But all the clocks in the city Began to whirr and chime: 'O let not Time deceive you, You cannot conquer Time. W. H. Auden It is hard to think of a subject as rich, complex, and important as time. From the practical point of view it governs and organizes our lives (most of us are after all attached to a wrist watch) or it helps us to wonderfully ?nd our way in unknown territory with the global positioning system (GPS). More generally it constitutes the heartbeat of modern technology. Time is the most precisely measured quantity, so the second de?nes the meter or the volt and yet, nobody knows for sure what it is, puzzling philosophers, artists, priests, and scientists for centuries as one of the enduring enigmas of all cultures. Indeed time is full of contrasts: taken for granted in daily life, it requires sophisticated experimental and theoretical treatments to be accurately "produced. " We are trapped in its web, and it actually kills us all, but it also constitutes the stuff we need to progress and realize our objectives. There is nothing more boring and monotonous than the tick-tock of a clock, but how many fascinating challenges have physicists met to realize that monotony: Quite a number of Nobel Prize winners have been directly motivated by them or have contributed 1 signi?cantly to time measurement.
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