Search FQXi


If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at forums@fqxi.org with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home


Previous Contests

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
read/discusswinners

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discusswinners

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
read/discusswinners

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
read/discusswinners

Forum Home
Introduction
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help
RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Larry Moss: on 8/2/16 at 11:31am UTC, wrote Very nice and informative post. Need more information about Essay???? Visit...

Wilton Alano: on 3/12/11 at 18:45pm UTC, wrote Greg, No need of formulas to know what is time, sorry! Time means matter...

John Merryman: on 1/1/09 at 16:46pm UTC, wrote Greg, "I believe that time can be eliminated from the laws of physics...

Cristi Stoica: on 12/27/08 at 18:34pm UTC, wrote Hi Greg, Beautiful and interesting essay! Nice idea of identifying the...

Christine Koenig: on 12/14/08 at 0:35am UTC, wrote Wonderful essay, Greg! I enjoyed the mix of humour with technical know-how....

Marek Alboszta: on 12/5/08 at 2:15am UTC, wrote Excellent essay to communicate your fundamental insight that deterministic...

T H Ray: on 12/3/08 at 12:34pm UTC, wrote Very nice essay, Greg, and it perfectly frames the actual physics of time...

Chi Ming Hung: on 12/2/08 at 23:10pm UTC, wrote Nice essay Greg. I share your view that the only possible explanation for...


RECENT FORUM POSTS

Lorraine Ford: "Georgina, 1. What “emerges” from cellular automata algorithms only..." in Agency in the Physical...

Lorraine Ford: "When will people [1] grow up and get over their absurd ideas about..." in Agency in the Physical...

Joe Fisher: "The sad fact is that no physicist has ever studied actual visible physical..." in SciMeter: A New Way to...

My Emilly: "Nice post,i like your article,great way of explanation.Looking for more..." in Collapsing Physics: Q&A...

Chris Roger: "Hi, thanks for your nice article. It's really detailed and helpful gmail..." in What Is Fundamental? –...

Chris Roger: "Superb Information, I really appreciated with it, This is fine to read and..." in SciMeter: A New Way to...

Philip Chester: "Good post. I find out something new and challenging on articles I..." in New Online Course:...

Joe Fisher: "Dear FQXi.org Members, Reality am fundamental. Reality am not..." in Ed Witten on the Nature...


RECENT ARTICLES
click titles to read articles

Usurping Quantum Theory
The search is on for a fundamental framework that allows for even stranger links between particles than quantum theory—which could lead us to a theory of everything.

Fuzzballs v Black Holes
A radical theory replaces the cosmic crunchers with fuzzy quantum spheres, potentially solving the black-hole information paradox and explaining away the Big Bang and the origin of time.

Whose Physics Is It Anyway? Q&A with Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Why physics and astronomy communities must take diversity issues seriously in order to do good science.

Why Time Might Not Be an Illusion
Einstein’s relativity pushes physicists towards a picture of the universe as a block, in which the past, present, and future all exist on the same footing; but maybe that shift in thinking has gone too far.

The Complexity Conundrum
Resolving the black hole firewall paradox—by calculating what a real astronaut would compute at the black hole's edge.


FQXi FORUM
July 21, 2018

CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: What Is Time? by Gregory Keaton [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Gregory Keaton wrote on Dec. 2, 2008 @ 14:40 GMT
Essay Abstract

I examine the point of view, advocated by Einstein, that the flow of time is an illusion. Evidence to support this view comes from the fact that the time variable t can be eliminated from the equations of classical and quantum mechanics. However, I argue that quantum jumps—which are notoriously left out of the equations—play a role in creating a real, objective flow of time.

Author Bio

Greg has always been interested in the philosophical aspects of science. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from U.C. Berkeley, and since then has had a variety of jobs, including teaching, patent writing, and laser design. He currently works for a small laser startup called Mobius Photonics. More than once he has tried to prove that time doesn’t really exist—probably because he is such a terrible procrastinator.

Download Essay PDF File

Bookmark and Share



Carl Brannen wrote on Dec. 2, 2008 @ 22:15 GMT
I loved your essay! Wonderful!

Bookmark and Share



Chi Ming Hung wrote on Dec. 2, 2008 @ 23:10 GMT
Nice essay Greg. I share your view that the only possible explanation for the "flow" of Time in modern physics is in quantum "jumps". In fact it seems to me that the Schroedinger equation and other wave equations in quantum mechanics should be regarded as mathematical artifacts which arise when we try to describe what's essentially discontinuous Becoming by the mathematics of the continuous and the differentiable. The continuous evolution of the wave function in time as described by quantum mechanics is not observable, only the quantum jumps and the frequencies of various quantum phenomena are observable. My contention is that these are the basic building blocks from which one should use to try to re-build quantum mechanics. I've written more about this in my essay.

Bookmark and Share



T H Ray wrote on Dec. 3, 2008 @ 12:34 GMT
Very nice essay, Greg, and it perfectly frames the actual physics of time without invoking philosophical prejudice. You write:

"If the future is entirely determined by its past, then the flow of time makes little sense: all of the information necessary to predict the future already

exists today."

Excellent. And then, on other hand, if future information impinges on the present probabilistically (as in the quantum jump phenomenon) time _must_ flow.

All best wishes.

Tom

Bookmark and Share



Marek Alboszta wrote on Dec. 5, 2008 @ 02:15 GMT
Excellent essay to communicate your fundamental insight that deterministic formulations of physical law could be mapped to just space parameters using mathematics, but for the quantum jumps that saved us from such a boring fate. Though irksome to those that try to construct a complete and axiomatic system, I thank the existence of these pesky and discontinuous QM jumps for saving me from the thought that I have no free will and time is an illusion.

all the best!

Marek

Bookmark and Share



Christine Koenig wrote on Dec. 14, 2008 @ 00:35 GMT
Wonderful essay, Greg! I enjoyed the mix of humour with technical know-how. Very entertaining and spiritual at the same time. Thank you!

Bookmark and Share



Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 27, 2008 @ 18:34 GMT
Hi Greg,

Beautiful and interesting essay! Nice idea of identifying the existence of time with indeterminism.

Best wishes,

Cristi Stoica

Bookmark and Share



John Merryman wrote on Jan. 1, 2009 @ 16:46 GMT
Greg,

"I believe that time can be eliminated from the laws of physics because the

equations are deterministic. If the future is entirely determined by its past, then the flow of time makes little sense: all of the information necessary to predict the future already exists today. In the words of Pierre Simon Laplace, given a sufficiently intelligent being who knew every detail of...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share



Wilton Alano wrote on Mar. 12, 2011 @ 18:45 GMT
Greg,

No need of formulas to know what is time, sorry!

Time means matter particles and corpses continuously change their spatial position, exactly like energy. Is this continuous motion that we call "time".

No energy, no time. So, in a supposed system where no energy happens (no movement, no kinetics, like a frozen bottle at absolute 0º), no time occurs.

Once no thing in known universe is unenergized, so time is elapsed in any place.

Important is to keep in mind that time is synonym of Energy (motion) and is also synonym of change.

Cheers,

Wilton

Bookmark and Share



Larry Moss wrote on Aug. 2, 2016 @ 11:31 GMT
Very nice and informative post. Need more information about Essay???? Visit here Essay Writing Help.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.