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In Search of Time: The Science of a Curious Dimension

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  393 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Time surrounds us. It defines our experience of the world; it echoes through our every waking hour. Time is the very foundation of conscious experience.  Yet as familiar as it is, time is also deeply mysterious. We cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or touch it. Yet we do feel it—or at least we think we feel it. No wonder poets, writers, philosophers, and scientists have grap ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published October 21st 2008)
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Bahiji Aakoure
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the way this book talks about time in ancient civilizations
Becky Douglas
Falk is a science journalist. The subtitle of In Search of Time is Journeys Along a Curious Dimension. These two facts lead to an obvious conclusion: This book is mostly about physics. No surprises there. However, the first few chapters a pretty light on science. Falk talks about time from an anthropological and historical stand point. He discusses how different societies in history interpreted time and how they measured it. He talks about the first calendars and the first clocks. This is all qu ...more
Brendan  McAuliffe
He interviewd Barbour, Deutsch, and Penrose for this , but had no real idea what to ask them. ( Also you can probably skip the first five chapters )
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's too bad that the author and I are -- so far as I know -- completely unrelated. I'm sure his research would make for fascinating conversation fodder at Thanksgivings. In any case, and aside from a few redundant chapters at the end that retread material covered on the opening pages, Falk's book is an ideal bedtime companion that affords a fine evening read-aloud. In Search Of… takes on diverse aspects of how we understand, perceive, observe, and describe time -- everything from the technologi ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phd-studies
Falk gets the pendulum swinging by taking his reader's back to prehistoric times, and his best guesses (based upon anthropology and archaeology) at how early humans gazed into the cosmos, noticed the circular patterns of stars, moon and the sun, and created a notion of time that was vaguely agreed upon (with certain cultures throughout history providing an intriguing spin on the logical progression from then to now and onto later). Despite the variety of interpretations, the general consensus is ...more
Gary Schroeder
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan Falk’s “In Search of Time” is a thoroughly approachable and enjoyable review of what physicists and philosophers are able to tell us about the nature of time, an aspect of life that we take for granted as obvious and understood...until you start to look at it closely. Falk covers every aspect of time from ancient attempts to build astronomical clocks and the development of mechanical time keepers to Einstein’s theories of relativity that shattered the illusion of any absolute standard for “n ...more
Fil Krynicki
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished this book, I meant to take advantage of my "Now" to record my thoughts, before they are lost to the (perhaps illusory) past.

Falk's treatment of time is roughly chronological, appropriate if somewhat alarming - I spent a good deal of the book thinking I had mistook a bit of popular science for a treatment of the social and cultural perceptions of time through the ages. Those, while interesting, were not my primary interest. As with all history, however, Falk manages to spend
Mike Smith
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very good, recent book about just how little we really understand about the nature of time. If you've read a lot of books on the history of science, the first couple of chapters will seem a bit repetitive, as it covers ground that most books of that sort cover. It explains how we've improved our ability to measure time from the seasonal cycles and stone circles of the ancients to modern atomic clocks. There's a good discussion of Newton's views on time as compared to Einstein's. There ...more
I will probably edit this later with more details but I just have to write something real quick....

After two years of initially starting it and never being able to get through, I finally finished it for the first time and I loooove the book. I'm probably going to read sections over again in the near future. I took so many notes in my book that I want to go back to.

I definitely recommend this read for those who want to get a basic exposure to concepts of time through the lenses of different studi
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-and-math
I feel slightly cheated, as this book's subtitle says (with my emphasis) "the SCIENCE of a curious dimension," but the actual 'science of time' content was minimal, probably less than 1/8th of the book, and the majority of that was an overview of the ramifications of special relativity (nothing you wouldn't have already heard about if you took freshman physics in college or read pretty much ANY other book that touched on the topic). The rest was made up of what I considered mildly interesting fi ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main topic of this book is 'time.' At first it covers the cultural aspects of time which I found very interesting. The author tells about how various cultures interpreted time and used it and how that changed over the centuries.
About 1/3 of the way through the book it shifted to modern physics and relativity. This section was only mildly interesting. The combination of a very complicated science combined with history of fairly dull scientists made for some pretty slow reading.
One serious
Ted Hopkins
A good and absorbing read. There is nothing new here that I have not encountered in diverse other reads, either in books or magazines, but this pulls together many threads to make a whole cloth of our view of time. That is the wonder of this book.

The reader gets to consider time not just in terms of clock mechanics, physics, and mathematics but in every day life, in philosophy, in sociology, in psychology, in history, in religion, and more. Various human cultures respond differently to time and
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
nothing really new hear, but a great overall view of the history, philosophy, and science of time - Falk's own struggle against the idea that time is an illusion (which modern physics seems to point toward) makes for some of the best reading of the book

the illusory view of time (brought to the fore of physics, in large measure, by Einstein's theory of relativity): time is just another dimension (like the 3 dimensions of space) - all moments in time exist simultaneously just like all places in sp
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This book presents the history of how humans have approached Time. It starts with the development of the calendar and goes from there to Time as the fourth dimension. It started rather slow, got stronger, then fizzled. As a lay person when it comes to physics, I did think this book was much more clearly written than others I’ve encountered. It didn’t flow well for me though. The book felt like a series of articles loosely thrown together as chapters in a book with interviews that didn't always f ...more
Roger K.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides a good overview of the current thinking about time. I enjoyed the insight into how time has been thought about throughout the ages. Dan Falk includes numerous perspectives on the subject and provides a lot to ponder.

The author does not shy away from unconventional thinking such as whether time travel is possible, or that time itself may be an illusion caused by how we perceive the world. He provides both scientific and philosophical backing for these ideas. Regardless of your
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any other books on this subject, so I cannot fairly compare it to them. However, I thought Dan Falk did an excellent job in presenting all of the information and walking through the history time in a swell way. Anyone a little bit interested in time or the idea of thinking deeper in a seeming commonplace subject should definitely think about reading this book.

I am also happy to say that man physicists of today believe if time does indeed exist, it is not in the everyday way we thi
Taylor Ellwood
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academia
This book presents a "history" of time, with a heavy focus on physics and how physicists throughout history have approached and tried to conceptualize and explain time. The author does an excellent job of presenting a wide variety of both contemporary and historical perceptions of time. I enjoyed reading this book because it provided some food for thought on how I understand and conceptualize time. I recommend it to anyone who finds the concept of time fascinating and wants to learn what others ...more
Nicole Chardenet
Falk is a science journalist whose style is easy to read. He covers - not to make a joke here! - time past, present and future. The early chapters cover the history of clocks and measuring time which I found quite interesting. I also liked the parts where he got into the physics of time, which was a bit dense for me but through no fault of Falk's, the subject matter itself is difficult to grasp. All in all, I'd call it a good read.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Standard general science reader fare. Interesting subject though meditated upon using the perspectives of a variety of disciplines. Well enough written to make me interested in checking out Dan Falk's first book, The Universe on a T-Shirt, as I found the interviews and writings about physicists and cosmology to be the better part of In Search of Time.
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-and-space
Great overview of time and space. Includes perspectives from many disciplines such as philosophy & physics, and everything in between. Easy to read, and the author takes what could be a dry book and makes it entertaining.

I need to check out his previous book, Universe on a T-Shirt, and make my way through some of the reference books he cites.
Scott Miller
Covers the basic for two-thirds of the book, and finally only gets interesting the last third. Probably best for strict beginners only. The best past was near the end when the author finally explores the idea that time make be a human concept only, an illusion, with no basis in reality -- a concept I fully believe and wished would have been more thoroughly explored.
Stevan McCallum
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You need a little bit of history, a little bit of science and a little bit of philosophy to follow all that's going on. If you've got all that, it's fantastic.

I found the "higher-level" discussion about physic and string-theory just out of my reach, but everything else was accessible for the layperson.

Brad Rice
Time is complicated but interesting. Dan Falk marches us through time giving us a history of human understanding of time from paleohistory to now. The most 8nteresting part was the description of the difference s between Newtonian and Einsteinian views of time and the sciences that flowed from those views. It doesn't read like a dry textbook, but does make you stretch you brain.
Lindsay Goto
Easy to read for the layman if a bit dense and hard to get through at times, Falk takes us on an incredible walk through time. We are lead through philosophical, scientific, religious and existential debates and introduced to a fascinating new world where time cannot and will not be taken for granted.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It is also rather intriguing that the fate of the universe billions upon billions of years in the future is actually clearer to us than the fate of our own civilization."

A great read, full of thought-provoking ideas, and based on broad research into many fields generally thought to be unrelated.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like books like Falk's that challenge me to think about the world in ways that seem counterintuitive. I believe more and more that the real world runs counter to our intuitions (as useful as they may be) and that I am improved somehow by questioning or at least being suspicious of my certainties.
Jefferson F
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title doesn't lie, this book is about time. How we understand time, how different cultures observe time. If your the kind of person who is curious about most things this book is for you. Its a fascinating read.
William Boyle
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, it turns out that *nobody* knows what time is! –
No wonder that advances in physics have balked! –
It seems that most time scientists have come to the conclusion that “time” is actually a psychological illusion…
(...Are they pulling our leg???)
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"if no one asks me, i know what it is
if you ask me to explain what it is, i know not"

St Augustine's riddle re Time

nothing new in this book but it is a compreshensive collection of ideas and thoughts on the topic of Time. I especially like the last chapter.

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I'm a science journalist, author, and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada. I've written three books so far: My first book, Universe on a T-Shirt, looked at the quest for a unified theory of physics, while In Search of Time explored the physics and philosophy of time.

I'm very excited about my new book, The Science of Shakespeare, to be published this April! This time I turn the clock back 400 year
More about Dan Falk...
“The urge to cram the maximum number of activities into the minimum amount of time, notes French cultural commentator Francois Tournier, makes us “prisoners of the present… If we do not slow down, we risk becoming alienated from our own future.” 2 likes
More quotes…