Physicists Says Time “to the Future and to the Past” is Dramatically Different

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When it comes to time the future and and past are dramatically different according to physicists. Associate Professor Joan Vaccaro has challenged the current thinking on time. In her paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, entitled “Quantum symmetry between time and space,” she suggests there may be a deeper origin due to a difference between the two directions of time: to the future and to the past. “If you want to know where the universe came from and where it’s going, you need to know about time,” says Associate Professor Vaccaro.”Experiments on subatomic particles over the past 50 years ago show that Nature doesn’t treat both directions of time equally. In particular, subatomic particles called K and B mesons behave slightly differently depending on the direction of time. When this subtle behavior is included in a model of the universe, what we see is the universe changing from being fixed at one moment in time to continuously evolving. In other words, the subtle behavior appears to be responsible for making the universe move forwards in time. Understanding how time evolution comes about in this way opens up a whole new view on the fundamental nature of time itself. It may even help us to better understand bizarre ideas such as travelling back in time.”

The time conundrum stems from the fact that to most physicists it doesn’t really much matter to them whether time is moving forwards or backwards – they seem to behave the same way regardless of the direction time’s arrow is pointing. Vaccaro’s new proposal theorizes that the two directions of time – forwards and backwards – might not actually be identical after all.  According her paper, this asymmetry, long presumed to be elemental, is represented by equations of motion and conservation laws that operate differently over time and space. Professor Vaccaro used a “sum-over-paths formalism” to demonstrate the possibility of a time and space symmetry, meaning the conventional view of time evolution would need to be revisited.

“In the connection between time and space, space is easier to understand because it’s simply there. But time is forever forcing us towards the future,” says Associate Professor Vaccaro. Experiments on subatomic particles over the past 50 years ago show that nature doesn’t treat both directions of time equally,” said Vaccaro. “In particular, subatomic particles called K and B mesons behave slightly differently depending on the direction of time. Yet while we are indeed moving forward in time, there is also always some movement backwards, a kind of jiggling effect, and it is this movement I want to measure using these K and B mesons.”

Via: Joan A. Vaccaro. Quantum asymmetry between time and space.Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 2016; 472, Science Daily

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