One year ends and another begins … And yes, once again we realise that time passes, implacable.
But have you ever wondered what time really is beyond what clocks and calendars mark?
Think about it for a moment.
In our experience as human beings, we perceive time as a sequence of events .
That is to say: a future that becomes present and a present that becomes a past.
We feel that the present is the only thing that exists , but it is ephemeral, it vanishes every second.
We think that the past is what has ceased to be and moves away from us towards oblivion , although part of it remains in our memories.
And we believe that the future is something potential that has not yet happened and promises various alternative ways.
But what is true in all this? Is time something real or a mere illusion? Or a mixture of both?
Get ready, because what classical and current physics says about it can leave you perplexed , as it questions some of the most widespread beliefs about our future.
“Physicists do not agree when it comes to answering the general question of what time is,” Dr. Chamkaur Ghag, renowned researcher at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London (UCL), told Conspiracy Talk News .
“But there is consensus in accepting what Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity says , which presents a universe where space and time are inseparable and mutually influential, and where phenomena are experienced in different ways according to the state of movement of the observers. “
In this cosmos time is relative, explains Ghag: it expands as a body moves faster in relation to others. The closer an object (or an individual) approaches at the speed of light, the more noticeable is the deceleration of the clock.
According to Einstein, time also passes more slowly when a body experiences a greater gravitational force.
In the film ” Interstellar ” (2014), by Christopher Nolan, there is a scene that explains it well: the protagonist descends to a planet subjected to intense gravity by being near a black hole. When he returns to the mothership after what for him has been more than an hour, he finds a companion for whom they have spent … 23 years .
The dilation of time has been proven experimentally in recent decades using ultra-precise atomic clocks and modern particle accelerators. To which has been added the recent detection of gravitational waves generated by distortions in space-time.
Several triumphs for Einstein’s ideas.
“Another of the principles accepted by physicists is that time goes forward and never back,” says Dr. Ghag.
“And this is explained by the second law of thermodynamics: entropy, meaning that things go from order to disorder.”
“For some reason that neurological science has not yet been able to explain, a part of our psyche interprets the future in terms of past, present and future .”
“We are trapped in a limited brain that understands something as complex as time … What we are going to do! This is a fascinating field of studies in which there is much to investigate,” the physicist tells BBC Mundo. British particles.
The question then is: how do the categories that we know as past, present and future work in the universe?
One of the notions that can leave us more baffled is that, in theory, our past still exists somewhere in the universe.
“As space and time are inseparable and interact, each and every one of the events of our lives occur in a different space-time, even if they happen in what we believe is the same place”, explains Dr. Ghag, of University College From london.
“It’s as if our existence were a succession of snapshots,” he says.
And what of the future , now that a new year begins? Is it worthwhile to make a list of purposes for 2018 if we consider that the future depends on our freedom ?
Or is the future predetermined , which would invalidate free will but also make it easier to predict what will come next?
This is where physicists feel more disoriented when talking about time.
“There are those who say that we can influence the future by choosing between different itineraries,” says Dr. Ghag.
“But suppose that free will was also subject to relativity, theoretically, if you knew all the possible trajectories of minds and phenomena, you could predict the future, ” he speculates.
Of course that would create a paradox , as the UCL physicist explains: “The knowledge of what is going to happen ends up altering what will happen”.
“Physics still does not have a clear answer about what the future is,” admits Ghag.
Meanwhile, the scientist points out, the hope and the desire for change of human beings continues to be nourished by the idea that tomorrow can be forged, including 2018, which is about to begin.