Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time
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Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  645 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Time travel in Newton's universe was inconceivable, but in Einstein's universe it has become a possibility. J. Richard Gott III, a Princeton astrophysicist who is a leading researcher in the field, gives readers a guided tour of the potential of traveling through time. Although scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne have previously considered the topic, the deli...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Buffy B
Jan 06, 2008 Buffy B rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those into quantum physics.
Recommended to Buffy by: amazon
I read this book and I need to re-read it again. This is one of those books that after you read it the first time, you are completely enlightened. You know you probably missed some important details so when you read it a second time, everything you missed pops out at you. For anybody really wanting to understand the different theories behind time travel, this book is for you. There were times when I just sat and pondered about what I just read for about an hour.
I enjoyed this book about the physics of time travel, although at times I felt like the author was dealing with some pretty speculative stuff and presenting it pretty confidently as fact.

For instance, he describes a method of creating a "time machine" that would, in theory, allow a spaceship to reach a destination faster than light. To set up the process, you position two cosmic strings of infinite length near each other. Oh, is that all I need? Two cosmic strings of infinite length. Let me chec...more
Professor Gott starts with the familiar paradox of a time traveler going back and killing a grandparent, adds Einstein's general theory of relativity, and walks the reader through much of current physics theory while seeking ways time travel might be permitted. Along the way, he manages to use almost no mathematics through a set of simple, expressive diagrams. An excellent popular science book!
April Brown
What ages would I recommend it too? – Fourteen and up.

Length? – Several days to read.

Characters? – Not really.

Setting? – Semi real world. Science on the scale of the largest and smallest particles.

Written approximately? – 2001.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Reading to read more theories.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: The first chapter was really good and covers many types of media (books and movies) that give examples...more
Steven Sills
No book is without its charm although this one comes pretty close. Granted, diehard and gullible enthusiasts of space travel no doubt think differently but for the more skeptical they will find little worthwhile here except a gift for explaining the theory of relativity--both special and general relativity--with clarity and simplicity that few can and thus the latter part of the fourth chapter makes the book worthy of the purchase. For those seeking a book that will advocate the resumption of sp...more
chiaramente ne ho capito meno di un terzo e la cosa che ho più apprezzato sono le citazioni da libri e film, però, per quel poco che posso dire a ragion veduta, è un libro interessante e ben scritto
Ashley Plonski
I chose this book to read for my book report in a Finite Math Class and was pleasantly surprised. I'm not a huge fan of math/physics books but this one made me rethink it. If you are wondering about time travel, go to this book. Well written and widely spread, this book will teach you a thing or two.
Jul 05, 2009 bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to bonnie by: my physicist brother
I can't say I understood it all. But for explaining extremely complicated concepts to a layperson, Gott did fabulously. This book also deals with such fun as the beginning of the universe. The whole "universe created itself" concept is excellent.

SPOILER: (can one spoil a nonfiction science book? I honestly don't think so, which is why I'm not checking the box)
It sounds like time travel is theoretically possible, but we're going to have to get a LOT better at space travel first. Also, no tr...more
Worthwhile for the final chapter alone (although the rest of the book is also pretty good), where Gott goes on a digression to talk about an ingenious method of predicting the future he discovered, making use of the Copernican principle. It's not really a very practical method (e.g. it tells you the human race will last, with a 95% chance, between 5,100 and 7.8million years), but the idea is fascinating because of how simple it is.
Sarah M
This is a really good book that explains many possible theories of time travel in relation to the laws of physics. It does a good job of explaining complicated theories in a manner that non-scientists (like myself) would be able to understand and provides helpful diagrams to help illustrate complicated points.

The ideas discussed are very interesting, and it is fascinating to know the many ways that time travel could be achieved if we had unlimited resources/knowledge.
Ajitabh Pandey
A very interesting, informative and well written book. Richard Gott, starts with the basic concept and ideas of time travel with an brief explanation to the scientific theories lying behind some of the Hollywood's successful movies. He further moved down to explaining the various concepts, theories and ideas behind time travel to past and to future. Linking the time travel to the beginning of the universe introduces the reader with many interesting theories and concepts.
This is a very readable look at time travel and the origins of the universe, and it was written by one of my astrophysics professors from this semester! He does tend to spend a lot of time talking about his own accomplishments, but I'm going to cut him some slack, since they really are quite impressive.
I also liked that he offered multiple theories as to the origins of the universe, and none of them answered the question, "Yes, but what happened before THAT?"
The first few chapters were incredibly interesting in that they actually went through various time travel possibilities and explained various paradoxes. Then the book took a long time to go through a physics overview about string theory, laws of motion, and higher dimensions that has been done better in other books and didn't really talk about time travel. The last chapter or so got back on track but I wish the book just stuck to time travel theory.
Physics for those cursed, or blessed (however you look at it), with an inability to comprehend the mind-numbing concepts of modern theories. Gott allows his readers a unique access to the theories that have been commonly accepted to rule our universe. He intersperses his explanations of Einstein's theories with pop culture references and melds these two disparate concepts into a very readable explanation of a confusing concept.
This started off as a fascinating read however I am going to have to put it to one side for the time being. Despite being billed as for the lay reader the scienctific writing was very detailed and way beyond my grade D GCSE science. An interesting survey of time travel in film though. Whoever it was who told me that Bill and Ted's excellent adventure was about a road trip round America clearly had never actually seen it.
Christine Greeley
Anything is possible if you just BELIEVE.

I picked this book up as research material for the manuscript I am working on. It is actually a very good read, an explanation in very palatable writing of the principles and theories of physics that could make time travel possible, if only our tiny human minds could figure it out the rest of the way!
Frank Peters
The beginning is an excellent and approachable summary of special and general relativity. The end is an interesting soapbox preaching regarding the probable eventual state of mankind. These were the good parts. In the middle the author starts spouting off on the origins of the universe. This was rubbish and dreadfully boring.
Very clear and yet sufficiently explanatory book on time travel and its link to modern physics and cosmology. While no mathematical treatment is given, there are many diagrams and detailed prose-form explanation to satisfy those interested in the topic. A must read for those who like astrophysics and theoretical physics.
David Bass
One of the best books I have ever read on this subject. Mr Gott explains many topics resulting from Einstein's equations in a way that a layman can understand. This would be an excellent book for the interested high school senior or college freshman, or anyone wanting a basic understanding of time travel in our universe.
I am a huge geek who believes in time travel.. and this book does a great job explaining the possibility. I pick it up once every few months and re-read certain chapters for fun. If you want to know more about time travel.. this is one of the top books on the subject. My eyes only glaze over when the math gets too complicated.
Nick Gotch
I particularly enjoyed the discussion in the book around the Copernican Principle and how you can technically apply it to many different phenomenon. For avid time travel physics readers there's a lot in here that you've surely heard before but also a lot of less popular but fascinating nonetheless topics.
Following the Likes of a Brief History in Time, this book is a must read for any enthusiast of the Universe. If you've ever wondered how you can build a spaceship that doesn't move yet can take you into the future at such a rate that people living on earth see you as being immortal, this is a must read.
B Kevin
an engaging popular survey (i.e. no mathematics) of the physics of time travel. For me, the most interesting chapter was on Time travel and the beginning of the Uiverse. Gott believes that the study of time travel may show that the universe created itself, a solution to question of 'First cause.'
His writing style was refreshing, with lots of diagrams and examples that made his views more palpable and understandable. His breadth of understanding shines through in every paragraph and so does his enthusiasm about the topic. I recommend the book to those who are interested in astronomy.
Austin Savill
Great book. Perfect starter book to anyone interested in time travel. It posits many of the theories and paradoxes of time travel while being quite informative. The book may be tough for some readers if not of a science background, but it has excellent metaphors that help the reader along.
The best part of this book is the first chapter where the author describes each theory of time travel and pairs it with a work of fiction. He assumes that the reader is unfamiliar with the work. So you have several hilarious in depth retellings of things like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
There are quite a few tangents and the prose is a bit pompous at times, but overall this is a remarkably approachable book for someone who knows next to nothing about advanced science. Definitely worth a read if the title intrigues you.
I read this a while ago so I don't remember details but I do remember enjoying it. He writes well and uses movie references (ie. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, yeah, awesome!) to get his point across. Non-fiction but reads easy.
May 17, 2012 Brianna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This was utterly fascinating. Added bonus of being clear without feeling like it was dumbed down for you.

Also - Flatland? Blows my mind.

Would really like to buy this, so I can digest it better with follow-up readings.
Sahil Raina
a good book for non-astro people to get a handle on some pretty neat ideas; however, some of the ideas were a little hard to understand (probably because i am not an astrophysics person). good book nevertheless
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John Richard Gott III (born February 8, 1947 in Louisville, Kentucky) is a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. He is known for developing and advocating two cosmological theories with the flavor of science fiction: Time travel and the Doomsday argument.
More about J. Richard Gott III...
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