Time is of philosophical interest as well as the subject of
mathematical and scientific research. Even though it is a concept
familiar to most, the passage of time remains one of the greatest
enigmas of the universe. The philosopher Augustine once said: "What
then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to
explain it to him who asks me, I do not know."
The concept of time indeed
cannot be explained in simple terms. Emotions, life, and death - all
are related to our interpretation of the irreversible flow of time.
After a discussion of the concept of time, we will review historical
attempts to "stop time," i.e., to capture events of very short
duration and then present an overview of current research into
ultrafast processes using short laser pulses.