About Time

Time has a history and a history of the discoveries of its subtleties. It also, perhaps disconcertingly, has a beginning and an end. Albert Einstein has been the human race’s greatest genius in understanding time, but his work has been rivaled by others, such as Werner Heisenberg, Richard Feynman, and Edward Milne.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, who is quoted in ABOUT TIME, everyone knows what time is, but it is impossible to say what it is. This book does not offer any explanations of time that transcend the limitations of human understanding. It amazes, however, in describing the amount of understanding that the human mind has achieved about time. It is also possible to feel impressed about what science has discovered without feeling too proud, because quantum theory and Einstein’s relativity theories guarantee that humanity will never gain complete knowledge of time.

ABOUT TIME provides thorough discussion about, for example; the thought experiment of the two twins, one who stays on Earth and the other who undertakes a round-trip journey to a nearby star at nearly the speed of light; the experiments that have demonstrated the bizarre and frustrating effects of Heisenberg’s uncertainty theory; the efforts of astronomers and astrophysicists to probe the universe for understanding about space-time; and, ultimately, how the discoveries about time that began with Einstein are so compelling as ideas that—in addition to solving problems relating to the behavior of tiny particles and huge galaxies, far removed from human experience—they have stolen a topic from philosophy. Science’s recent discoveries about time amend the lexicon of human understanding; they need to become general knowledge. ABOUT TIME was written for this purpose.