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Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps


Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A dramatic new account of the parallel quests to harness time that culminated in the revolutionary science of relativity, Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps is "part history, part science, part adventure, part biography, part meditation on the meaning of modernity....In Galison's telling of science, the meters and wires and epoxy and solder come alive as characters, along with physicists, engineers, technicians and others....Galison has unearthed fascinating material" (New York Times).

Clocks and trains, telegraphs and colonial conquest: the challenges of the late nineteenth century were an indispensable real-world background to the enormous theoretical breakthrough of relativity. And two giants at the foundations of modern science were converging, step-by-step, on the answer: Albert Einstein, an young, obscure German physicist experimenting with measuring time using telegraph networks and with the coordination of clocks at train stations; and the renowned mathematician Henri Poincaré, president of the French Bureau of Longitude, mapping time coordinates across continents. Each found that to understand the newly global world, he had to determine whether there existed a pure time in which simultaneity was absolute or whether time was relative.

Esteemed historian of science Peter Galison has culled new information from rarely seen photographs, forgotten patents, and unexplored archives to tell the fascinating story of two scientists whose concrete, professional preoccupations engaged them in a silent race toward a theory that would conquer the empire of time.

Book News Annotation:

At the beginning of the 20th century, just as industry and government were anticipating the immanent coordination of time around the globe, says Galison (history of science and of physics, Harvard U.), the notion of time and the ability to coordinate two clocks at a distance, were being demolished in the nexus of physics, technology, and philosophy. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


"More than a history of science; it is a tour de force in the genre."--New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Peter Galison is Mallinckrodt Professor for the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. He is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Max Planck Prize, as well as the Pfizer Prize for the Best Book in the History of Science for Image and Logic.

Table of Contents

Synchrony — Coal, chaos — The electric worldmap — Poincarâe's maps — Einstein's clocks — The place of time.

Product Details

Empires of Time
Galison, Peter Louis
Galison, Peter
W. W. Norton & Company
New York
Relativity (physics)
History of Science-General
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
40 b/w illustrations
8.6 x 5.8 x 1.4 in 1.255 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Science
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General History and Philosophy
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Relativity Theory

Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393020014 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "More than a history of science; it is a tour de force in the genre."--New York Times Book Review
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