Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation

Author(s): Alan Burdick


For more than two thousand years the world's great minds have argued about the true essence of time. Is it finite or infinite? Is it continuous or discrete? Does it flow like a river or is it granular, proceeding in small bits like sand trickling through an hourglass? And most immediately, what is the present? What is time, exactly? Why does it seem to slow down when we're bored and speed by as we get older? How and why does time fly? In this witty and meditative exploration, Alan Burdick takes readers on a personal quest to understand how and why we perceive time the way we do. He visits the most accurate clock in the world (which exists only on paper); discovers that 'now' actually happened a split-second ago; finds a twenty-fifth hour in the day; lives in the Arctic to lose all sense of time; and, for one fleeting moment in a neuroscientist's lab, even makes time go backwards. Why Time Flies is a vivid and intimate examination of the clocks that tick inside us all.


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'An insightful meditation on the curious nature of time....A highly illuminating intellectual investigation.' * Kirkus Reviews * `[Why Time Flies] opens up a well of fascinating queries and gives us a glimpse of what has become an ever more deepening mystery for humans: the nature of time.' * New York Times Book Review * `Alan Burdick turns an obsession with the nature of time into a thrilling quest-one that brilliantly illuminates a subject that haunts us all. Time may fly by but at least while reading these pages it is never wasted.' * David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z * `Alan Burdick offers a fascinating and searching account of how we perceive time's passage. It will change the way you think about the past, and also the present.' * Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction * `In his lucid, thoughtful, and beautifully written inquiry about time...Burdick offers nothing less than a new way of reconsidering what it means to be human.' * Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life *

Alan Burdick is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a frequent contributor to its science-and-tech blog. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, GQ, Discover, Best American Science and Nature Writing.

General Fields

  • : 9781925603064
  • : Text Publishing Co
  • : The Text Publishing Company
  • : 0.415
  • : September 2017
  • : October 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Alan Burdick
  • : Paperback
  • : 1710
  • : English
  • : 224