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Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction
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Top Customer Reviews
Paul J. Nahin discusses both sides of this issue in his thought provoking book Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction. He begins with an overview of time travel, from scientific possibility of it, to popular conjecture about it. He goes on to discuss the nature of time itself, and then ends with an in-depth analysis of paradoxes created by the possibility of time travel. He assures us that we do not have to worry about changing history, because the past cannot be changed.
Nahin has written an excellent book for the layperson. He includes many references to popular works of science fiction, including many stories and movies the reader is probably familiar with. This helps illustrate many of his points. The text is clear and well written. Anyone without a background in physics can understand this book. For those with a more technical bent Nahin includes a few "Tech Notes" at the end of the book to explain certain phenomena he discusses. Time Machines is an exciting book for anyone who has ever sat outside on a long summer night and wondered "what if."
This book is a wonderful blend of science and science fiction. It is perfect for people like me, who are fascinated by the idea of time travel but can't understand math or physics for anything. The first few chapters are basically a literature review. An extremely comprehensive literature review. It'll be enough to make you run to your library or bookstore (or computer) in search of these books and short stories.
Nahin also discusses the reality behind time travel with relatively little math. Most of the math is tucked away in the "Tech Notes in the back of the book. Nice technique to sucker in the math-scaredys like me.
What I really loved about the book, though is Nahin's enthusiasm. He is obviously just as nuts (or more) as I am about this outlandish subject of time travel, which makes the book, in my opinion, stand-out.
This seems to be the moral of this little book from science fiction write Paul Nahin. And, unlike many others who've attempted to talk about time in a serious way, Nahin is all too ready to show readers that he's done his homework.
In four (blink and you'll miss it) sections Nahin takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the issues involved in time travel:
1) An overview of time travel. In this section Nahin samples time travel stories of the ages. While doing so, he introduces readers to some of the more pertinent time travel issues serious thinkers have raised about the topic. One such example is if time travel is real, where are all the travelers? While admitting the serious nature of the question and its implications Nahin also provides readers with possible responses to it (for example, the time machines don't reach back to our era). Another example of serious issues raised is a treatment by Princeton mathematician Kurt Godel who -- using Einstein's own equations -- came up with a solution for them which actually allows time travel. (The good news for time travel fans is that Einstein approved of the solution. The bad news is that it requires our universe to possess physical charactistics it lacks.)
2) On the nature of time, spacetime and the fouth dimension. In this section Nahin discusses hoary questions like what is time? Is time real? And what does it physically consist of? This section is a perfect case in point to the cursory nature with which Nahin treats some of these issues. As to the matters raised in this chapter alone I would refer readers to Michio Kaku's very excellent Hyperspace PRIOR to reading this section.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An encyclopedic book on the history of time travel seen through the eyes and minds of physicists, philosophers, and entertainers (movie makers, novelists, and short-story writers). Read morePublished 18 months ago by Gerald B. Keane
I got the second edition (1999) of this book. I was hoping for something interesting. After all, there was even a forward by none other than Kip Thorne! Read morePublished on August 7, 2004 by Jill Malter
Mr. Nahin obviously is very interested in the topic of time travel. He has read tons of sci-fi stories, has spoken with many physicists and/or read their books. Read morePublished on November 24, 2003 by Antoine J. Bachmann
As I have always been fascinated by the idea of time travel, I very much enjoyed its discussion in Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction; both in... Read morePublished on September 29, 2002 by albirda
I found Paul J. Nahin's Time Machines to be a messy book. I expected to learn all I needed to learn about time and the potential for time machines, but didn't. Read morePublished on June 27, 2002 by Eyal Teler