New theory of time suggests that the past, present AND future co-exist in the universe

A new theory claims that time does not move forward, but rather, everything in time is ever-present.


According to the theory, if we were to ‘look down’ upon the universe, we would see time spread out in all directions, just as we see space at the moment.


The intriguing theory was put forward by Dr Bradford Skow, an associated professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


In his new book, Objective Becoming, he examines some of the theories that have been postulated to explain time.


‘When you ask people, “Tell me about the passage of time,” they usually make a metaphor,’ he said.



In 1927 British astronomer Arthur Eddington first devised the ‘one-way direction’ or ‘asymmetry ‘ of time. He said that by studying the organisation of matter, it was possible to make a 4D map of the universe. The so-called ‘arrow of time’ supposedly points to a move spread out and ‘random’ future, toward which everything is moving. This is also known as entropy, which tends to increase with time.


Entropy, a consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, will increase as energy dissipates and matter and energy disperse. This means that entropy will always increase in the universe.


Some say this may lead to a ‘heat death’ future where everything is spread so thinly that nothing can exist anymore – a scenario famously postulated in Isaac Asimov’s short story The Last Question.


However, owing to the law of gravity, some think such a future is not a possibility.


And Dr Skow thinks the 'arrow of time' theory itself is not necessarily correct.


‘They say time flows like a river, or we move through time like a ship sailing through the sea.’


Another theory states that the present is a ‘spotlight’ that moves from the past to the future, with us being located in the spotlight as it moves forward.


Dr Skow, however, said he ‘wouldn’t want to believe in that unless I saw good arguments for it.’


Rather, he favours a theory known as the ‘block universe’, which states that the past, present and future already exist.


Dr Skow said that he does not think events sail past us and vanish forever - instead, they exist in different parts of space-time.


‘The block universe theory says you’re spread out in time, something like the way you’re spread out in space,' Dr Skow said.


‘We’re not located at a single time.’


Instead he says we are in a 'temporarily scattered' condition.


He asserts that our passage through space-time is not like a spotlight - and the experiences you had yesterday, last week, or even years ago are all real.


But he says time travel between the different times is not possible, as we are now in a different part of space-time.


His theory follows another postulated by scientists back in December.


They proposed that at the moment of the Big Bang, a 'mirror universe' to our own was created that moves in the opposite direction through time - and intelligent beings in each one would perceive the other to be moving backwards through time.


The radical theory was proposed by Dr Julian Barbour of College Farm in the UK, Dr Tim Koslowski of the University of New Brunswick in Canada and Dr Flavio Mercati of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, also in Canada.


Their research attempts to answer questions that remain about the ‘arrow of time’ - which is the concept that time is ‘symmetric’ and everything moves forwards.


They say that at the time of the Big Bang not one but two universes formed – both moving equally in each direction through time, but opposite to each other.


This universe would not be exactly the same as ours, though; it would have evolved and changed in its own way, completely separate to our own.


However, it would be subject to the same laws of physics, so it would likely have planets, stars and galaxies just like in our version of the cosmos.


And Dr Barbour told MailOnline the theory could open up a new way to think about the Big Bang.


‘At the moment when people talk about the Big Bang, they more or less throw their hands up in despair and say they can’t say what happened,' he said.


‘Now our work is beginning to suggest we can actually say more than people thought.’


Which theory of time proves to be correct, though - Dr Skow's block universe, the mirror universe or perhaps another - remains to be seen.



Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post