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How to Build a Time Machine: The Real Science of Time Travel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

How to Build a Time Machine: The Real Science of Time Travel

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1250024220
ISBN-10: 1250024226
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Editorial Reviews


"In ‘How to Build a Time Machine’ we start each chapter with an affirmation; ‘Yes, time travel is possible …’.  There’s clarification, ‘ifs’, often detailed historic references; consequences; and then the practicalities – at which point you might have the feeling that it’s not possible after all.  But then there’s the ‘Or is it?’, and one cannot but take the bait and turn the page (loop). To name but a few, what does the following have to do with time-travel?: near-light speed travel; an infinitely long cylinder built from dust - or a less ambitious one (!) built from Neutron stars; Wormholes; Paradoxes; Black/White Holes; Antimatter;  Dark Energy…?  If you’re like me when presented with such a list - appetite whet to the point of drooling - this is a book written with you in mind!  One last and very important point: Clegg is both a writer and a Physicist; and it’s as a writer – one who is able to communicate physics to the non-specialist – and that makes this book so very enjoyable.  The hard stuff is there; between the lines; but we’re not asked to deal with it – Clegg leads us through, in his own imitable style! There are just two equations: Einstein’s E=MC2 (of course!), and Maxwell’s – the latter because they’re so “beautifully spare and simple looking”. Perfect."  - Dr. Peet Morris of Oxford University

About the Author

BRIAN CLEGG holds a physics degree from Cambridge and has written regular columns, features, and reviews for numerous magazines. He lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and two children.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250024226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250024220
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian's most recent books are Dice World and Extra Sensory. He has written a range of other science titles, including the bestselling Inflight Science, The God Effect, Before the Big Bang, Ecologic, A Brief History of Infinity and Build Your Own Time Machine.

Along with appearances at the Royal Institution in London he has spoken at venues from Oxford and Cambridge Universities to Cheltenham Festival of Science, has contributed to radio and TV programmes, and is a popular speaker at schools. Brian is also editor of the successful book review site and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Brian has Masters degrees from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences and from Lancaster University in Operational Research, a discipline originally developed during the Second World War to apply the power of mathematics to warfare. It has since been widely applied to problem solving and decision making in business.

Brian has also written regular columns, features and reviews for numerous publications, including Nature, The Guardian, PC Week, Computer Weekly, Personal Computer World, The Observer, Innovative Leader, Professional Manager, BBC History, Good Housekeeping and House Beautiful. His books have been translated into many languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Norwegian, Thai and even Indonesian.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Alan F. Sewell on December 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being an old sci-fi buff going back to the 1960s, plus having a rudimentary education in physics, I've read tons of books about time travel. Everything from Isaac Asimov and George Gamow in the 60's to Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking in the 2000s. Time travel has become as much a staple of speculation as space aliens. The question is whether Brian Clegg's HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE adds anything to the discussion, or is it just a smarmy rehash of time-worn (no pun intended) theories.

The answer is, "Yes, it does indeed significantly add to the discussion of time travel theory." Despite a lifetime of reading about relativity and quantum mechanics I gleaned some interesting insights that made this book well worth the read:

1. Clegg explains how the discussion about the nature of time has a long history, starting with Plato, then going through St. Augustine and Galileo, and then on down to contemporary physicists. Most of the ideas that modern physicists argue about, such as whether time is a dimension or merely a measure of change, whether the past is immutable, or whether human beings have free will so as to affect unfolding events, have been debated for centuries from the scientific, philosophical, and theological angles.

2. He then opens a most entertaining window into the personalities who gave such great drama to the "golden age of physics" encompassing Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Niels Bohr's discoveries of Quantum Mechanics. Einstein was a physicist who craved order. He thought that in his Theory of Relativity he had found the beautifully designed blueprint of the universe.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Wayne Dworsky on December 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
Here’s the book the science reading community’s been waiting for, How to Build a time Machine. Ever since H. G. Wells’ famous book, The Time Machine, made its appearance in 1895, the science community’s been grappling with the possibility of time travel. Even the celebrated Albert Einstein announced to the world early in his career, as a theoretical physicist, that time travel was theoretically possible.

Consistent with his brilliant observations of other great minds and their inquisitive nature, Brian Clegg expresses his interpretations of Einstein’s space-time and H. G. Wells’ speculations of moving through time. He captures the prospect of time travel in exquisite detail with comparable tenacity as those great thinkers. The resulting vision will tantalize your instinct.

Of course, one of the enormous problems of time travel involves running into paradoxes. When we start to consider moving backwards or forward through time, along with the fact that we already exist in another time frame, problems arise. In many situations they simply cannot be avoided. If you travel back in time and accidentally kill your mother, does that mean you were never born and therefore could not have traveled back in time in the first place? Or if we move into the future and do something we contemplate in time past, does that mean we must do what we contemplated from the past? Thinking about the way these paradoxes contradict common sense tends to make understanding such a simple idea very confusing. But the author does a marvelous job at ironing it all out.

Brian Clegg has distinguished himself as an accomplished visionary in theoretical science, having written extensively in several renowned publications. In the present work, he proposes an idea that others might shun, but takes on the task with vigor and purpose, making reading about new avenues in science worth exploring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul L. on April 22, 2015
Format: Paperback
Time travel is a concept that is today more science fact than science fiction, but the key to understanding how this could become reality is the main question that Brian Clegg addresses in this rather interesting book. Clegg takes us on a journey that takes us from the very basic question of what is time all the way through the question of paradoxes. In the journey he examines the feasibility of time travel & the energy as well as physics behind the concept. He also describes just what it might take to make each of these various concepts possible. It's a nice change for a non-fiction book to not get bogged down in the math of how this happens, but it's the theory that makes this enjoyable. Granted the theory behind this requires a bit of an understanding of modern day astronomy which without the general layperson would be lost. Also it's not hard to get somewhat lost in the chapter dealing w/ paradoxes which are perhaps the most confusing aspect of time travel in general. Overall, Clegg offers a book that is full of possibilities & an ending 2 paragraphs that state pretty much what we now know in that time travel is real & is a possibility. Just when that will happen only time will truly tell.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Capt_n_Tom on July 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is good reading for people who have a casual interest in particle physics, quantum theory and Einstein's general and special theories of relativity as they pertain to the possibilities for time travel and messaging through time. It is very well written and in understandable language. It reflects the current state of real science as pertaining to time travel. It is an excellent book for anyone that is curious about time travel and for those who are also curious about UFOs and alien encounters.
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