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About Time

About Time

Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang

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The Big Bang is all but dead, and we do not yet know what will replace it. Our universe’s “beginning” is at an end. What does this have to do with us here on Earth? Our lives are about to be dramatically shaken again—as altered as they were with the invention of the clock, the steam engine, the railroad, the radio and the Internet.

In The End of the Beginning, Adam Frank explains how the texture of our lives changes along with our understanding of the universe’s origin. Since we awoke to self-consciousness fifty thousand years ago, our lived experience of time—from hunting and gathering to the development of agriculture to the industrial revolution to the invention of Outlook calendars—has been transformed and rebuilt many times. But the latest theories in cosmology— time with no beginning, parallel universes, eternal inflation—are about to send us in a new direction.

Time is both our grandest and most intimate conception of the universe. Many books tell the story, recounting the progress of scientific cosmology. Frank tells the story of humanity’s deepest question— when and how did everything begin?—alongside the story of how human beings have experienced time. He looks at the way our engagement with the world— our inventions, our habits and more—has allowed us to discover the nature of the universe and how those discoveries, in turn, inform our daily experience.

This astounding book will change the way we think about time and how it affects our lives.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439169612 | 
  • September 2011
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
TALKING SKY, WORKING STONE AND LIVING FIELD

From Prehistory to the Agricultural Revolution


ABRI BLANCHARD: THE DORDOGNE, FRANCE • 20,000 BCE

The shaman stands before the opening of the cave and waits. Night is falling now and the piercing cold of autumn easily penetrates her animal-hide cloak. Outside, beyond the sheltering U-shaped bay of low cliff walls, the wind has picked up. These winds originated hundreds of miles to the north at the blue-white wall of glaciers that cover much of northern Europe.1

Winter is coming and the shaman’s people will have to move soon.... see more

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