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Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
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Mar 22, 08

bookshelves: fiction
Recommended for: lovers and haters of time or the lack thereof

this is one of the most amazing poetic explorations of einstein's theory of relativity i have ever read... technically it's considered a novel, but it's more like an essay collection in my opinion. i highly recommend this book. it gave me an entirely new perspective on viewing life and the meaning of "time".

from amazon:
The book takes flight when Einstein takes to his bed and we share his dreams, 30 little fables about places where time behaves quite differently. In one world, time is circular; in another a man is occasionally plucked from the present and deposited in the past: "He is agonized. For if he makes the slightest alteration in anything, he may destroy the future ... he is forced to witness events without being part of them ... an inert gas, a ghost ... an exile of time."
[Lightman's]purpose is simply to study the different kinds of time in Einstein's mind, each with its own lucid consequences.

There is no plot in this small volume--it's more like a poetry collection than a novel. Like Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, it's a mind-stretching meditation by a scientist who's been to the far edge of physics and is back with wilder tales than Marco Polo's. And unlike many admirers of Hawking, readers of Einstein's Dreams have a high probability of actually finishing it.
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