The Physics of Time

Richard A. Muller (Author, University of California, Berkeley)

Overview | Formats

From the celebrated author of the best-selling Physics for Future Presidents comes “a provocative, strongly argued book on the fundamental nature of time” (Lee Smolin).

You are reading the word “now” right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment “now” so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of “now.” Equally puzzling: why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand, and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it.

In Now, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out—with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful—a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the Big Bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward.

Muller’s monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe, and may crack one of physics’s longest-standing enigmas.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35481-2
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 368 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverNow: The Physics of Time


Endorsements & Reviews

“Mind-blowing ideas demand to be shared.…[Muller] posits a theory that seems at once plausible and—surprisingly, for a book with equations—one worth not spoiling.” — Time

“Richard Muller is a leading physicist, but he’s also intellectually restless. That’s a potent combination, with the power to generate transformative ideas about ourselves and our relationship to the universe. In Now: The Physics of Time, Muller hypothesizes how time itself might be created or destroyed. Maybe it’s right. Maybe it’s wrong. But along the way he’s given you a master class in what time is and how and why we perceive it the way we do.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

“Muller has taken a remarkably fresh and exciting approach to the analysis of time. With his usual clarity and wit, he proceeds from solidly established principles—each a fascinating story in its own right—but when he gets to the meaning of the flow of time and now, he forges a new path. I expect controversy!” — Saul Perlmutter, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics

“Can science shed light on time’s dark mysteries? Richard Muller thinks it can, making his case in this clear, evocative, and wide-reaching investigation of how nature may generate the flow of time. Must-reading for all concerned with the why behind when.” — Timothy Ferris, author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way

“A provocative, strongly argued book on the fundamental nature of time. As an experimental cosmologist who has initiated some of the most important experiments of our time, Muller knows well where the limits of science are, and he keeps us interested by his ability to work close to that edge.” — Lee Smolin, author of Time Reborn

“The strength of this book lies in Muller’s experience as a lecturer and teacher, which has enabled him to describe and explain difficult concepts with simplicity.… [Now] provides a concise master class in understanding the essentials of physics.” — Science

“Time spent with Muller will transform readers' understanding of time itself.…A mind-expanding venture to the frontiers of science—and beyond!” — Booklist (starred review)

“The kind of mind-expanding read that will give you something to think about late at night. Muller's passion for his topic shines through on every page.” — The Independent

Also by Richard A. Muller All

  1. Book CoverEnergy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines


  2. Book CoverThe Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide


  3. Book CoverPhysics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines


All Subjects