A Brief History of Timekeeping By Chad Orzel
- Narrated by: Mike Lenz
- Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
- Release date: 01-25-22
A Brief History of Timekeeping AudioBook Summary
Predating written language and marching on through human history, the desire for ever-better timekeeping has spurred technological innovation and sparked theories that radically reshaped our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
Chad Orzel, a physicist and best-selling author, continues his tradition of demystifying thorny scientific concepts by using the clocks and calendars central to our everyday activities as a jumping-off point to explore the science underlying the ways we keep track of our time. Ancient solstice markers depend on the basic astrophysics of our solar system; mechanical clocks owe their development to Newtonian physics; and the ultra-precise atomic timekeeping that enables GPS hinges on the predictable oddities of quantum mechanics.
Along the way, Orzel visits the delicate negotiations involved in Gregorian calendar reform, the intricate and entirely unique system employed by the Maya, and how the problem of synchronizing clocks at different locations ultimately required us to abandon the idea of time as an absolute and universal quantity. Sharp and engaging, A Brief History of Timekeeping is a story not just about the science of sundials, sandglasses, and mechanical clocks, but also the politics of calendars and time zones, the philosophy of measurement, and the nature of space and time itself.