The Clock Mirage:
Our Myth of Measured Time
(Release date: April 21, 2020)
What is time? This question has fascinated philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists for thousands of years. Why does time seem to speed up with age? What is its connection with memory, anticipation, and sleep cycles?
The Clock Mirage provides an engaging exploration of how the understanding of time has evolved throughout human history and offers a compelling new vision, submitting that time lives within us. Our cells, he notes, have a temporal awareness, guided by environmental cues in sync with patterns of social interaction. Readers learn that, as a consequence of time's personal nature, a forty-eight-hour journey on the Space Shuttle can feel shorter than a six-hour trip on the Soyuz capsule, that the Amondawa of the Amazon do not have ages, and that time speeds up with fever and slows down when we feel in danger.
With a narrative punctuated by personal stories of time's effects on truck drivers, Olympic racers, prisoners, and clockmakers. The journey is filled with fascinating insights into how our technologies, our bodies, and our attitudes can change our perceptions. Ultimately, time reveals itself as something that rides on the rhythms of our minds. The Clock Mirage presents an innovative perspective that will force us to rethink our relationship with time, and how best to use it.
"A thought-provoking voyage." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"It's the perfect moment, then, for Joseph Mazur's new book, The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time. In a work as comfortable with physics as with psychology, Mazur reviews our species' long engagement with days, hours, and seconds, as well as modern discoveries about the body's internal clock." —Psychology Today
"Mazur opens an intellectual Pandora's Box and marvels fly out. Our familiarity with time misleads us into thinking it is simple, when it is paradoxical, elusive, and counterintuitive. Highly enjoyable and informative."—Ian Stewart, author of Do Dice Play God?
"A sweeping story in search of answers to a tantalizing mystery: what is time? Mazur offers an astonishing array of ideas, interviews and exposition, exploring time from many fascinating viewpoints."—Robyn Arianrhod, author of Thomas Harriot: A Life in Science
"Before reading The Clock Mirage, I generally thought of time as concrete (Einstein notwithstanding). Mathematician Joseph Mazur invites the reader not only to examine it in its myriad abstractions, but also to see it anew with various individuals regarding their own perceptions. He has an uncanny ability to engage both a scientific and lay audience through an intertwining of math with tender considerations of humanity, affectingly guiding us to consider our own mortality: the clock winding down within each of us."—Kia Corthron, playwright and author of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, winner of the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
"A journey of discovery in which Mazur, wise in the ways of the wild, invites us to see the edges of the known. This powerful investigation combines formidable research, mathematical expertise, and profound contemplations."
—William Goldbloom Bloch, author of The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel
"An expansive meditation on the meanings of time. As masterful teacher and earnest fellow traveler, Mazur leads us with heartfelt compassion, philosophical musings, and clear mathematical explanations, to find ourselves at the heart of it all."—Gizem Karaali, Editor of Journal of Humanistic Mathematics