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About Time

From Sun Dials to Quantum Clocks, How the Cosmos Shapes our Lives - And We Shape the Cosmos


From Stonehenge to beyond the Big Bang, an exhilarating scientific exploration of how we make time

From a Palaeolithic farmer living by the sun and stone plinths to the factory worker logging into an industrial punch clock to the modern manager enslaved to Outlook's 15-minute increments, our relationship with time has constantly evolved alongside our scientific understanding of the universe. And the latest advances in physics - string-theory branes, multiverses, "clockless" physics - are positioned to completely rewrite time in the coming years. Weaving cosmology with day-to-day chronicles and a lively wit, astrophysicist Adam Frank tells the dazzling story of humanity's invention of time and how we will experience it in the future.

Adam Frank is Assistant Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Rochester in New York. The recipient of a prestigious Hubble Fellowship, he writes frequently for Discover, Astronomy, and Scientific American magazines. He is also a co-founder of NPR's topranking science and culture blog, 13.7 (

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 1, 2012)
  • Length: 432 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780740607

"Beyond exploring mind-bending theories… Frank's book is a fascinating and comprehensive survey of how technology — from farming to railways to telegraphy to the internet — has changed our everyday concept of time… Compelling." Marcus Chown

– New Scientist

“A phenomenal blend of science and cultural history.” Starred review.

– Kirkus Reviews

"This will fascinate anyone curious about the nexus of astronomy and history and, of course, time. Recommended."

– Library Journal


– Nature

“Frank is excellent at showing how our ideas of human and cosmic time have evolved hand in hand … Fascinating and compelling.”

– Marcus Chown - New Scientist

“A rich and inspiring tour through some of the biggest ideas that have ever been thought.”

– Sean Carroll