SHiPS Resource Center ||   BOOK BRIEF

reviewed: 3/97 Einstein's Dreams. Alan Lightman. Warner Books (1994). ISBN 0-446-67011-1. $7.99.

This tiny pocket volume offers a nice complement to Clark's more ambitious work described above. Lightman has imaginatively reconstructed the hypothetical reflections of a modest Swiss patent clerk on the nature of space and time--a series of reveries, each casting time in a slightly different role. Can time flow backwards, with children growing smaller, eventually being absorbed by their mother? What if time was viscous and was affected by gravity? --Would people living in a valley town experience time at a different rate than their neighbors on the hill? Each dream is just enough to convey the germ of an idea. And from the gentle collection of seeds planted in the fertile mind, one begins to appreciate the vast possibilities in a philosophy of time and space. This book invites students to enjoy the kind of pleasant speculation that undoubtedly engaged the historical Einstein and led him ultimately to his revolutionary notions.

--Douglas Allchin

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