The relentless movement of time can be a source of anxiety. Who sometimes did not want the opportunity to freeze themselves in a happy moment or even not let their loved one slip away.
From time to time, a sci-fi book, movie, or TV show will feature characters who can do what we all want to do: stop time.
But is this possible? To answer this question, it is necessary to dive deeply into the most distant corners of physics, philosophy and human perception.
First, we must determine the time. “For a physicist, it’s not all that mysterious,” Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, told Live Science. “Time is just a shortcut to different parts of the universe. It tells us when something happens. “
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Carroll added that in many physical equations, there is little difference between past, present, and future. Time appears in one place Albert Einsteinfrom theory of relativity… According to Einstein’s theory, time is measured by clocks. Since the parts of the clock must move in space, time becomes entangled with space into a larger concept known as space-time what is at the heart of the universe.
It is known that the theory of relativity has shown that time can fluctuate greatly depending on how fast one observer moves relative to another observer. If you send a person with a clock to a spaceship at a speed close to the speed of light, it will seem to him that time will flow more slowly than it would for a stationary friend who remained on. land… And the astronaut falling into the black hole is huge gravity may distort time, it may also appear to slow down relative to a distant observer.
But it’s not really a way to stop time, Carroll said. Two hours may not coincide in the theory of relativity, but each will still record the usual course of time in its own frame of reference.
If you were getting close to black hole“You won’t notice anything else,” Carroll said. “You would look at your wristwatch and it reads one second per second.”
It makes no sense for him to talk about stopping time. “We know that the car is moving because at different times it is in different places in space,” he said. “Movement is a change in relation to time, so time itself cannot move.” In other words, if time stood still, all movement would also stop.
While science fiction sometimes gives us protagonists who can pause time for everyone else, situations like this raise a lot of questions. “Are you stopping air movement?” Carroll asked. “Because if so, then you are imprisoned by air.”
He added that the character stopping time will also probably not be able to see anything, because the light rays will no longer reach them. eyeballs… “There is really no sequential scenario in which time stands still.”
That’s all about physics. But time is more than just reading by the clock. It is also the feeling that we have in our head and body, as well as the natural rhythms of the world. However, in such cases, time can become something depending on personal whims.
“It’s interesting to think about the subjective experience of time,” Craig Callender, a philosopher who specializes in time at the University of California, San Diego, told Live Science.
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He described a well-known psychological illusion known as “chronostasis,” in which a person places a watch on the edge of their field of view and then looks at something else for a moment. If you look at the watch and focus on the second hand, it stops. (This might be an unusual way to have fun during your fifth math class in high school.)
“The second hand is definitely hanging a little here,” Callender said. “You can make time stand still.”
The illusion is associated with tiny eye movements called saccadesin which your eyeballs quickly run back and forth to constantly study their surroundings. To prevent chaotic blur, your brain actually edits what it sees in real time, and gives the impression of a continuous field of view, Callender says.
The question then arises: what is the relationship between our perception of time and the time that physicists talk about? Callender has written a number of books in which he attempts to explore the connection between the two, and so far there is no consensus on the final answer.
When it comes to the final passage of time, Callender prefers a painting “where nothing flows, but your story flows.”
And what does he think about the possibility of stopping time? “If we think about our subjective sense of time, then we can stop parts of it through chronostasis,” Callender said. “But this is probably the closest thing we can do.”
Originally published Living Science…