PUP acquires world rights to Jim Al-Khalili’s An Exploration of Time

Princeton University Press (PUP) has acquired world rights, including audio, to BBC host and New York Times bestselling author Jim Al-Khalili’s An Exploration of Time. Ingrid Gnerlich, Science Publisher, handled the deal with Patrick Walsh of PEW Literary Agency Ltd.

An Exploration of Time will be the outcome of a major international research project, The Arrow of Time, led by Al-Khalili in collaboration with leading theoretical physicists and philosophers of physics.

All living creatures are powerless to resist time’s flow. We can neither hold on to the present moment nor go back in time to the past. Indeed, we tend to make the mistake of thinking that we are always facing forward, looking to the future, when in fact we have our backs turned toward the direction of travel, not seeing what lies ahead of us, instead watching the past recede into the distance.

Questions about the nature of time are some of the most enduring. Yet despite our ever-deepening understanding of the physical universe, we have yet to reach a consensus on the nature of time: Does it really flow like a river, carrying us along, or does it flow past us? Or can we think of time itself as static while our consciousness moves through it? And why does it point toward the future and not to the past? Is the arrow of time baked into the structure of the universe, or is that just a trick of our senses? Is time merely an illusion?

In An Exploration of Time, Al-Khalili tackles all these questions, and many more, employing a cutting-edge understanding of the laws of physics to take readers on a richly told journey, with chapters framed around big questions surrounding the nature and behavior of time.

A man in a blazer

Al-Khalili explains, “Some of the answers I will share are widely accepted by scientists and philosophers, while others will elicit heated debate. The result will forever change the way you think about the passage of time and your place within it.”

Ingrid Gnerlich, science publisher, notes: “What is time, really? For those of us with a hunger for the profound, this question—the subject of Jim’s forthcoming book—is irresistible. An Exploration of Time promises to be a fascinating feast for the mind, made all the more delicious by the warm and inviting style of presentation for which Jim is so rightly renowned. What more could one ask for? I only wish that I could read it right now— or better yet, yesterday!”

Patrick Walsh, literary agent at PEW Literary, says: “This is an exciting time for Jim al-Khalili. Not only are the 300 episodes of Jim al-Khalili’s BBC Radio “The Life Scientific” series soon to be available worldwide, but Jim’s huge new book on time is ambitious in a way that so few books are these days. It’ll change everyone’s sense of their role in the world.”

An Exploration of Time is slated to publish in 2025.

About Jim Al-Khalili

Jim Al-Khalili CBE is a British theoretical physicist, science communicator, New York Times bestselling author, and broadcaster. As an academic, he is a fellow of the Royal Society and holds a Distinguished Chair in Physics at the University of Surrey where he conducts his research in quantum physics. He is the host of the hugely popular BBC program and podcast “The Life Scientific” and has presented numerous television documentaries, including the BAFTA-nominated “Chemistry: A Volatile History,” as well as “Everything and Nothing: The Amazing Science of Empty Space” and “The Amazing World of Gravity.” Most recently you can see him in the 2022 mockumentary “Cunk on Earth.” 

Al-Khalili is the author of numerous popular science books, including Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology and most recently, with Princeton University Press, The World According to Physics, “an ode to joy in science” (Financial Times), and The Joy of Science. He is the past president of the British Science Association and recipient of the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication, among many other honors. You can follow him on X (Twitter) here and watch his TED talk here.