Home Authors Books Subjects Events Software Features Links Newsletter Gifts Blog Forum What's New
Review - How to Build a Time Machine [Build Your Own Time Machine] - Brian Clegg
If you remember James Burke ('Good evening. [thoughtful pause; turn from one camera to another; raise an eyebrow] Or is it?'), you're going to love How to Build a Time Machine!
James Burke is one of my heroes: the BBC's moon-shot programmes, The Burke Special, The End of the Beginning, Tomorrow’s World, etc. However, it was his Connections programme that really got me. The way that one idea seeded some inkling of another – a tantalising Connection. It was a master-class in how to sneak up on a subject and then to hook the audience with a single line. Brian Clegg is surely cast from the same mould; he's our contemporary JB.
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?' moment, and one cannot but take the bait and turn the page.
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 and 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 inimitable 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. I'm sure I'll go back and re-read it. If only I had the time – or a time machine perhaps?
Review by Peet Morris
Please note, this title is written by the editor of the Popular Science website. Our review is still an honest opinion - and we could hardly omit the book - but do want to make the connection clear.
This site has no connection with Popular Science magazine or other sites and publications with a similar name.
Much of the content of this site is written by popular science writers or friends of popular science writers. Inevitably many of the reviews in such a small community are written by or about someone we know. We always aim to be impartial in our reviews, but there is a connection which we need make clear, as there is no intention to deceive. The content of any review or article is solely the opinion of the author and should not be read or understood on any other basis. The site exists to promote popular science writing and popular science authors and for this reason should be considered promotional material, just as the editorial reviews in an online bookshop or the blurb on the back of a book should be considered promotional.
The website should not be eaten or used where it can come into contact with water.
Disagree with our review? Want to write your own review or comment on a feature? Drop in to the Popular Science forum and have your say!
Part of the site
Copyright © Creativity
Last update 16 April 2011