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In "The End of the Beginning," Adam Frank explains how the texture of our lives changes along with our understanding of the universe's origin. Since we awoke to self-consciousness fifty thousand years ago, our lived experience of time--from hunting and gathering to the development of agriculture to the industrial revolution to the invention of Outlook calendars--has been transformed and rebuilt many times. But the latest theories in cosmology-- time with no beginning, parallel universes, eternal inflation--are about to send us in a new direction.
Time is both our grandest and most intimate conception of the universe. Many books tell the story, recounting the progress of scientific cosmology. Frank tells the story of humanity's deepest question-- when and how did everything begin?--alongside the story of how human beings have experienced time. He looks at the way our engagement with the world-- our inventions, our habits and more--has allowed us to discover the nature of the universe and how those discoveries, in turn, inform our daily experience.
This astounding book will change the way we think about time and how it affects our lives.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-06-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Time is such an integral part of our lives that we never think about what it means or how we started counting it—but for University of Rochester astrophysicist and NPR blogger Frank, the provocative story of time is two tightly interwoven stories, one cosmic and one human-scale. From the moment an unknown shaman created the first deliberate record of the moon's phases 25,000 years ago in the Dordogne in France, humans have measured time. Solstice-marking megaliths and earthworks like Stonehenge and Ireland's Newgrange have given way to finer methods of counting. Frank illustrates the fascinating progression of "time consciousness" through calendars, clocks, and the metaphorical idea of a clockwork universe. From Newton to Einstein to quantum theory, modern electronics, and the virtual world of the Internet, time has been a crucial concept, even leading to increasingly detailed takes on the Big Bang, the "birth of time," and the fate of the universe. From Paleolithic times, when consciousness of time first began to be recorded to modern-day "rebel" physicists who challenge our most fundamental assumptions about matter, energy, and time, Frank offers a unique and fascinating look at complex concepts with an accessible style that is both matter-of-fact and thoroughly entertaining. Illus. (Sept.)