Lorentz transformations and plugged them in blindly. I felt we learned a great deal more than they did. I think this book is billed as a descriptive introduction to relativity for non-specialists because it's clear and easy to read (although perhaps a bit verbose), and because doesn't use any fancy math, just basic geometry (right-triangles, the pythagorean theorem). This doesn't mean it should be shuned by specialists-to-be. This was my first introduction to relativity and at the time, I felt completely satisfied with my understanding of the material after reading it.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Guide to Modern Physics
This book was astounding. I had my share of knowledge in physics: Newtonian Mechanics, Electrodynamics and Magnetism, Optics, etc. This book took my preconceived ideas of how the Universe worked and all but threw them out the window.

Mermin's description of why the old physical model is inadequate was very descriptive and informative - even for someone with a highschool physics background. Numerous examples and analogies bring to understanding many difficult and abstract concepts. As for the skeptic . . . well, he deals with them in the later part of the book (I was one of them).

This book reads like a Science Fiction novel. Yet the topics presented could not be more real.

We have Einstein to thank for the Principles and Theories of Special Relativity, and Mermin to thank for communicating them to the general population.

I recommend this book to everybody; physicist or not. You cannot fool youself into thinking you have an understanding of the universe until you read and comprehend the topics covered in this book.


5-0 out of 5 stars Great for starters
have to thank Dr. Mermin for being able to interpret and discuss such, in a sense, complex matters effectively and efficiently; great for beginners, like myself, to have a philosophical approach. some of the problems presented are, in fact, not easy. ... Read more

12. Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time
by Peter Galison
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Asin: 0393326047
Catlog: Book (2004-08-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 128313
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Book Description

"More than a history of science; it is a tour de force in the genre."—New York Times Book Review

A dramatic new account of the parallel quests to harness time that culminated in the revolutionary science of relativity, Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps is "part history, part science, part adventure, part biography, part meditation on the meaning of modernity....In Galison's telling of science, the meters and wires and epoxy and solder come alive as characters, along with physicists, engineers, technicians and others....Galison has unearthed fascinating material" (New York Times).

Clocks and trains, telegraphs and colonial conquest: the challenges of the late nineteenth century were an indispensable real-world background to the enormous theoretical breakthrough of relativity. And two giants at the foundations of modern science were converging, step-by-step, on the answer: Albert Einstein, an young, obscure German physicist experimenting with measuring time using telegraph networks and with the coordination of clocks at train stations; and the renowned mathematician Henri Poincaré, president of the French Bureau of Longitude, mapping time coordinates across continents. Each found that to understand the newly global world, he had to determine whether there existed a pure time in which simultaneity was absolute or whether time was relative.

Esteemed historian of science Peter Galison has culled new information from rarely seen photographs, forgotten patents, and unexplored archives to tell the fascinating story of two scientists whose concrete, professional preoccupations engaged them in a silent race toward a theory that would conquer the empire of time. 40 b/w illustrations. ... Read more

13. The Philosophy of Time (Oxford Readings in Philosophy)
by Robin Le Poidevin, Murray Macbeath
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Asin: 0198239998
Catlog: Book (1993-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 233075
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This volume provides a balanced set of reviews which introduce the central topics in the philosophy of time.This is the first introductory anthology on the subject to appear for many years; the contributors are distinguished, and two of the essays are specially written for this collection.In their introduction, the editors summarize the background to the debate, and show the relevance of issues in the philosophy of time for other branches of philosophy and for science.Contributors include J.M.E. McTaggart, Arthur N. Prior, D.H. Mellor, Sydney Shoemaker, Graeme Forbes, Lawrence Sklar, Michael Dummett, David Lewis, W.H. Newton-Smith, and Anthony Quinton. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine collection.
This is an excellent collection of readings on the philosophy of time. The contents include twelve essays by twelve different philosophers (including the editors of the volume) -- the very first of which is taken from the famous thirty-third chapter of John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart's _The Nature of Existence_. (Originally entitled "Time," the chapter is here retitled "The Unreality of Time.")

I remarked in my review of that book that McTaggart's argument has been tried and found wanting, but one important partial exception is featured in this volume: D.H. Mellor's piece "The Unreality of Tense." Mellor does not, indeed, accept McTaggart's conclusion that time itself is "unreal," but he does take McTaggart to have provided a successful argument for a "tenseless" theory of time. (Mellor's piece is a revision of chapter 6 of his book _Real Time_ -- the first edition, I presume.)

The other essays range over a wide variety of topics, from David Lewis's "The Paradoxes of Time Travel" to Michael Dummet's "Bringing About The Past," from whether time really "passes" or not and whether the nature of time is a philosophical or an empirical question to whether time has a beginning and whether change is real. I shall not try to comment on them all.

But the selections are excellent and the collection as a whole is very thorough. In short, this a fine set of readings for anyone with time on his hands. ... Read more

14. The Oxford Companion to the Year
by Bonnie Blackburn, Leofranc Holford-Stevens, Leofranc Holford-Strevens
list price: $75.00
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Asin: 0192142313
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 221311
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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The Oxford Companion to the Year is one of those splendid volumes that should have a permanent place in every personal reference library, next to a well-thumbed Brewer's.

The main body of the book gives a huge amount of historical and folkloric information on every day of the year (including, yes, February 30, which has happened three times); the days of the week, months and seasons; and the major feast days and festivals in a wide variety of different cultures. This is the section that most readers will find the most fascinating; its 658 pages provide endless browsing.

The second part concentrates on the making of calendars over the centuries: how our own complex calendar evolved with its irregular month lengths and its rules for when leap years occur, plus details of the calendars of many other cultures--Chinese, Hindu, Muslim, and many more--all trying to find a regular system that can cope with the fact that the roughly 29-and-one-half-day lunar month and the roughly 365-and-one-quarter-day solar year simply can't be meshed.

Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens must be congratulated on the huge amount of work this book must have taken, and on such splendid results. --David V. Barrett, ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most thorough calender reference available
This 937 page reference work of calendar customs and time-reckoning is a modern day version of Robert Chambers's "Book of Days" (1864), and is now surely THE definitive reference work on the subject. For every day of the year (including February 30, which has been observed three times in past calendars, once in Sweden and twice in the Soviet Union), there is a listing of the date (e.g., 25 Abril), the Roman date (e.g., a.d. VII Kalendas Maias), a list of Holidays and Anniversaries (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga: ANZAC Day) or Holy Days (e.g., Mark the Evangelist) or perhaps something from Ancient Rome (e.g., "On this day was held the ceremony for keeping rust off crops, the Robigalia,"). Moreover, there are usually one or two paragraphs given to explain the origins of various holidays or as biographical background. Sometimes poems or literary excerpts are inserted to further enliven the entry. Additionally, a generous amount of humor and bonhomie are sprinkled throughout the text.

Other calendar customs such as the moveable feasts of the western church year, days of the week, Red-Letter days, Dog Days, terms at Oxford or Cambridge, Handsel Monday, Thanksgiving, or the Lord Mayor's Show each have their own entries and explanations. Part II follows, with investigation into calendars and chronology. Here the international scope of the book receives greater exposure, with discussion of the Roman Calendar, Chinese Calendar, Egyptian Calendar, Greek Calendar, Hindu Calendar, Jewish Calendar, Muslim Calendar, Anglo-Saxon Calendar, or Celtic Calendar being some of the many discussed. Explanations of the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, calculating the date of Easter, use of symbolic calendars, as well as many other topics round out a thoroughly researched section.

My only demurring remark about this excellent book is that sometimes the academic writing can be a little dry and murky, drifting into the pedantic, so that at times I found myself nodding off to sleep. This style of presentation also led to occasional difficulties when trying to understand the discussion at hand. Nevertheless, on the whole, the book is most interesting. A great deal of research obviously went into this wonderfully thorough and accurate reference work. It may be used either as a source for information, or alternatively its daily entries may be read throughout the year as a short daily entertainment. To sum, it is a book well worth obtaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute treasure chest!
More than just a scholarly reference, this mind-bogglingly comprehensive book is masterfully written and offers something for everyone. From the historical significance and traditions of each day of the year to the calendars and time-reckoning systems used all over the world throughout history, the Oxford Companion to the Year is chock-full of obscure bits of history, poems, quotations, and illustrations. Absolutely fascinating reading--a must-have for the new millennium! ... Read more

15. Markov Processes, Brownian Motion, And Time Symmetry (Grundlehren Der Mathematischen Wissenschaften)
by Kai Lai Chung, JOHN B. WALSH
list price: $129.00
our price: $129.00
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Asin: 0387220267
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Telos
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Book Description

This new edition contains 9 new chapters which include new exercises, references, and multiple corrections throughout the original text.

From the reviews of the First Edition:

This excellent book is based on several sets of lecture notes written over a decade and has its origin in a one-semester course given by the author at the ETH, Znrich, in the spring of 1970. The author's aim was to present some of the best features of Markov processes and, in particular, of Brownian motion with a minimum of prerequisites and technicalities. The reader who becomes acquainted with the volume cannot but agree with the reviewer that the author was very successful in accomplishing this goalàThe volume is very useful for people who wish to learn Markov processes but it seems to the reviewer that it is also of great interest to specialists in this area who could derive much stimulus from it. One can be convinced that it will receive wide circulation.

-H.J. Engelbert, MathSciNet

... Read more

16. The Analysis of Time Series:An Introduction, Fifth Edition
by C. Chatfield
list price: $41.95
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Asin: 0412716402
Catlog: Book (1996-04-01)
Publisher: Chapman & Hall/CRC
Sales Rank: 534736
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of time series analysis. Topics include: ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent starting place for time series analysis
This tidy book is a highly readable, introductory survey to the topic of modern time series analysis.It excels in its ability to focus on the more intuitive aspects of analysis and model identification.The discussion of both time- and frequency-domain approaches is reasonably balanced, and Kalman filtering is also introduced.While it touches on many modern aspects of time series analysis, it sometimes (intentionally) lacks important technical depth necessary for implementation.

The author has done an admirable job at keeping the book manageably small.However, the reader is occasionally left wanting where interesting details are omitted because the author considered them "beyond the scope" of the book.For example, the preface mentions that several new topics are incorporated into the 5th edition (wavelets, for example), but the reader only finds a gratuitous single paragraph with references to complementary journal articles.In these few rare cases, the discussions are not intuitive enough for the reader to know whether it would be profitable to bother with further research at the professional journal level.Still, this title does well to reference the most important landmark works in the time series literature.Those performing remedial research may find it is easier - and more productive - to simply consult Chatfield's recommendations of important topical works before resorting to online or library literature searches.

This text has been in print since 1975 with new editions arriving every 5 years or so (perhaps even a 6th edition is close, since the last edition is copyrighted 1996).I am usually suspicious of textbooks having increasingly larger numbers of editions because the continual re-writing implies some level of recurring insufficiency.However, the frequency of update is probably justified due to continuing advances in this field of study.As a result, this title is surprisingly current given its introductory status (although the 4th and 5th editions do not differ too much).

For someone new to time series analysis, this may be one of the better places to start, especially for the price.Readers lacking in intuition or experience in time series analysis - especially non-statisticians - will certainly appreciate this introductory title.The more experienced analyst will also be well served by the author's expert perspectives - but to do practical work, this text will still likely need to be supplemented.The generous citation of additional literature will help the reader to know where to go next.

5-0 out of 5 stars concise and well written introduction to time series
When I was a graduate student at Stanford my advisor taught an elementary time series course out of Chatfield's book. It was either the first or the second edition. I was his teaching assistant. The book has been very successful and is now in its fifth edition. It covers most of the important topics concisely and in an intuitive manner. This book gives the student a feel for time series analysis and an appreciation for its applicability. It is not meant for someone who wants a rigorous treatment and a strong understanding of the theory. For that the text of Brockwell and Davis or Anderson or Brillinger or Priestley are more appropriate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Claros conceptos estadísticos en Series de Tiempo
Realmente explica de manera clara, conceptos básicos en series de tiempo, por lo cual lo recomiendo para cualquier persona, así conocera el fantástico Mundo del análisis estocástico en el tiempo... ... Read more

17. How to Build a Time Machine
by Paul Davies
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
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Asin: 0142001864
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 43339
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With his unique knack for making cutting-edge theoretical science effortlessly accessible, world-renowned physicist Paul Davies now tackles an issue that has boggled minds for centuries: Is time travel possible? The answer, insists Davies, is definitely yes-once you iron out a few kinks in the space-time continuum. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, Davies explains the theoretical physics that make visiting the future and revisiting the past possible, then proceeds to lay out a four-stage process for assembling a time machine and making it work. Wildly inventive and theoretically sound, How to Build a Time Machine is creative science at its best--illuminating, entertaining, and thought provoking. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, But Somewhat Derivative of His Earlier Work
Paul Davies book "How to Build a Time Machine" is a good book with an entertaining thesis: he is of the opinion that it is theoretically possible to build both a forward and backward time machine. The engineering problems, however, are of an aboslutely staggering scale, and the project is not, by current standards, a practical one. Nevertheless, Davies has fun with the concepts.

Davies also gives a good overview of the various theories of how time travel might be accomplished, and the book is very useful in showing the layperson that time is, indeed, relative.

My only complaint with the book is that it is somewhat derivative of his earlier work, About Time. Part of this is not Davies' fault -- the concept of the flexibility of time is usually so shocking for people that he feels the need to explain this first, and so both books discuss some similar ideas, such as the Paradox of the Twins, etc.

I recommend About Time to people (usually who don't believe me when I explain that time is relative), and those who read it come away stunned; the book is a marvelous explanation, in layman's terms, of how Einstein's theories work with regard to time. If you have not read About Time, read this one first as it will familiarize you with the concepts Davies' discusses here. This book is a good follow up to About Time in that it turns to the "engineering" problems involved in building a time machine.

4-0 out of 5 stars How to build a quick tour of physical theories.
Well, I hate to ruin it for you, but Davies isn't really telling the reader "how to build a time machine" so much as he is taking advantage of a gee-whiz slice of science fiction fun to build a quick tour of the fundamental theories of modern physics.
"So can it really be done?" asks Davies, one of the most frequently cited mathematical physicists of our day. And away we go, flying through the ideas of Newton, Einstein, Gödel, Hawking, and Penrose, and leaping into wormholes in space-time. As we go, the great modern physical theories come into play one after another. Davies is good at this. Quickly treated are singularities, entropy and the arrow of time, the special and general theories of relativity, exotic matter, antigravity, the topology of space-time, quantum uncertainty, and other stuff including a bevy of time-travel paradoxes.
To be sure, the author describes time machines that 'might' work. "So can it really be done?" Again, I don't want to ruin it for you. But some reviewers seem to have come up with the wrong answer. Here's a hint, "The purpose of science is to provide a consistent picture of reality, so if a scientific theory produces genuinely paradoxical (rather that merely weird or counterintuitive) predictions, that is a very good reason for rejecting the theory" (p 123). This isn't going to be remembered as one of Davies more important books (I recommend 'The Mind of God' and 'The Matter Myth'), but this is aimed at a different audience/readership.
A fun little book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting Book
This book is about all the different theories of time travel. It also tells different ways that time machines "could" be made but they are highly unlikely.

Paul Davies is Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University. Davies is interested in the nature of time, high-energy particle physics, the foundations of quantum mechanics, the origin of life and the nature of consciousness. Davies is well known as an author, broadcaster and public lecturer. Paul writes regularly for newspapers, journals and magazines in several countries, both about science and the political and social aspects of science and technology. In 1991 Davies won the ABC Eureka Prize for the promotion of science in Australia. In 1992 he won the University of New South Wales Press Eureka Prize for his book The Mind of God, and in 1993 he was presented with an Advance Australia Award for outstanding contributions to science.

This book turned out a lot different than I thought, but I really liked it. A friend gave me the book to read and he liked it also. The book is about all the different theories of time travel and possible ways that you could make a time machine. This book was interesting, a little hard to understand, but it was never boring. I thought that this book was going to be more of a story but it turned out being an informational book about time travel. I actually did learn a lot about traveling through time and all the different theories that people like Einstein had. It also proved why time travel wouldn't be possible because of the size that the time machine would have to be. This book was a good length; it wasn't to long but it explained things enough for you to

4-0 out of 5 stars A Really Interesting Book
This book is about all the different theories of time travel. It also tells different ways that time machines "could" be made but they are highly unlikely.

Paul Davies is Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University. Davies is interested in the nature of time, high-energy particle physics, the foundations of quantum mechanics, the origin of life and the nature of consciousness. Davies is well known as an author, broadcaster and public lecturer. Paul writes regularly for newspapers, journals and magazines in several countries, both about science and the political and social aspects of science and technology. In 1991 Davies won the ABC Eureka Prize for the promotion of science in Australia. In 1992 he won the University of New South Wales Press Eureka Prize for his book The Mind of God, and in 1993 he was presented with an Advance Australia Award for outstanding contributions to science.

This book turned out a lot different than I thought, but I really liked it. A friend gave me the book to read and he liked it also. The book is about all the different theories of time travel and possible ways that you could make a time machine. This book was interesting, a little hard to understand, but it was never boring. I thought that this book was going to be more of a story but it turned out being an informational book about time travel. I actually did learn a lot about traveling through time and all the different theories that people like Einstein had. It also proved why time travel wouldn't be possible because of the size that the time machine would have to be. This book was a good length; it wasn't to long but it explained things enough for you to

An inventive little book, artfully designed and compactly
arranged into short sections, HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE
explains the basic theories of time travel and then explores
what means are required to achieve it. Paul Davies makes the
strongest and, it would seem, irrefutable case for time travel
into the future. But such "travel," based on Einstein's special
theory of relativity, which distinguishes a "time-dilation
factor" between two bodies moving at different speeds, is more
like an exchange of times: a spaceship leaves Earth and
approaches the speed of light; then it returns and the crew find
that Earth has aged seven times faster than they have. They
have avoided the standard speed of time on Earth, but still have
aged by their spaceship time. Arriving, say, a hundred years
"in the future," they resume their normal rate of aging on
Earth, having turned themselves into visitors (or relics) from
the past. But they have not escaped time.

The big question is whether they can go back--back to the year
of their departure. Davies thinks they can. The best of
conceivable methods, he determines, is the wormhole, a
theoretical entity that links one space/time in the universe
with another. Somehow he imagines that it could be managed by
human beings on Earth who want to travel from the present into
the past. He doesn't trouble much over such questions as where
one end of a natural wormhole would be, where the other, how
people would get to one, and where the hell would they be when
they came out the other, but rather embarks with great gusto
on drawing up plans for building a serviceable wormhole
right at home.

Sliding cheerfully through "spacetime foam," "antigravity," "the
chronology horizon" and other such slippery concepts, he finally
focuses on the project of opening up the throat of his wormhole
in the interstices of space and keeping it open so that anyone
who enters it is not instantly "spaghettified" by a crushing
singularity. How this project differs from counting the number
of angels on the head of a pin is obvious: it is much more dif-
ficult and much more scientific. Davies pursues it in good
humor, and to his credit does not avoid the mechanical
difficulties. To open a wormhole, he calculates, you would need
either an accelerator as large as the solar system or so much
"negative energy" that it would take more time than the age of
the universe to produce it. No matter, he concludes, science
will get better and the job will someday get done.

So much optimism, such high spirits! You can't dislike this
book! Sober reasoning, of course, reminds you that time is not
a thing that you can visit, like walking forward toward a
mountain or back toward town. Time is the relationship between
things that change. And so if you want to go back to things in
a previous state, all those things would have to reverse their
accrued changes simultaneously: water would rush back upstream,
corpses would rise out up of the ground, buildings would be
unbuilt. But Davies and other theorists of time travel do not
have such a past in mind. Rather, they assume that there is a
historical continuum, a sort of museum of history that preserves
every change in the universe in a long static hallway, and the
successful time traveller will be able to go back and visit any
room he chooses. How you get from our changing world to the
fixed continuum, historical museum or alternate universe is a
problem they never consider, because such a past does not exist.
And so they prefer to play with intellectual games like "the
twins paradox," "the mother paradox," and so on; even Stephen
Hawking indulges in them. Final verdict: If you want to take
pleasure in wormholes, go ahead: this is the perfect book.
It's when the scientists start to request millions of dollars to
build them that we should draw the line. ... Read more

18. Breaking the Time Barrier : The Race to Build the First Time Machine
by Jenny Randles
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0743492595
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Paraview Pocket Books
Sales Rank: 2258382
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19. A Geography of Time: The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist, or How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently
by Robert V. Levine
list price: $18.50
our price: $18.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465026427
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 58348
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Time well spent
"A Geography of Time" is an almost-excellent study of perception of time, and how this perception is affected by culture and location. A new vocabulary is introduced to the reader, along with a host of new ideas about time, including "event time," "natural time," and the familiar "clock time." The author's research is enlightening and challenging.

The concepts are easy to absorb, and the subject is well-researched and documented. I have no doubt that Levine's work is strong. Some of the work involves providing evidence for well-known concepts, such as bigger cities have a faster pace than smaller cities. Interesting correlations are drawn between the pace of a location and the accuracy of it's timepieces. I found the concept of being able to train oneself to elongate and condense time perception to be particularly interesting, such as in the case of a martial artist who moves fast by forcing an opponent to appear to move slow. Other interesting tidbits include the "contradiction of Japan," which shows that an ultra-fast paced life can be balanced out with cultural rules to prevent aggression, and how a slow-paced city is not necessarily kinder than a fast-paced city.

The reason why "A Geography of Time" is only almost-excellent is due to the author's skills as a writer. Ideas are not presented in a structured manner, information is redundantly repeated and personal opinions are freely mixed with research and evidence. Some difficult concepts, such as Einstein's time dilatation in Special Relativity are introduced as window dressing for what amounts to a sociological subject. A brief history of the introduction of clocks in America is included. The last chapter is almost a "self help" opinion piece by the author, on how to use knowledge of time to greatest advantage.

All in all, while the research is interesting and the concepts are worth reading, the book would have benefited from a tighter focus on the author's part. The book wander's lazily from concept to concept, and hurts the material overall. All in all, worth reading and enjoyable, but falling just short of the mark.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas
This book is interesting for the issues it raises, and it is not a difficult read, but there are some disappointments as well.

I am told that his research is sound, but haven't reviewed it personally past abstracts. He continues his research presently from CSU Fresno. The ideas and annecdotes are interesting, and since the orignal version, Levine has continued to publish research on this subject. As a book to introduce someone to issues of time and culture in a semi-structured way, this is not bad.

Unfortunately, there is something a little ... annoying about the tone in the book, and sadly, from what I can tell by other communications, it comes directly from the author. When telling a story, he's engaged and interested (in writing and otherwise). When the scholarship is the issue, we get less responsiveness, and more rushed pithiness, which is a shame, really. One just can't escape the sense of judgment sometimes in the text.

If there is an update to the text from the original version, let us hope he has expanded some of his original studies to concentrate less on California - a huge portion of his population in the studies in the book - and include other place, both in and outside the USA.

If you have an interest in time, psychology, social behaviour, or some combination of the above, it's not an awful read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Enough, but it was required
I had to read this book for a sociology class this year. The author uses anecdotes to discuss cultural variances of time. However, the text lacks substantial historical explanations that address why these variances exist. This is a fun collection of observations. an easy read

4-0 out of 5 stars Slow down, Mr Levine
The subject of time is fascinating. It's origins, how we measure it, adjusting for it when we travel, and it's interrelationship with geography in how we discovered our world. Much of this has been written about elsewhere. TIME LORD and LONGITUDE being two recent examples and Mr Levine does touch on some of the same topics - the history of the clock for example. A GEOGRAPHY OF TIME however takes a different slant and looks more closely at time as a cultural element. How, depending on where you live - small town, big city, here in the US or elsewhere in the world - your perception and appreciation of time varies. We measure it the same way but it simply does not mean the same thing to each of us. This was brought home to the author from his time spent in Brazil. Sure an hour is still 60 minutes, but it's just that it starts later in Brazil. In other words while we in the US would mentally start counting our hour, logically from 10.01, many elsewhere subconsciously begin at about 10.15!

Time does not always have to be that structured, formal, or even scientific and that is the only problem with this book. Differences in perception and respect for time around the world are well known and part of traveler's lore and horror stories. The attention the book devotes to measuring it allows Mr Levine to develop a 36 item checklist of the fastest and slowest US cities. This bit of temporal tenacity though simply provides facts but does not really add much to our enjoyment of this quirky commodity.

I would suggest that Mr Levine slow down a bit with all this seriousness about time. Our collective obsession with mastering time could sometimes take a healthy back seat to those who have long ago learned how to occasionaly let it slide.

5-0 out of 5 stars A winning combo of research/experience/insight
I've been aware of Levine's work on "time" for more than a decade from articles and such, and I was thrilled to see this book. It's the best of its ilk: good qualitative research, heavily based on personal experience, written anecdotally and fascinatingly. I see this as akin to Deborah Tannen's excellent work in "You Just Don't Understand." If only more people were aware of how relative our cultural assumptions are, it might prevent some hair-tearing as we travel and also prevent some frustration here at home when we come upon others (even our own spouses....) who have another way of thinking/feeling about time. ... Read more

20. The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics
by Julian Barbour
list price: $32.50
our price: $32.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195117298
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 386558
Average Customer Review: 2.87 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Richard Feynman once quipped: "Time is what happens when nothing else does." But Julian Barbour disagrees: if nothing happened, if nothing changed, time would stop. For time is nothing but change. It is change that we perceive occurring all around us, not time. In fact, time doesn't exist.

In this highly provocative volume, Barbour presents the basic evidence for the nonexistence of time, explaining what a timeless universe is like and showing how the world will nonetheless be experienced as intensely temporal. It is a book that strikes at the heart of modern physics, that casts doubt on Einstein's greatest contribution, the space-time continuum, but that also points to the solution of one of the great paradoxes of modern science: the chasm between classical and quantum physics. Indeed, Barbour argues that the unification of Einstein's general relativity and quantum mechanics may well spell the end of time--time will cease to have a role in the foundations of physics.

Barbour writes with remarkable clarity, as he ranges from ancient philosophers such as Heraclitus and Parmenides, to such giants of science as Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, to the work of contemporary physicists such as John Wheeler, Roger Penrose, and Steven Hawking. Along the way, the author treats us to an enticing look at some of the mysteries of the universe and presents intriguing ideas about multiple worlds, time travel, immortality, and, above all, the illusion of motion.

Turning our understanding of reality inside-out, The End of Time is a vibrantly written and revolutionary book. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars Frustrating read
There are currently several books dealing with new theories in physics, they are fascinating but I found the "End of Time" a bit disappointing after all the newspaper hype. What I want in a book of this type are three things, firstly to be educated on the general theoretical background, entertainingly presented the history of the subject up to the present day, secondly the author must, as succinctly as possible, explain their theory; show where it supports and where it overturns conventional ideas. Finally the books must present conclusions, sketch out the likely impact of the new concept. The "End of Time" devotes many pages to arguments in favour of the author's thesis, in a way that will bore the general reader but is unlikely to convince the physicist. Near the end of the book my feeling was ok ok you win, just tell me the implications, but that's the problem, the author refuses to speculate, possibly on the spurious grounds that predictions are impossible in a world without time. In summary a long, confusing and eventually a frustrating read. If you want to see how a book of this type should be handled read the unbelievably good "The Inflationary Universe" by Alan H. Guth.

4-0 out of 5 stars Frustrating Read
There are currently several books dealing with new theories in physics, they are fascinating but I found the "End of Time" a bit disappointing after all the newspaper hype. What I want in a book of this type are three things, firstly to be educated on the general theoretical background, entertainingly presented the history of the subject up to the present day, secondly the author must, as succinctly as possible, explain their theory; show where it supports and where it overturns conventional ideas. Finally the books must present conclusions, sketch out the likely impact of the new concept. The "End of Time" devotes many pages to arguments in favour of the author's thesis, in a way that will bore the general reader but is unlikely to convince the physicist. Near the end of the book my feeling was ok ok you win, just tell me the implications, but that's the problem, the author refuses to speculate, possibly on the spurious grounds that predictions are impossible in a world without time. In summary a long, confusing and eventually a frustrating read. If you want to see how a book of this type should be handled read the unbelievably good "The Inflationary Universe" by Alan H. Guth.

2-0 out of 5 stars The End of Time
The essential idea from Julian Barbour's book is that the laws of physics can be formulated in such a way that time does not enter explicitly into the equations. If we accept this idea for the moment (and not all physicists do), the question then becomes: is making time disappear in this way just a mathematical trick, or does it lead to better physics?

Barbour has taken on an especially difficult task in trying to explain these esoteric concepts in a work of popular science. The book doesn't succeed, in my view, and the most I can do here is give him credit for trying. My negative review does not reflect any disagreement with his ideas - it is up to his peers in physics, not me, to decide whether he is on to something or not. I just don't think he's succeeded in putting his ideas across to a general audience. The book is so wordy, and its exposition so plodding and foggy and vague, that it is hard to imagine that most people would get much out of it.

I really don't like to write negative reviews, but sometimes they can be useful in steering readers away from books that are likely to frustrate and turn them off. Barbour is a respected physicist, an original thinker, and an interesting person, whose life trajectory has taken him far from the typical academic career. But I really hope he'll take on a co-writer, somebody who knows how to write clearly and informatively about popular science, on his next book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A little too arcane for the average reader
Boy, talk about a difficult book to get through. I've no doubt that Mr. Barbour knows what he's talking about, but I have to admit that I got thoroughly lost on more than one occasion. Just when I thought I had the thread of his argument pinned down, he embarked on a new more arcane path, and I was lost again. I have to admit I am not really a math-physics type person, but I do read a fair amount of literature for amateurs on the topic of theoretical physics, and time is one of those subjects that intrigues me the most. I'm not quite sure for whom the book is intended either, because although it lost me as a neophyte, I can't imagine that it would hold the attention of someone well grounded and/or professionally involved in physics; it has too many words and too few mathematical formulae. In all though, I found the concept of time as a, more or less, static collection of instants all shuffled together like playing cards or like the frames of a 35mm film strip a provocative one. I just can't help feeling, though, that there is something significant missing in the author's argument. I'm sure he would insist that it is just the overwhelming psychological experience of time "flowing" that is throwing me off, but when I think of his perspective on time and history, I find the only way it makes sense is if I stand outside of the system to see how it might work. I find it difficult to see how the information about past experiences can be passed on to my memory in any given instant without some sort of connection between all the instants of which "I" am a part. That however would make consciousness a unique and special entity, which I find difficult to accept. Although consciousness has sometimes been claimed to be a factor in generating Newtonian reality from quantum "observations," I think there has been sufficient discussion that refutes it. Again, I found the book way over my head, but I hope to reread it on another occasion with hope of achieving better understanding. Definitely not a book to start with if you're not heavily into physics.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Am Not Here
In our limited fashion we all approach this from the realm of existence. Platonia is only an architectural representation of a nonexistence. I would like mr. barbour to take his theory to the next level. Hello, Mr. Barbour? Are you out there? That is a rhetorical question...of course you're not. ... Read more

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