Time: A Traveler's Guide

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( su 177 valutazioni fornite da Goodreads )
 
9780195120424: Time: A Traveler's Guide

"Bucky Fuller thought big," Wired magazine recently noted, "Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." And now, in his newest book, Cliff Pickover outdoes even himself, probing a mystery that has baffled mystics, philosophers, and scientists throughout history--What is the nature of time?
In Time: A Traveler's Guide, Pickover takes readers to the forefront of science as he illuminates the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe--time itself. Is time travel possible? Is time real? Does it flow in one direction only? Does it have a beginning and an end? What is eternity? These are questions that Pickover tackles in this stimulating blend of Chopin, philosophy, Einstein, and modern physics, spiced with diverting side-trips to such topics as the history of clocks, the nature of free will, and the reason gold glitters. Pickover includes numerous diagrams so readers have no trouble following along, computer code that lets us write simulations for various aspects of time travel, and an on-going science fiction tale featuring quirky characters who yearn to travel back in time to hear Chopin play in person. By the time we finish this book, we understand such seemingly arcane concepts as space-time diagrams, light cones, cosmic moment lines, transcendent infinite speeds, Lorentz transformations, superluminal and ultraluminal motions, ninkowskian space-times, Godel universes, closed timelike curves, and Tipler cylinders.
And most important, we will understand that time travel need not be confined to myth, science fiction, Hollywood fantasies, or scientific speculation. Time travel, we will realize, is possible.

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Review:

The thought that humans might one day be able to harness time, traveling freely from one age to another, has been a fixture of science fiction for years. Science fact is beginning to catch up to the long-held dream: in this entertaining survey, researcher-writer Clifford Pickover observes that current theories of physics support--or at least do not rule out--the possibilities of time travel.

In chapters that mix whimsical science-fiction scenarios with brief essays on matters of fact, Pickover takes a leisurely stroll through various chrono-cosmological theories and discusses their attendant virtues, flaws, and inherent paradoxes. One modern notion, Kurt Gödel's addendum to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, posits a rotating universe in which it is possible for a traveler to move between states of time and return to the present (assuming, of course, that there is such a thing as the present); the theory depends on a universe that rotates slowly, which seems not to be the case, but, as Pickover points out, it nevertheless provides a mathematical basis for time travel--which, he suggests, is a fine and worthy start. Pickover peppers his well-illustrated text with learned asides on such matters as light-cone diagrams, rocket clocks, string theory, parallel universes, and other topics real and speculative. What he turns up in the course of his narrative is fascinating--and fuel for anyone who entertains dreams of interdimensional wandering. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:


Clifford A. Pickover is Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. The lead writer for the brain-boggler column in Discover magazine, Pickover is the author of many bestselling books on popular science topics. He lives in Yorktown Heights, New York.

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