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

Host Frank Stasio takes a look at the concept of time with the founders of the Rural Academy Theatre Noah and Gabriel Harrell, philosophy professor Gillian Russell, physics professor Arlie Petters, and time travel fiction author David Wittenberg

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.

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.

He ends the conversation talking about time travel fiction withDavid 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f9MNkbTzxg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52KFUdU1jaQ

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The Rural Academy Theater is a horse-pulled theater troupe that brings theater to rural areas around North Carolina
Rural Academy Theater /
The Rural Academy Theater is a horse-pulled theater troupe that brings theater to rural areas around North Carolina
The Rural Academy Theater show blends puppetry, music, sculpting and dance .
Rural Academy Theater /
The Rural Academy Theater show blends puppetry, music, sculpting and dance .

Copyright 2015 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
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.