Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 17, 2004 - Science - 389 pages
10 Reviews

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

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.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
5
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time

User Review  - Ralph Lavelle - Goodreads

About 50 pages too long, but worth it for the chapter "The Electric Worldmap" alone. Over-verbose, as if the author is constantly entertained by his own writing style, you know that kind of book. Read full review

Review: Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time

User Review  - Max - Goodreads

A revealing picture of why the young seem to come out with the great new ideas. Contrasting a young Einstein to an established Poincare, Galison shows how the accumulated knowledge of the latter kept ... Read full review

Contents

II
13
III
14
IV
26
V
41
VI
48
VII
54
VIII
62
IX
76
XVIII
174
XIX
191
XX
198
XXI
211
XXII
221
XXIII
227
XXIV
243
XXV
263

X
84
XI
98
XII
107
XIII
113
XIV
128
XV
144
XVI
156
XVII
162
XXVI
271
XXVII
294
XXVIII
303
XXIX
322
XXX
329
XXXI
355
XXXII
371
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2004)

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.

Bibliographic information