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Breaking the Time Barrier: The Race to Build the First Time Machine [Paperback]

Jenny Randles
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 5, 2005 0743492595 978-0743492591
Once widely considered an impossibility--the stuff of science fiction novels--time travel may finally be achieved in the twenty-first century. In Breaking the Time Barrier, bestselling author Jenny Randles reveals the nature of recent, breakthrough experiments that are turning this fantasy into reality.
The race to build the first time machine is a fascinating saga that began about a century ago, when scientists such as Marconi and Edison and Einstein carried out research aimed at producing a working time machine. Today, physicists are conducting remarkable experiments that involve slowing the passage of information, freezing light, and breaking the speed of light--and thus the time barrier. In the 1960s we had the "space race." Today, there is a "time race" involving an underground community of working scientists who are increasingly convinced that a time machine of some sort is finally possible.
Here, Randles explores the often riveting motives of the people involved in this quest (including a host of sincere, if sometimes misguided amateurs), the consequences for society should time travel become a part of everyday life, and what evidence might indicate that it has already become reality. For, if time travel is going to happen--and some Russian scientists already claim to have achieved it in a lab--then its effects may already be apparent.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Physicist Paul Davies noted in How to Build a Time Machine (2001) that the building of such a machine is possible theoretically. Impeding progress are petty technical details such as how to access higher dimensional space, exceed the speed of light, or control a black hole. The construction efforts of science fiction writers, physicists, and the fringe element occupy British science writer Randles in this tour of imagined time travels, actual experiments, and dubious claims. In presenting a century's worth of speculation (dating back to The Time Machine by H. G. Wells) and physical findings (physicists in 1999 slowed light, and hence time, to a sprinter's speed), Randles can be breathless as well as factual. Would time travel be a reality had the world heeded the ideas of Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current? Such mind-bending if unlikely propositions abound here, all anchored in the ideas of reputable physicists such as Kip Thorne (Black Holes and Time Warps, 1994). An entertaining combo of science proven and unproven. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jenny Randles, who specialized in physics and geology at university, has sold more than one and a half million copies of her fifty published books. She has written articles for such journals as New Scientist, and lives in North Wales.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743492595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743492591
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fair introduction to time travel March 9, 2008
I bought "Breaking The Time Barrier" as a companion to the most excellent "Time Traveler" by Ronald Mallett, and if you are after a good book with time travel science in it, get Mallett's book.

I found Ms. Randles book a disappointment on two levels. First, it's filled with "gee whiz!" statements that upon further reading are discounted. Examples:

p. 102: "He (Frank Tipler) was the first modern scientist to design a time machine that could be constructed in the laboratory ... ". Later, on p.104, Ms. Randles backs away from that stating that, "Tipler's time machine was a worthy effort but is not likely for the foreseeable future ...". Because it would require a super dense cylinder over 60 miles long.

p.107 "The photo of Christ was a fake and the chronovisor did not work - but the device was built and the theory behind it was sound."

Antigravity experiments of Podkletnov are discussed (p. 174- 176). "Tests followed and many further experiments revealed the remarkable truth. Gravity was being reduced in the area above the floating superconductor." Then (p. 176) "But Podkletnov's research proved disappointingly difficult for others to verify."

Secondly, Ms. Randles, although seemingly familiar with modern physics ideas, sometimes misinterprets them. Example:

(pp. 77 - 78) Ms. Randles misunderstands Einstein Rosen bridges to mean that particles themselves travel through the bridges rather than quantum information.

If you do not have a science background and you are interested in time travel ideas then this could be a good starting book. For those who have had exposure to science there are a few jewels in the book such as the (brief) discussion of the delayed choice experiment.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faster than a speeding bullet... January 1, 2006
The first great popularising of the idea of a time machine was undoubtedly H.G. Wells' novel of the same name, but lesser known is the fact that scientists from the same time period forward to today have been speculating in earnest about the factual possibilities of time travel and time machines. These kinds of speculations do not take the form of machines that look like go-carts with umbrellas on top (such as the films portray), but they are nonetheless fascinating. Once upon a time, the idea that human beings would send ships to the moon and other planets seemed like the stuff of fanciful science fiction; time machines and time travel still has that veneer, but as recently as a few years ago, physicist Paul Davies was able to state with all seriousness that there is no theoretical problem with building a time machine.

Jenny Randles has put together an intriguing text looking at the history of time machine and time travel speculation and research. This includes a good dose of science fiction, but more interestingly, a strong selection of science fact. Scientists with well-known names such as Einstein, Fermi, Hawking, and Penrose are joined with lesser-known figures such as Kaku and Chernobrov, the latter of whom has claimed to have built a time machine of sorts already.

Of course, this flies in the face of the law of chronological protection - a speculation advanced by Hawking (among others) that there is an as-yet undiscovered law of nature that enforces the cause-preceding-effect sequence of events.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These are exciting times July 17, 2005
Jenny Randles writes about research being done in the arena of time travel. She compares our current period of time to the space race of the 60's. In her book she talks about various time travel theories and how the basic research into the area was started by Tesla. It was later expanded during the Philadelphia Experiment and the Montauk Project. Jenny Randles talks about modern researchers like Dr. Ron Mallet and about Steven Gibbs who claims to have built the first commercial time machine the HDR or Hyper Dimensional Resonator.

I thought it was well worth my time to become familiar with the world of time travel research and new events in chronodymanics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I adore books like this, stretching one's concepts beyond their comfort zone to consider new possibilities. At the same time, however, I feel compelled to approach such works as "Breaking the Time Barrier" with a healthy measure of skepticism. Of course, most people believe that crossing boundaries of time is impossible, although from a theoretical perspective it appears possible at the same time that it is unlikely. Jenny Randles, a British science writer, tracks in "Breaking the Time Barrier" efforts beyond science fiction and wishful thinking to crack that barrier. There are enormous challenges, probably insurmountable ones at least for the projected future, in overcoming the speed of light, understanding and moving beyond of three dimensions into higher dimensionality, and navigating the space-time continuum of a black hole.

Recent investigations undertaken by serious scientists may yield answers to at least some of these questions. The result might be a workable time machine in some distant unimaginable era. Then watch out, fascinating possibilities exist. Read and enjoy, but don't rush out and invest money in a company offering time travel vacations immediately. It will be quite a while before we see that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Breaking the Time Barrier Recommendation
The book Breaking the Time Barrier by Jenny Randles explains the process of which time travel has evolved. Read more
Published on November 27, 2011 by Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Book
Not the best porduct ive ever bought. It was an old used library book in ok condition. I was in a rush to buy it for class so i didnt search for better ones, a few of my classmates... Read more
Published on October 29, 2010 by Goldman714
2.0 out of 5 stars a very trite read
this book offers a varity of theories both in relativity and in quantum physics. it tries to cover too much ground in this book and no theory is ecplored to a satisfacory level. Read more
Published on December 26, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking the Time Barrier
Have not read the entire book yet, but what I have read has been written very well. Not a big fan of most female authers as I notice a different writing style from that of men,... Read more
Published on February 18, 2008 by Richard Rosenberger
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
I have read many books pertaining to time travel and I must say this is one of the best. It is a "must read".
Published on September 7, 2007 by E. K. Turnbull
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a barrier
If you're fascinated with the science of light and time travel but not a physicist or mathematician, this book is a great read. Read more
Published on February 2, 2007 by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Reveals recent experiments which are showing the time barrier may...
Time travel was once considered only the realm of science fiction: in Breaking The Time Barrier, Jenny Randles reveals recent experiments which are showing the time barrier may... Read more
Published on July 4, 2005 by Midwest Book Review
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