The story of physicists' quest to answer a mind-boggling question: How can we travel through time?
Since H. G. Wells' 1895 classic The Time Machine
, readers of science fiction have puzzled over the paradoxes of time travel. What would happen if a time traveler tried to change history? Would some force or law of nature prevent him? Or would his action produce a "new" history, branching away from the original?
In the last decade of the twentieth century a group of theoretical physicists at the California Institute of Technology undertook a serious investigation of the possibility of pastward time travel, inspiring a serious and sustained study that engaged more than thirty physicists working at universities and institutes around the world.
Many of the figures involved are familiar: Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne; others are names known mostly to physicists. These are the new time travelers, and this is the story of their work--a profoundly human endeavor marked by advances, retreats, and no small share of surprises. It is a fantastic journey to the frontiers of physics. 15 illustrations