Mystery of Time: Humanity's Quest for Order and Measure

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We all know that time is the template with which we define our lives. We also know it is on our side, is up and flies, especially when we're having fun. There are bath time and bedtime, good times and bad, an entire biblical catalogue from the book of Ecclesiastes. But what is it? Where did time come from and where does it go? The answer is as slippery as silverfish; it has eluded history's most magnificent minds.

Early Christian church father and philosopher St. Augustine of ...

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Overview

We all know that time is the template with which we define our lives. We also know it is on our side, is up and flies, especially when we're having fun. There are bath time and bedtime, good times and bad, an entire biblical catalogue from the book of Ecclesiastes. But what is it? Where did time come from and where does it go? The answer is as slippery as silverfish; it has eluded history's most magnificent minds.

Early Christian church father and philosopher St. Augustine of Hippo wrote: "What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know. If I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not. My soul is on fire to know this most intricate enigma."

In his newest book, The Mystery of Time, award-winning author john Langone invites the reader into the inquiry. We see our earliest ancestors observe the movement of herds, the shifting sky, and the cycles of budding and bloom. We marvel in the dark at Stonehenge and at a path of solstice sun inching over a Native American calendar glyph. We stand next to the magnificent water clock of the Chinese inventor Su Sung, and we rock on the deck of an English ship to check on the first shipboard clock reliable enough for determining accurate longitude. We search for clues to what governs our circadian rhythms and contemplate the backward flow of subatomic time.

From the imaginative designs of Galileo to the soaring discoveries of Einstein, we go on to the latest debates and into the farthest reaches of modern thought on the nature of time. Along the way, we meet Julius Casear, Ptolemy, Newton, and Stephen Hawking -- plus dozens of others whose study and struggle, feuding and folly, have played a part in the story.

With more than 200 colorful and instructive illustrations and fact boxes, in language that is lively and accessible, The Mystery of Time traces the story of humanity's struggle to come to terms with the concept of time: to measure it, to use it, to standarize it, to beat it, and finally to understand it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Langone, a veteran science journalist, has served as a staff writer for Time and Discover magazines, a reporter and writer for United Press International , and science editor at the Boston Herald. Langone was a Kennedy Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Tokyo.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792279105
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 11.24 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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