For most of history, people trusted mythology or religion to provide an answer to the pressing question of the earth's age, even though nature abounds with clues. In "A Natural History of Time", geophysicist Pascal Richet tells the fascinating story of how scientists and philosophers examined those clues and from them built a chronological scale that has made it possible to reconstruct the history of nature itself. The quest for time is a story of ingenuity and determination, and like a geologist, Pascal Richet carefully peels back the strata of that history, giving us a chance to marvel at each layer and truly appreciate how far our knowledge - and our planet - have come.
Pascal Richet is professor of geophysics at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. He is the author of, among other books, The Physical Basis of Thermodynamics. John Venerella is the translator of A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics, also published by the University of Chicago Press.