Understanding Time (1996)
St. Augustine wrote, "What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know. But if I want to explain it to someone, I do not know." Perhaps we should ask: Did time have a beginning? A very old question, indeed. But how can we imagine a world before time began? If we count backwards beyond the clock, beyond the calendar, three and a half billion years, we arrive at our own beginning - the dawn of life on earth.
This program narrated by Jane Curtin explores planetary orbits, circadian rhythms, time dilation, intergalactic wormholes, and other phenomena to quantify the common denominator of all that exists: time. Experts from Harvard, Columbia, and Tulane Universities; the Center for Biological Timing; and the U.S. Naval Observatory discuss timekeeping innovations, including the pendulum, marine chronometer, atomic clock, and Global Positioning System, and applications of time-related scientific and technologic advances to areas such as navigation, genetics, and space exploration. A Discovery Channel Production. (53 minutes)