Where did time come from? How did it start?
I don't mean cosmic time in a "Big Bang" kind of way. No, I mean something far more intimate.
A couple of years ago I wrote a whole book on this subject called About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang. What intrigued me most as I did my research for the book was the way different societies and historical periods shaped the lives of their citizens through what I called different cultural "time-logics." More than anything else, it's technology that determines how a culture could parse the day into a new time-logic.
The most potent example of this connection between time, technology and experience was the invention of the mechanical clock. I could explain more, but, luckily, Adam Westbrook has done me one better by embracing the idea through a short, sharp documentary cleverly called A Briefer History of Time.
It's only 3 minutes and 56 seconds long — and by the end you'll understand why those two numbers not only mean something to you, but also how that meaning controls your life.
Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described "evangelist of science." You can keep up with more of what Adam is thinking on Facebook and Twitter: @adamfrank4.