Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Through the Wormhole: Does Time Exist?

Here is another cool episode of Through the Wormhole. This time around, the topic is time itself. Does it really exist, or is it a human invention?

Through the Wormhole: Does Time Exist?

Through the Wormhole: Does Time Exist?When you’re having fun, time flies. Waiting in a traffic jam, not so much. Your birthday was last month, and your mortgage payment is due in a few days. The fact that we perceive time is certainly no illusion. But is it really there, or is it something we invented?

Early on in human history, we decided to start measuring the days and weeks, and eventually hours, minutes and seconds. Time was useful in organizing society, planting crops and getting ready for dates. Things worked extremely well until scientists started muddling it all up.

In the 17th century, English scientist Isaac Newton was pretty sure time existed as a universal constant. But in 1908, Hermann Minkowski, expanding on one of Einstein’s ideas on the relationship between space and time, suggested a space-time continuum. This theory held that space and time were inextricably mixed, with all events occurring along the same timeline. Einstein presented his theory of general relativity not long after this and proposed that time is but an illusion.

Around the same time (if you believe in time, that is), the field of quantum mechanics grew out of an effort to explain the relationship between matter and energy. This presented a little problem for scientists trying to create a single, unified theory to account for the universe and its component parts. Quantum mechanics requires the existence of time to work. General relativity does not. List of all episodes here: Through The Wormhole.

Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 42 minutes)


Monica said...

I’m absolutely intrigued by this show! Some concepts I find hard to believe and seem like adult versions of theories developed in childhood fantasies but it still makes me stop and think more than any other everyday show. I work for DISH and have recently made the transition to HD programming; it makes such a difference and all the outer-space shots/simulations are amazing. The curiosity in this field is unending as are the possibilities. I’m really looking forward to completing the series and I hope it goes on for a very long time.

Triffan VW said...

Is it not possible that time it self is what caused the big bang and that time is whats pushing the universe to expand as it moves forward?

Oh god I love this show, it has me thinking about life and looking at every thing completely different