April 29, 2013 Book Club
In Search of Time: Journeys Along A Curious Dimension by Dan Falk
An enjoyable and compelling ride through one of life’s most fascinating enigmas.
“What, then, is time? If no one ask of me, I know,” St. Augustine of Hippo lamented. “But if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not.” Who wouldn’t sympathize with Augustine’s dilemma? Time is at once intimately familiar and yet deeply mysterious. It is thoroughly intangible: We say it flows like a river — yet when we try to examine that flow, the river seems reduced to a mirage. No wonder philosophers, poets, and scientists have grappled with the idea of time for centuries. The enigma of time has also captivated science journalist Dan Falk, who sets off on an intellectual journey In Search of Time. The quest takes him from the ancient observatories of stone-age Ireland and England to the atomic clocks of the U.S. Naval Observatory; from the layers of geological “deep time” in an Arizona canyon to Albert Einstein’s apartment in Switzerland. Along the way he talks to scientists and scholars from California to New York, from Toronto to Oxford. He speaks with anthropologists and historians about our deep desire to track time’s cycles; he talks to psychologists and neuroscientists about the mysteries of memory; he quizzes astronomers about the beginning and end of time. Not to mention our latest theories about time travel — and the paradoxes it seems to entail. We meet great minds from Aristotle to Kant, from Newton to Einstein — and we hear from today’s most profound thinkers: Roger Penrose, Paul Davies, Julian Barbour, David Deutsch, Lee Smolin, and many more.
As usual, Dan Falk’s style combines exhaustive research with a lively, accessible, and often humorous style, making In Search of Time a delightful tour through a most curious dimension.