Time and Age

Time and Age

Time Machines, Relativity and Fossils

Michael Mark Woolfson


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Time and Age explores how time is defined by man. It follows the development of our means for measuring time from early methods using the flow of water or the steady burning of candles through to the atomic clock that records time with incredible precision.

The classical idea of time as something that progresses at a uniform rate and as something that is the same to all observers was overturned by Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The conclusions coming from this theory are described, including the anti-intuitive twin paradox where one twin, returning from a journey to a distant star, is younger than his twin brother.

Also covered is how age can be determined in a wide range of situations, such as how we work out the age of the Universe to how we calculate the age of artefacts that are just a few centuries old.

  • Introduction
  • The Measurement of Time:
    • Astronomical Time
    • Early Recording of Time
    • Mechanical Clocks
    • Modern Timekeeping
  • Time and Relativity:
    • Time and Space
  • The Ages of Astronomical Entities:
    • The Age of the Universe
    • The Ages of Globular Clusters and Young Stars
    • The Age of the Solar System
  • Ages on Earth:
    • The Age of the Continents
    • The Ages of Fossils
    • The History of Life on Earth
    • The Ages of Archaeological Remains

Readership: Readers who are interested in the science of time, archaeology and paleontology.
Key Features:
  • There are a number of books on time but usually dealing with specific aspects — its measurement, psychological aspects or relativistic treatments. This book is unique in the range of material it covers
  • The material is presented in a way that is accessible to a wide range of readers. Mathematical treatments of some material is present, such as when dealing with dating using radioactivity, but for non-specialists the essential outcome of the mathematics is described verbally
  • The material is presented in the form of an historical narrative so that the development of ideas is presented. Thus there is a steady progression of the techniques of measuring time, from measuring the outflow of water from a container to the most advanced atomic clocks