background preloader

2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past

2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past
Physicists have a problem with time. Whether through Newton’s gravitation, Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Einstein’s special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, all the equations that best describe our universe work perfectly if time flows forward or backward. Of course the world we experience is entirely different. The universe is expanding, not contracting. Stars emit light rather than absorb it, and radioactive atoms decay rather than reassemble. Omelets don’t transform back to unbroken eggs and cigarettes never coalesce from smoke and ashes.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/2-futures-can-explain-time-s-mysterious-past/

Related:  Universe & MultiverseWhat is Time?

There Is No Time. There Never Was and There Never Will Be By: Josh Richardson, Prevent Disease Everything exists in the present moment and it’s a fundamental principle of the Universe that many of our scientists are still trying to grasp. Time does not actually exist and Quantum Theory proves it. There are things that are closer to you in time, and things that are further away, just as there are things that are near or far away in space. But the idea that time flows past you is just as absurd as the suggestion that space does. Einstein, Gödel, and Our Strange Experience of Time: Rebecca Goldstein on How Relativity Rattled the Flow of Existence by Maria Popova “Is there anything we know more intimately than the fleetingness of time, the transience of each and every moment?” “An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length,” Virginia Woolf marveled at the extraordinary elasticity of how we experience time, which modern psychologists are only beginning to fathom. Nearly a century later, Sarah Manguso — a Woolf of our own — tussled with the same perplexity in contemplating the pleasures and perils of time’s inevitable ongoingness. And yet however convincing our intuitive sense that time is a mutable abstraction shaped by the subjective grab-bag of attributes and experiences we call the self, there remains the empirical nature of time as a measurable, observable, concrete dimension of reality — and the rift between these two conceptions of time is one of the most disorienting yet fascinating aspects of existence.

Memories of Kurt Gödel [This memoir essay appeared in the magazine Science 82 in April 1982, and in my 1982 book Infinity and the Mind. It’s based on the “Conversations With Godel” documented in my previous post. Some of the photos are from a recent trip through the West, others from the 1970s.] Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation by Maria Popova “Time perception matters because it is the experience of time that roots us in our mental reality.” Given my soft spot for famous diaries, it should come as no surprise that I keep one myself. Perhaps the greatest gift of the practice has been the daily habit of reading what I had written on that day a year earlier; not only is it a remarkable tool of introspection and self-awareness, but it also illustrates that our memory “is never a precise duplicate of the original [but] a continuing act of creation” and how flawed our perception of time is — almost everything that occurred a year ago appears as having taken place either significantly further in the past (“a different lifetime,” I’d often marvel at this time-illusion) or significantly more recently (“this feels like just last month!”).

It Does Something A Lot Weirder And now you all understand why Stephen Hawking is widely acknowledged as a genius. Until his proposal of black hole evaporation by virtual particles, no one had then made such a strong link between quantum mechanics and general relativity. Much however still remains to be done. I'm interested in why the hole preferentially chooses to absorb antiparticles. The Quantum Mechanics of Fate - Issue 9: Time “The objective world simply is, it does not happen,” wrote mathematician and physicist Hermann Weyl in 1949. From his point of view, the universe is laid out in time as surely as it is laid out in space. Time does not pass, and the past and future are as real as the present. If your common sense rebels against this idea, it is probably for a single reason: the arrow of causality. Events in the past cause events in the present which cause events in the future.

Geometry of the Universe Can the Universe be finite in size? If so, what is ``outside'' the Universe? The answer to both these questions involves a discussion of the intrinsic geometry of the Universe. The Psychology of Time and the Paradox of How Impulsivity and Self-Control Mediate Our Capacity for Presence “Reality is never and nowhere more accessible than in the immediate moment of one’s own life,” Kafka once told a teenage friend. “It’s only there that it can be won or lost.” The great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky believed that what draws us to film is the gift of time — “time lost or spent or not yet had.” From the moment we are born to the moment we take our last breath, we battle with reality under the knell of this constant awareness that we are either winning or losing time. We long for what T.S. Eliot called “the still point of the turning world,” but in chasing after it we spin ourselves into a perpetual restlessness, losing the very thing we strive to win.

The Absurdity of Infinity: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Explains Whether the Universe Is Infinite or Finite in Letters to Her Mother – Brain Pickings By Maria Popova In 1998, while on the cusp of becoming one of the most significant theoretical cosmologists of our time, mathematician-turned-astrophysicist Janna Levin left her post at Berkeley and moved across the Atlantic for a prestigious position at Cambridge University. During the year and a half there, she had the time and space to contemplate the question that would eventually become the epicenter of her career — whether the universe is infinite or finite. What began as a series of letters to her mother, Sandy, eventually became an unusual diary of Levin’s “social exile as a roaming scientist,” and was finally published as How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space (public library) — a most unusual and absorbing account of the paradoxes of finitude. In an entry from September 3, 1998, Levin fleshes out her ideas on infinity and writes with exquisite Saganesque sensitivity to the poetics of science:

A Debate Over The Physics Of Time Einstein once described his friend Michele Besso as “the best sounding board in Europe” for scientific ideas. They attended university together in Zurich; later they were colleagues at the patent office in Bern. When Besso died in the spring of 1955, Einstein — knowing that his own time was also running out — wrote a now-famous letter to Besso’s family. “Now he has departed this strange world a little ahead of me,” Einstein wrote of his friend’s passing. “That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

» Leap Seconds and the Nature of Civil Time About two months ago, a group of scholars gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, to discuss the future of civil time – the universal clock that keeps the entire globe and its nearly 7 billion human inhabitants in sync. Their conversation had begun with a meeting in 02011 (at which Long Now co-founder and Board member Danny Hillis submitted a paper on timekeeping in the 10,000-Year Clock); this year, the debate focused on the merit of the leap second: the corrective increment of time that is added to (or subtracted from) the end of a winter’s or summer’s day roughly once every eighteen months in order to synchronize the world’s clocks with the small but erratic changes in the speed of Earth’s rotation. At stake in this debate is a question about how we wish to define civil time – or Coordinate Universal Time (UTC), as it is officially known.

The aliens are silent because they're dead Life on other planets would likely be brief and become extinct very quickly, say astrobiologists from The Australian National University (ANU). In research aiming to understand how life might develop, the scientists realised new life would commonly die out due to runaway heating or cooling on their fledgling planets. "The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens," said Dr Aditya Chopra from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences and lead author on the paper, which is published in Astrobiology. "Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive."

Related: