Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time (Paperback)
"Beautifully written, eloquently reasoned…Mr. Buonomano takes us off and running on an edifying scientific journey." —Carol Tavris, Wall Street Journal
In Your Brain Is a Time Machine, leading neuroscientist Dean Buonomano embarks on an "immensely engaging" exploration of how time works inside the brain (Barbara Kiser, Nature). The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time, but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological movement and enables "mental time travel"—simulations of future and past events. These functions are essential not only to our daily lives but to the evolution of the human race: without the ability to anticipate the future, mankind would never have crafted tools or invented agriculture. This virtuosic work of popular science will lead you to a revelation as strange as it is true: your brain is, at its core, a time machine.
About the Author
Dean Buonomano is a professor of neurobiology and psychology at UCLA and a leading theorist on the neuroscience of time. His previous book, Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
[Buonomano] lays out the latest, best theories about how we understand time, illuminating a fundamental aspect of being human.
— Thomas MacMillan - New York
Buonomano lays out a wealth of complex concepts in an entertaining, digestible way.… [This] book will make you question your own perceptions and marvel at the fact that your brain is probably ‘the best time machine you will ever own.’
— Diana Kwon - Scientific American
The beauty of this book is Buonomano’s seamless leap from the fields of biology and psychology into the world of physics. Never appearing out of his depth, he grapples with the subject’s most infuriating question: what is time?
— Jonathan Blott - Lancet Neurology
Buonomano’s ambition is inspiring and his writing is rich.… [Your Brain Is a Time Machine] hits the ambitious target of being both thorough and accessible.
— Georgina Edwards - Chemistry World
Full of delicious details.… Reading Buonomano’s book, it’s hard not to marvel at how time and timekeeping pervade our existence.
— Anil Ananthaswamy - New Scientist
Beautifully written, eloquently reasoned.… With lucidity and flair—not to mention an appealing avoidance of the reductionism and exaggeration to which many pop-neuroscientists are prone—Mr. Buonomano takes us off and running on an edifying scientific journey.
— Carol Tavris - Wall Street Journal
Why does time seem to flow from moment to moment? It’s a mystery because physics tells a different story: time simply is, a passive label on different parts of the universe. Dean Buonomano cooks a rich stew of ideas, from philosophy to neuroscience, to help understand this question, and thereby paint a clearer picture of our place in the physical world.
— Sean Carroll, author of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
Dean Buonomano has a light touch and a sure hand in addressing complex scientific issues. Your Brain Is a Time Machine is filled with vivid examples of how time weaves its web in the physical world and in our brains. Even though the brain is a crude timekeeper compared to an atomic clock, its projection of cumulative experience into models of the future is a profound human capability. Buonomano is equally adept in describing the thermodynamic arrow of time and the basis of temporal reasoning in neuron circuits. Intriguingly, he argues that our conscious construct of time may shape physical theories of time. The book is a pleasure for anyone interested in the deepest questions about how the brain and the universe work.
— Chris Impey, astronomer and author, University of Arizona