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Nobel Laureate Gerard 't Hooft publishes new popular science book on time

World Scientific


IMAGE: This richly illustrated book describes the enormous diversity of natural phenomena that take place at different timescales. view more

Credit: World Scientific Publishing, 2014

"Time is of the essence" is an oft-repeated phrase, quips Nobel laureate Professor Gerard 't Hooft, "the world is filled with different natural phenomena which occur across varying time-spans".

In this new book "Time In Powers of Ten: Natural Phenomena and Their Timescales" published by World Scientific, both Hooft and his co-author, theoretical physicist Professor Stefan Vandoren, begin with the familiar unit of one second and tracks unique observations that fall within this unit before increasing its scale by differing factors of 10.

In one of the chapters within, they track the life cycle of a star, and note that the lifespan of a star depends partly on its mass: the larger the mass, the larger the inward pressure and higher the temperature. While the sun will live for about 10 billion years, smaller and lighter stars have very long life, in the order of 1,000 billion years.

The book also reverses the process, jumping to the smallest units of time to the natural phenomenon that are completed in the fastest possible times. The authors note that the fastest oscilloscopes are able to observe electric vibrations of timescales of just dozens of picoseconds. Many technologies like fibre-optics and chip technology also operate at this level.

"This book is a must-read for everyone, to help us appreciate the value of time," said Professor Vandoren.

The book retails at major bookstores at US$78/ £51 (hardcover) and US$24/ £16 (pbk). More information about the book can be found at:


About the authors

Gerard 't Hooft is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He has taught at Harvard, SLAC, and Caltech. Other distinguished honors include being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, Dannie Heineman Prize, Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Chicago, Wolf Prize of the State of Israel, Pius XI Medal (Vatican), and Lorentz Medal (KNAW, Amsterdam).

Professor Stefan Vandoren currently teaches theoretical physics at Utrecht University. Winner of the 2008 Descartes-Huygens Prize, his current research focuses on superstring theory, supergravity and quantum field theory.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. The company publishes about 500 books annually and more than 120 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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