We’ve always thought of time as an essential part of our lives up until now. Yet, new research has turned this idea on its head. When I write newsletters, I talk about these subjects a lot. In this article, I will talk about the four things I found the most interesting.
Remember that these are complex ideas, so I can’t go too deep into the specifics. There are links to more information if you want to learn more independently.
1. Before the Big Bang, There Was Inflation
If you believe that a period of cosmic inflation took place before the Big Bang, then this is what you’re going to want to know: If you look at this inflation theory, you’ll see that it does the same things and answers questions that the big bang doesn’t, which is what it does.
Here’s a detailed explanation from Big Think, but a quick summary is that inflation stretched and grew everything in our universe, making it bigger and bigger. When this happened, the matter could be made. The only thing that remains is pure energy when there is no space for things to spread out. Inflation then came along, which caused space to expand all over the place. This meant that all that energy could explode into the matter because there was more space for it.
So, that’s pretty cool. But how about the time? Was there time before there was space? It could be that time began when space did. Are time and space connected? Or can they be separate from each other? These are questions that experts are getting close to having answers to.
2. Does Time Exist?
A few months ago, I wrote about a question in my newsletter about whether our intentions sent today can affect the past. Along the way, I talked about an idea that some theoretical physicists think is true: that time is a myth. They also have a lot of good points.
Is this true? On the surface, it looks like time is there. Finally, humans split it into seconds, minutes, and hours. They also broke it down into days, weeks, months, and years. Yet, all of that is just different measurements of how the planet moves around the Sun. People on Jupiter have the other day length than on Earth.
Time is always the same, but it’s also relative. Our ability to measure it depends entirely on where we are and how we can get to the outside world. There was no clock or sunlight in this cave for 40 days, so the man lost his sense of time. Check out this article to learn more. It’s pretty cool.
Then, in the newsletter, I talked about Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist. He wrote a book called The Order of Time. In this post, I will share a part of the newsletter with you because his ideas are more relevant now than when I first wrote about them.
Time, according to Rovelli, is an illusion. Part two of his book proposes that, rather than assuming particles and fields are the constituents of reality, the actual constituents driving reality are the events themselves.
“A storm is not a thing, and it’s a collection of occurrences,” Rovelli says. In other words, we can think of a storm as a large mass of particles interacting with one another at specific times and locations. However, Rovelli claims that the interactions cause the particles to collide, creating the illusion of time and space.
We believe particles collide because space and time appear to be eternal and unmoving, allowing events to occur. Is it possible, however, that we have it backward? Perhaps events are what create space and time.
To make this even more critical, I will talk about even more evidence that will back up Rovelli’s claims, but with a twist.
3. Is the Concept of Spacetime Fundamental?
When I read Scientific American’s February 2022 issue, I read an article called “The Origins of Space and Time.” I found it very interesting. If you want to read the whole thing, you can do that here in AppleNews. I can’t find it online anywhere else, as far as I know. From the beginning, here’s a summary:
A growing number of physicists, working in various areas of the discipline and using multiple approaches, are increasingly converging on a profound idea: space — and possibly even time — is not fundamental. On the other hand, space and time may be emergent: they may arise from the structure and behavior of more essential components of nature.
Right? Let me show you.
Einstien’s theory of general relativity says that when there is a lot of mass, it changes the shape of spacetime, which we feel as gravity. However, there is a problem when applying the same idea to the quantum world. Why does this happen? Because quantum physics and general relativity don’t follow the same set of rules Scientists, have tried for years to get them to be friends, but they haven’t been able to.
Finally, some of the world’s best minds have looked at the problem from a new angle over the last few years. They realized that all previous attempts to make general relativity and quantum physics work together had thought of spacetime as a fundamental part of our universe. Isn’t that bad? Perhaps spacetime comes from something else and not the other way around.
It was a shift in perspective that led to many new questions and a lot of different ideas. There must be a source for spacetime to come from. Well, there are a few theories out there that are trying to fill in the space between us. The most likely ones aren’t always the best. Many have issues that don’t work well together. However, one idea seems to be the essential minor disagreement.
It’s called loop quantum gravity, and it says that spacetime is made up of some spacetime particle that has been added together. When many of these particles come together, they form what scientists call space foam, which we see as a smooth reality.
For example, think about how the thing you’re sitting or standing on isn’t excellent, nor is anything else. Everything is made up of many small particles that are very close together. This makes things look like they’re made of real things. If that’s the case, then maybe spacetime is like that too.
4. The Paradox of Time Travel
If you wanted to kill your grandfather in the past, you could go back in time and do it. The paradox says that you couldn’t, but that’s not true. You wouldn’t be born if your grandfather was killed. If you were never born, you couldn’t kill your grandfather in the past.
People say that time will always find a way to keep the past the same. Mathematically, time heals itself. Small things might change, but important events wouldn’t. Tobar used the pandemic as a case study.
He says that even if you went back in time and tried to stop the pandemic, you couldn’t. It’s also possible that you or someone else will become the first to get sick. However, the pandemic would still happen, no matter what. Time would make it happen so that it would happen.
There is a good chance that every sci-fi story about time travel is wrong. Because of this, we now know that time is not as fragile as we thought it was.
A lot to think about: this is what I wrote while my head was whirling. I believe that everything we’ve learned about time and how it works in the last few decades will bring humanity to a level of knowledge that could rival any central turning point in history.
No, not at all.
If inflation made space bigger and stretched it out, more room would be for things to move in. It then has to be that there was either time before inflation or when inflation started. Either way, space and time are now one. The inflation theory agrees that spacetime is made up of matter. It also shows that time and space are linked together. One can’t live without the other one.
These ideas are about how Time and Space are made and how they work. But what will happen when they do? Time travel is so interesting because it looks at how time behaves as soon as it comes into being. That time corrects itself to ensure that events happen, no matter what happens.
In the beginning, it might seem that all of this means that Rovelli is wrong. If space and time are linked in this way, then time isn’t an illusion, as Rovelli says. Right? There’s a chance.
As a scientist, I can’t say for sure whether or not Rovelli is right.
Let’s say that the physicists are correct and that spacetime consists of inflation, which is imaginary particles. The result is what we think of as a smooth reality. Then, isn’t that kind of like Rovelli’s idea that time is made up of a lot of small things? That’s how it works, but it’s not the same as loop gravity theory.
Then, time is real. Our way of measuring and living time – how we live our lives based on the Earth’s rotation and call it time – is the lie.
Oof. In a good way, my brain hurts.