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Time Traveler: A Scientist's Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality Hardcover – October 4, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Physicist Mallett's theory that "space and time can be manipulated" to make time travel possible has gained national media attention. His research and theories flow nicely through this easy-to-read autobiography. Mallett, one of the first African-American Ph.D.s in theoretical physics, has lived under the shadow of his father's death when he was 10. His struggles with poverty, racism and depression, coupled with his extreme drive to succeed at building a time machine and so see his beloved father again are inspirational. Mallett's (and bestselling author Henderson's) simple prose makes for clear and concise explanations of the science involved. The author comes across as a warm, inspired, driven, troubled man who is generous in his descriptions of others and must be an excellent teacher at the University of Connecticut, where he is a physics professor. Mallett describes the path of his education and research into black holes and circulating lasers, which he believes drag time into a closed loop suitable for time travel. Due to the basic level of the science content and the focus on Mallett's personal quest, this book is best suited for a general rather than a science-leaning audience, or as an inspirational text for aspiring young scientists. B&w photos. (Nov. 14)
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About the Author

Ronald L. Mallett, Ph.D., served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. He received his B.S. in Physics in 1969, M.S. in 1970, and Ph.D. in physics in 1973, all lfrom Pennsylvania State University. In 1975 he joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut, where he is a professor of theoretical physics. He has published many papers on theoretical physics in professional journals. His time travel research has been featured in an hour-long TV special, "The World's First Time Machine," as well as publications as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, New Scientist, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe and Pravda.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press (October 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258698
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,138,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Steve Reina VINE VOICE on March 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, nor all your piety can lure it back nor your tears wash out a word of it." Jon Donne.

If Prof. Ron Mallett has his way, the words of Jon Donne will be a quaint aphorism that people used to say. The reason Mallett says this is because he believes that the time barrier can be broken and that -- someday -- people will have the technology to travel into the past.

Almost immediately on announcing his speculations, Mallett became the topic of intense media interest including a Learning Channel special and great media coverage. And this is rightly so because the back story of Mallett's motivation -- so ably told in this book -- is itself so compelling.

In 1955, while still a child, Ron Mallett lost his father who died of heart failure at the age of 33. Loving his Dad as intensely as he did, Mallett began to dream of breaking the time barrier to rejoin his father just to tell him "I love you."

Just as everyone can easily connect with Mallett's motivation, mostly everyone will find themselves somewhat befuddled by the science behind Mallett's speculations. This isn't because he doesn't do a good job of explaining himself, but rather simply because scientific explanations typically tend to tax comprehension.

That being said, his theory is an ingenious one: that just as gravity can used to distort time, so can concentrated light. In this way, Mallett must now consider it the sweetest serendipity that he worked in the private sector with lasers for a formative part of his early career. In this way, he became immediately acquianted with the very device he intends to employ in his time travel device.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Brian OMalley on November 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Mallett must be an extraordinary teacher. While the other reviewers are correct that his personal history is deeply compelling, the scientific insights that he explains in chapters 11 and 12 are breathtaking in their elegance. Dr. Mallett's theory is the complement to the 1919 verification by Arthur Eddington of Eistein's prediction regarding the deflection of light rays by the curved space around the sun. Dr. Mallett's insight is that Einstein's theory shows that light, which does not have mass, has energy and that energy could also produce a gravitational field. If that gravitational field twists space, then time gets twisted. Eddington showed that strong gravity bends light, then Dr. Mallett theorizes that intense light should affect gravity. Beautiful symmnetry. With the recent advent of small, relatively inexpensive femto-second lasers with power outputs in terawatts, Dr Mallett's hypothesis should be testable very soon. Good luck Dr. Mallett, your father has truly reached across time.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Harker on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I heard Ronald Mallett on George Norry's show, and I thought he was fascinating. I ordered the book that night. I finally got a chance to read it. The book covers Mallett's life from childhood to present. It is a study of a man's life, how his beliefs and opinions were formed, and how his studies led him to his theories on time travel.

Although I found the book very touching in soma parts (I have a son myself), as well as very interesting, I did find a drawback that kept this from being a 5-star book; the science. Mallett goes into some deep scientific discussions when he explains certain facts and theories of physics. This is pretty basis stuff, but for the laymen, well, it's easy to get bogged down in it. I guess he felt that it was necessary to include his reasoning and his explanations for all of these things, but I thought that they ultimately took away from the overall enjoyment of the book.

Still, the book was a good read. It's fairly easy to get through it in a few nights of reading. I hope to hear Dr. Mallett on the George Norry show again, as I think he's a very interesting and inspirational guy. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject of time travel. Mallett gives some pretty compelling evidence, and it's cool stuff. Just be prepared to skip a paragraph or two when it becomes a dry physics lesson.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Paul on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Time Traveler has all the elements of a good thriller. It is especially engrossing because it is a true story. It has all of the unexpected twists and turns of reality. Truth is stranger than fiction! I found myself reading it in all sorts of unlikely places. It took me away from the politics at work during my lunch break. It transported me into another realm while I was waiting for a friend. It inspired me to reach for seemingly unattainable goals. It was thought provoking and mentally challenging. I highly recommend it.

A. Paul
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mystic Mom on June 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Spike Lee has acquired the film rights to this story (spring 2008). "Lee, who will co-write the script for the film and direct it, says he is 'elated to have acquired the rights to a fantastic story on many levels, but also a father-and-son saga of loss and love.'" (University of Connecticut Advance, June 23, 2008)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Seachranaiche on February 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have always considered physicists such as Newton, Clerk, Einstein and Hawkings to be geniuses; born that way, practically savants in their ability to see beyond the common, to imagine what may lie between the temporal folds of reality to envision relativity and quantum mechanics, to actually be able to describe, in language and mathematics, what exists beyond the average mind such as my own. And then comes Ronald Mallet, an every-day guy with a dream to reunite with his long lost father, and suddenly the hero worship of extraordinary minds is turned on end.

In this spare memoir, an average man of humble beginnings, with no pattern of great insight to come, longs to see his father again and sets about a course of education in his life to learn the necessary knowledge to build a time machine, within the bounds of physics, and return to warn his father to take more care, to live longer in able to bestow that fatherly wisdom and camaraderie on his children. Through the course of a normal life, Ronald Mallet learns physics, becomes a physicist, a professor, a mentor to extraordinary minds, and in his quest creates the possibility of time travel.

If nothing else, "Time Traveler" demonstrates that depth of knowledge does not rely on some quirk of cerebral wiring, but rather, on hard work and dreams. As a memoir it is short on personal depth but its lessons are profound nonetheless. As a lay guide to physics, especially the physics of relativity, it is an effective primer for the lay reader and worthy of the investment.

As a boy, and into adulthood, Mallet has been fascinated by stories of time travel, of H.G. Wells, Richard Matheson, and others--he has been touched by the possibilities and disturbed by the paradoxes, which shows that the science-fiction genre can drive the imagination as perhaps no other. But of Matheson's "Bid Time return" (the film, "Somewhere in Time") I must ask: Where did the watch come from?
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