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In Search of the Edge of Time (Penguin science) Paperback – 27 Jul 1995

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Paperback, 27 Jul 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140248145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140248142
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 697,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Gribbin specialises in writing about the big questions of the cosmos. This guided tour through the mysteries of neutron and X-ray stars, white dwarfs, quasars and pulsars is a reprint of a book first published in 1992. As such it is inevitably not as up-to-date as it could be but nevertheless provides a very well written introduction to the subject.

Gribbin sets out to explain how time travel is theoretically possible and looks at the various different ways which might allow it. He pays particular attention to the most likely time-machine: that provided by the concept of the "wormhole". Like a tunnel through space and time, a wormhole could connect different regions of the Universe which occupy both different spaces and different times.

The story is given a historical context and the necessary background from Newton onwards for the reader to understand the concept of warping space and time, dense neutron stars and black holes. From here the science theory becomes as strange as science fiction and the two are intertwined. Carl Sagan kick-started the whole idea with his 1968 book Contact and making hyperspace connections though spacetime. As Gribbin writes, the science fiction version was on the right lines: "Hyperspace connections do, at least in theory, provide a means to travel to the far distant regions of the Universe" without spending vast amounts of time "pottering along through ordinary flat space at less than the speed of light". The story continues through white holes, worm holes and spacetime tunnels.

A useful glossary, bibliography and index help the intrepid reader negotiate these fringes of reality. --Douglas Palmer

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Sept. 2000
Having read other John Gribbin books I looked forward to this one and was not disappointed. As the synopsis itself says most of the stuff sounds like science fiction and so the fact that it is actually plausable makes the novel all the more absorbing.
I read the book when I was just starting my A-level physics course and I have to admit that there were a small number of times where I got slightly lost off. However the main ideas were thoroughly readable and in fact now nearing the end of my phsics course I can understand a lot more of what Gribbin said.
So if you have and A-Level in physics you'll find this book thoroughly enjoyable. If you don't you'll still be engrossed and it is still possible to understand 90% of the theories that he's describing.
I'd recommened it to anyone who wants to spend the next six months convincing people they are going to the other side of the galaxy for their holidays!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
More a history lesson than anything... 8 April 2001
By JAMES HUFFMAN - Published on
But there's nothing wrong with history, is there? Most of the book covers the mathematical and physical explorations of thinkers from the Greek age through the 20th century, but only conceptually--not mathematically. For those who want an introduction to the myriad theories of how the universe was created, how it might be destroyed, and why there may be an infinite quantity of universes in existence, this is a good book to pick up. But for those of a more math-oriented disposition looking for something with immense detail and depth, you may want to look elsehwere. This one covers the basics, and covers them well.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Suffer the frustration of Leonardo. 10 Feb. 2000
By Michael Tellinger - Published on
In reading this amazing journey through space and time, being shown the possibilities of science and physics, one is reminded of how Leonardo da Vinci must have felt 500 years ago while developing his various phylosophies. Knowing it would be possible to fly heavier-than-air machines and so on... but not being able to actually develop such machines himself. John Gribbin delivers proof which was developed by some of the finest brains in science and physics, that travelling at the speed of light and beyond is possible, and not prevented by the laws of physics. The only problem is that at the dawn of the 21st century we are not able to manufacture such machines, we can only fantasize about such an event and dare to guess when we will be able to build such machines.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, readable book 6 Nov. 2001
By bookster - Published on
I don't know how many books have been written on the subject of black holes, but this is a great one to start with. Gribbin is a great writer--he has an excellent command of writing science in a clear way that makes you want to keep reading to see what he'll say next. I found the abstract descriptions of spacetime in the later chapters a little hard to read, but otherwise I highly recommend the book.
Another good book on black holes is Kip S. Thorne, "Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy," but that one is much denser (no pun intended) and somewhat more technical.
A Thinking Person's Book 6 May 2002
By TheHighlander - Published on
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This book really got my mind thinking of the possibilities of the future. It showed the evolution of thinking. Things that are possible now that only visionaries saw in the past.
the break down of Black Holes, White Holes, Wormholes, Space Time, Hyperspace and the ideas of warping time and space are truly interesting. The book illustrations helped to understand some of the text. This book also showed how Einstein was a generation ahead of his time. People are still proving and using his theories.
An excellent book, highly recommended for anyone interested in the universe or the posibility of time travel. The mathematical theories that prove the possibility of a time machine are interesting also. Give this a read, and decide for yourself. Is it possible? Will it be possible? Has it already been done? Fact based information is presented with no tilt toward the science fiction. A good read, even if I had to read some of it a second time to make sure I followed, Gribbin brought these theories to a level a person of average intelligence can understand as I am far from a genious.
Well written 31 July 2006
By Nina Matthews - Published on
I purchased this book at a book sale for $1 and it was well worth it. I like the style of Gribbin's writing. He basically took some heavy material and wrote it in laymen's terms, so that anyone can read it. Some of the physics is terribly out of date, the cosmological constant and the fate of the universe are the two biggest that come to mind. But I think that the book was published in the early nineties so that is forgivable.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in these topics, it was a fun physics read.
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