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How to Build a Time Machine Hardcover – 1 Nov 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (1 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713995831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713995831
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.7 x 18.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,063,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

In How to Build a Time Machine, Paul Davies, Professor of Theoretical Physics and a veteran of the popular science writing genre, has produced a delightful little book about time and time-travel. The format of the book is reader-friendly, written in his usual clear, lucid and engaging style with text linked to relevant sketches, photographs and diagrams of machinery. At the heart of the book is an explanation of Einstein's theory of relativity and what that theory tells us about the possibility of time-travel. Einstein's theory tells us that travel into the future is certainly possible while the possibility of travel into the past has not yet been ruled out. What makes this book such a fascinating and fun read is finding out about the practicalities of building a time machine. If we want to travel into the future, Davies tells us, all we need do is build a machine that moves fast enough. Any machine will do so long as it can move at a velocity close to the speed of light. Things become really interesting however, when we start to think about how to travel backwards in time. The method Davies outlines in the book involves using a wormhole adapted to form a time machine. You jump into the hole and come out in another place and in another, past time. This is a "machine" that is part of the structure of the universe, a machine you step through into the past. Davies then presents a step-by-step guide to building such a machine with illustrations of the various components and descriptions of the processes involved before discussing some of the paradoxes of time-travel. A more interesting way of learning about Einstein's theory than this is difficult to imagine; this is a highly entertaining read and an excellent introduction to the subject of theoretical physics. --Larry Brown

Review

"An entertaining tour around a fascinating topic, conducted by a world-class physicist" - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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In an obvious sense we are all time travellers. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Seamus Sweeney on 24 Nov. 2001
Format: Hardcover
How To Build A Time Machine, by Paul Davies. Published by Allen Lane/The Penguin Press
How to Build A Time Machine should sell by the time-machineful. The title sounds like an archetypal mad scientist's manual; chiming with this theme, the cover looks like an archetypal mad scientist's manual with its bold, confident sans-serif font, and it's written in a breezy, accessible style that leaves one with perhaps misplaced confidence that one understands the niceties of spacetime and quantum mechanics.
In his introduction, Paul Davies quotes JBS Haldane's dictum "the world is not only queerer than we think, it is queerer than we can think" and the whole book acts as proof. Particularly fascinating are the early chapters "How to visit the future" and "How to visit the past." The wondrous implications of Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity are explicated clearly for the laity; time is elastic, and by simply moving about the exact duration of time between two definite events is lessened; by flying from London to Cape Town and back, physicists demonstrated in 1971, ultra-accurate atomic clocks lost 59 nanoseconds relative to identical clocks that stayed in London. Gravity's slowing effect on time effects even the relative times on the bottom and top of a building; in 1959 in Harvard it was found that this timewarp factor in a tower 22.5 metres high resulted in a slowing effect of 0.000000000000257 percent.
So in other words there is a miniscule time difference between the top and bottom deck of the Number 10 bus. And furthermore due to the Number 10's motion a timeshift effect relative to the stationary observer occurs. Something else to ponder as the bus chugs its way homewards.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "will_dallas" on 23 April 2003
Format: Paperback
At first I was a little apprehensive about buying a science book on such a complex subject because i expected it to be full of scientific jargon which meant nothing to me.
However Paul Davies makes this subject easier to understand because after the inevitable hard to grasp idea or impossible word, he explains it with a simple analogy.
The only criticism i would have is that it does slightly begin to fall away in the middle and become tedious and hard to read. This however is the nature of the beast that is astrophysics and it then turns around in the last few chapters to being thoroughly absorbing again.
In my opinion this a fantastic book for those with a casual interest in time travel etc, and very much worth a read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Simon Laub on 6 July 2002
Format: Paperback
After the brilliant book "About Time" I was really
looking forward to Paul Davies next book on
Time.
But as a followup to "About Time" "How to build
a timemachine" is a bit disappointing.
I had expected a fountain of new ideas on wormholes
in spacetime and their use for time travel. Plus all
sorts of other ideas like e.g. Tiplers rotating
cylinders with the possibility of global
causality violations and more.
Instead the book revisits some of the material covered
in "About Time" in a shortened format. Other parts
are covered more extensively in Richard Gotts Timetravel
in Einsteins universe.
So all in all I would only recommend this book
for someone who hadn't read anything about relativity,
timetravel and spacetime before. And weren't looking
for to much detail.
With that said the book is still pretty entertaining.
-Simon
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No, not really. I haven't managed to build a time machine yet, hence 1 star off right away.

The 2nd star has been removed because the author, like many who write at this level, suddenly make vast leaps of imagination right where your own non PHD understanding on the subject starts to fail... so they basically cover the stuff you know well and then suddenly just blurt out something without any explanation.

For instance, ageing one end of a worm hole near a dense body, and then being able to travel into the past by traversing the worm hole. Really? Does that even work? I don't doubt time passes more slowly near dense bodies, but does the actual exit of the worm hole exist in the past? Or is it merely younger? I just felt some explanation around such suggestions would have been valuable as that is exactly where I struggle with these concepts. There must be maths to support it, but no mention of it at all is made etc.

A great idea, but in my view, just like Brian Cox on TV, they tell you all the stuff you possibly know already with lots of nice analogies, but then when it really matters, they quickly gloss over things in a single sentence.
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By Dan Jordan on 4 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Paul Davies' other books, but this one is written in a strange style in which it seems to be appealing to teenagers. The whole layout, manner of writing, the diagrams, font, shape of the book even - all are geared towards sales - and those sales seem primarily the youngsters. The very title itself is misleading - intentionally no doubt.
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