A novel by Michael Crichton written in 1999. It's one that has been turned into a video game, and has been a bestseller.

Essentially, a private company developed a form of time travel that used quantum mechanics and, get this, is theoretically possible IRL , which is the premise of all his novels. It explains from scratch the idea of multiple universes and some high school physics.

The other half of the novel revolves around an expedition to the Middle Ages.

I don't wish to spoil any more than the back cover reveals, but it's a good read, no science background required.


Eh....why don't I explain some of the Physics found in the book. I'm not really spoiling anything, as the scientist explains it before the team journeys to the past. Okay, I'm sure you've seen enough Sci-fi or The One to know the current theory that there are multiple parallel universes out there, almost identical to ours. In this universe, you flipped a coin in 3rd grade and you got heads. In another parallel universe, you got tails. You could call this the "heads" universe, while the "other" universe is the "tails" one. There is no way to go to the "tails" universe from here, you're trapped into the "heads" universe, where the multiverse forked in the path, and you took the road on the left. Ehh..well you could if you went back in time and went with the tails, like backing up a car and taking the fork again.

Here's something people don't usually consider. Who says these parallel universes operate at the same time? For all we know, another universe took a million more years to make the Earth form, or DNA to replicate, or something. So the adjacent universe could be moving slower.

Now how to get accross to this universe? Well, there's something called Quantum Foam. Lovely mac desktop wallpaper. But it's also part of the Superstring Theory. Basically, if you go deep into the subatomic level of an atom, there are millions of black holes, which connect to other universes. Picture it as the Sea of Holes from Yellow Submarine.

Now with these holes, it's tough to send a person through one. It's about as difficult as sending a piece of paper through a telephone line. But you can be clever and send a fax. How can you do that with a person? Simple, a full-body MRI scan, fed into a lossless compression, meaning better than a jpg or mp3 as you are compressed, or rather data on your molecular structure is, and nothing is lost. How do you compress so much data? Exabytes of information for just one piece of skin? Simple, a Quantum Computer.

So, you step into a MRI-like cage. It scans your body as you hold still, feeds the data into the quantum computer, and...vaporizes you. Don't worry, they "fax" your info to the other universe, where you are reassembled, like beaming on Star Trek.

Well, what's on the other end to put you together? Well...nothing, but you should be reconstructed, as in another universe, they have the technology to reconstruct, but not to deconstruct. So you fax yourself over, the first step, and the other universe does the other step. Weird, but you need to know the double-slit experiment and quantum physics.

Michael Crichton's Timeline

Have you ever wanted to travel through time? Perhaps you've had the urge to joust a medieval knight? Have you ever wanted to read a solid, yet derivative adventure novel? Well now you can!

Michael Crichton's bestseller, Timeline, is about the adventures of a group of graduate students in fourteenth century France, who are on a quest to rescue their lost history professor from the medieval time period. The characters' excursion into the fourteenth century is spent trying to fit into a vastly different culture, one much more dangerous than our own. All of this temporal mayhem is made possible by a mysterious corporation, and their time machine.

Timeline did have its low points. Character development was kind of cheesy, and made up mostly of a useless romance between two characters that really only served to make the book longer. Several of the plot twists could be seen coming a mile away, and seemed rather trite. The description given of the theory behind time travel is a bit complex (it involves some quantum physics), and may turn some readers off. Fortunately, comprehension is not required to understand the rest of the book. For some reason, Timeline wasn't quite as compelling as Crichton's previous books.

Timeline is essentially a rehash of Jurassic Park. The heroes are trapped in fourteenth century France inhabited by bloodthirsty knights, rather than an island inhabited by dinosaurs. The mysterious corporation wants to make a theme park out of sending people back in time, rather than showing them dinosaurs. The characters get a canned speech about quantum physics, rather than one about DNA. The similarities go on.

Despite it's shortcomings, Timeline is an adventure that's bound to appeal to you in some way or another. There is excitement, battle, intrigue, humor, and most importantly, quantum physics. It might not be your favorite book ever, but it's worth a read. Don't go out and buy the hard cover though, wait for the paperback, or check it out from the local library.

A timeline is a simple chronological listing of events. Timelines are frequently used for the following purposes:

A common example of an everyday timeline would be the television schedule familiar to couch potatoes throughout the developed world.

Philosophical Aspects

Linear time is a norm of the modern occidental mindset canonised by Newton over three hundred years ago leading to the development of a paradigm in which the progression of time is an objective fact and that events occur in a continuous and objective order. This can be compared to an observer in a room watching a continuous conveyer belt upon which is placed at regular intervals boxes representing moments of time. A timeline is therefore an inventory of the contents of each box, by necessity restricted to a specific interest, field and period.

So what the heck does that mean in English?

To cut a long story short, if you buy into the linear time idea, as most of us do, stuff happens in order. Your day might go like this:

  • 6:30am: Wake Up, hit alarm clock
  • 6:45am: Wake Up, throw alarm clock at wall
  • 7:10am: Wake Up, scream- rush to work half dressed
  • 9:10am: Arrive at work late
  • 12:30pm-1:00pm: Have lunch
  • 1:30pm: Get called into office and told to be on time in future
  • 5:00pm: Go home, buy new alarm clock on way

If that was your day, then that is what happened. Those events occurred in that order at those times. No matter how much you might desire time to be a different length, or events to occur in a different order they simply don't and haven't. Time simply is there, it happens. If you are asleep, awake busy or bored you know that time is still passing at the same steady rate measured into recordable chunks by clocks around the world.

Which brings us to the wonder that is the timeline, the ultimate expression of humanity's desire to map out everything. Not satisfied with charting the ocean blue, the continents, the moon and the stars above; humanity reaches for another dimension- time itself. Just as a map reveals features in space, a timeline lists actions or events as they occured in time. The example above is a simple timeline of an average day, a small scale map of one person's day. This is but the tip of the iceberg my friends, today a workshift, tomorrow eternity! (Insert mad laughter)

Practical Uses

Timelines can be very useful, by setting out a simple list of events in the past we can spot patterns, see connections and correlations. By designing timelines of our future plans we can judge practicalities, co-ordinate our actions and publicise events. TV schedules are one such most widely available timeline, but they are everywhere. Catching a train or a bus would be considerably more difficult without the use of a timetable, which is essentially a collection of timelines.

For lovers of fiction there is of course a third subject for timelines, that of imaginary events. Fictional timelines can be of use both to the artist and the consumer. For writers of fiction a timeline can provide consistency, a central plot and help avoid continuity errors which can destroy suspension of disbelief. For the consumer a timeline can provide an added level of understanding to a work of fiction. Is there a fan anywhere who had not scoured a timeline of their favourite comic, TV show or novels. Again these allow a fan to see the big picture, spot patterns and see different aspects to a work that they may be already familiar with yet never the less will often benefit from the transfer to a different medium.

Timelines on Everything 2

This listing can not be comprehensive, if there are other timelines that you feel should be listed here please /msg me.

Historical

  • 20th Century History
  • A short timeline of Kay and Engelhardt upright basses (1894-1969)
  • 21st Century History
  • Fictional

    Timeline is the title of a sound installation by the artist Susan Philipsz which took place in Edinburgh, Scotland, from the Second of August, 2012 to the Second of September, 2012. A brief descending choral exultation occurred at 1 pm every day emitting from speakers set at points from Edinburgh Castle to Calton Hill, aurally marking the amount of time the sound of a cannon shooting at the castle travels between those two points.

    The cannon, known as The One O'clock Gun, fires at this time six days a week, skipping Sundays and a couple holidays, and has been doing so for over 150 years to note time for ships unable to see the time ball installed at Calton Hill. Nowadays, of course, this is just a tradition, there being easier and more accurate ways for ships to know the time, and mainly serves as a way to differentiate between the tourists and the residents by who reacts to it. Yet if this tradition stopped, it would be severely noticed and seem like a breakdown in society, as if this daily (except kipping in day) event pins the city down, keeping the old town old, the castle its symbol of security, the clocks on church and hotel buildings honest, and the ships anchored.

    During its time in existence, I 'watched' the installation once, taking a bus from the other side of town to the Old Calton Cemetery. I stood by the remains of David Hume, and next to a memorial to those fallen in the American Civil War (the only one outside of the United States, and sporting a statue of Lincoln standing above what could now seem a dodgy statue of a supplicating freed slave) and checked the time along with two other suits who'd also arrived. I looked up to Nelson's Monument up on the Hill, which has the appearance of an ancient lighthouse and has a time ball installed. It was one of those almost raining days we often get here in the spring with raindrops spitting down and stopping so that you don't know whether to open an umbrella or not. I could see the speakers the sound would come from, set up on the pseudo-castle crenelated Governor's House. They were in the shape of siren speakers, an obvious homage to its inventor, the physicist John Robison, whose original use was as a musical instrument for pipe organs.

    Suddenly, a shot rang out. The ball dropped, and in between was the sound of a lowering 'ah', almost like a sample from Queen's Flash Gordon. And that was that. The two suits and I smiled briefly, said 'Well...' adjusted our hats or ruffled our umbrellas, and headed back to work.

    A short simple siren call that echoed back in history, Philipsz' work gave me a small bit of pleasure, exactly as it should have. It reverberated throughout the month, while I stopped at other art installed in the city during its mad Festival month, finding other works with links to other parts of the city, a sort of psycho-geography forming.

    The next time I heard the One O'clock Gun I checked the time on my phone and nodded, as if all was well.

    More on this work, including a video, here

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