‘About Time’: Interview with NPR’s Adam Frank

Twice a year, we all get whacked out with the shift of an hour as the springing forward and falling back brings daylight saving time gives you a low-grade dose of jetlag. As you adjust to this new pre-equinox springtime change (legislated by Congress), consider that it hasn’t always been this way. For a great treatise on this subject, check out NPR Cosmos and Culture blogger and astrophysicist Adam Frank‘s book, “About Time.”

Frank paid a visit to Southern California recently to talk at the Griffith Observatory. You can see why students at the University of Rochester find him accessible; he looks like an Echo Park hipster, but with a phD instead of a screenplay. “About Time” is great food for thought during this week while we adjust. It’s a reminder that we haven’t always had clocks and that we used to be guided by sheer nature. Sun up, rise; sun down, sleep. And for a far longer time than most of us could imagine now. (Did you know that humans had two periods of sleep a night?)Bells then became the time keeper in a city, calling various professions to order. It was only when railroads linked communities that time needed to be calibrated. Lights made it possible for us to accomplish anything after dark, and therefore created second (and third) shifts of work. As well as a whole new attitude toward time; we were beginning to feel the power of controlling it. I talked to Frank at KCRW, listen below: