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What Is Time? An Exploration Through Theater, Physics, Philosophy And Fiction

Time is an essential part of day-to-day life. Clocks and calendars let people know when to sleep, eat, and where they’re supposed to be each morning.

But time is also something much more complicated; time is an abstract concept that sits at the center of conversations about physics, philosophy and culture.

Host Frank Stasio with brothers Noah and Gabriel Harrell, founders of the Rural Academy Theater, a theater troupe that travels the state by horse and buggy and brings theater to rural audiences.

There is a transition you see happen within the group [...] the troupe starts to deal with problems in the day in a different light, that I think has something to do with the pace that we're moving at- Gabriel Harrell

He continues the conversation and unpacks philosophical and physical time puzzles with Gillian Russell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill philosophy professor, and Arlie Petters, professor of mathematics, physics, and business administration at Duke University. 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's general relativity theor; a centennial celebration will be taking place at the Physics Building at Duke University on Friday, Oct.16 at 4:30 p.m.

"Einstein came along and upset the entire applecart"- Arlie Petters

He ends the conversation talking about time travel fiction with David Wittenberg, author of “Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative” (Fordham University Press/2013).

Watch some of the time travel clips discussed in today's show:

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Episode... by Jonny_Manz

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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