Philosophical Society of Washington

The Nature of Time in Physics and Human Experience

Robert A. Nelson
President, Satellite Engineering Research Corporation

2107th Meeting Abstract
Friday, October 01, 1999 at 8:15 PM


The physical and philosophical aspects of time are discussed and compared. The characteristics of scientific theories and physical laws are examined and illustrated by the concept of time. The operational significance of time in physics as interpreted by the Newtonian theory of gravitation and the general theory of relativity is discussed. This theoretical aspect of time is compared to its role in human experience, including the physical, biological, and social origins of time awareness.

About the Author:

Robert A. Nelson is president of Satellite Engineering Research Corporation, an engineering consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland. He holds the degree of Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland. He is co-author of the textbook Satellite Communication Systems Engineering (Prentice-Hall, 1993) and is Technical Editor of Via Satellite magazine. His publications include a variety of technical papers and reports on the application of relativity to high precision time transfer systems.

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