The Nature of Time.

Before you go to Darwin, could you please compose a paragraph for the newsletter on your next talk about The Nature of Time.

The nature of time is that the proper time will disappear into the past before you know it, unless you travel to Darwin at the speed of light. Time flies like an arrow!

The nature of time discusses the most important dimension we are able to perceive, the 4th dimension.
While seemingly simple to those of us stuck in it, it is actually a lot more complex.
Understanding it better is what has led us to the next scientific world , that of quantum mechanics.
This will be a light hearted look into the window of the physics of the future.

The second part of the talk will be on understanding probability also at the edges.
The Black Swan Event refers to those exceedingly unlikely events that somehow seem to occur all the time.
Nasim Taleb wrote a book on what they are and how to cope with them.

As Allan wrote time is an arrow.
It allows us to fit events that happen to us into the past, present and future.
What can we say about time generally?
[audience for insight]
Time is a severely local occurrence.
It is an observable but not repeatable phenomenon [cue omar Kyam The moving hand writes and having written moves on.]
It describes rates of change between objects leading to the concepts of speed and mass.
Indeed this is often how it is measured.
Events that recur regularly enable us to measure it by the frequency of how often they occur compared to other events.
But this is of course at our scale and with our human perception.

We can discuss time at a human body level.
How many breathes we normally take in a minute.
How fast our pulse is in a minute.
How many steps we can take in a minute.
And we do.
These events occur to objects at a human speed and size.

Yet if we move up just a few scales or down a few scales time seems to change dramatically.
Objects at an atomic level move extremely rapidly in time, albeit over minute distances.
A computer can go through a hundred million actions during 1 heart beat. Far faster than the human mind can observe.
A star in the Sky will still be in the same position relative to most of the other visible stars during a human lifetime.
Yet this is all relative to our human sense of proportion.
Once we go either way far enough we find that time is not the same at other scales as it is at ours.
At one end we have the quantum effect. We can no longer predict whee and when an observable event will happen.
At the other end we can see our distant past but have no idea of the current state of objects far away.

A digression on local time
Time is measured by local phenomenon and events around us on the earth.
The initial concept was of day and night representing the 24 hour rotation around the earth.
The passage of the sun overhead throwing shadows that increased and decreased led to the sundial and a division into a 12 hour day [and assumed night].
Hour glasses of sand then enabled the hour to be broken into minutes and the minutes into seconds.
Clocks were a late invention 1500s? that enabled even more rapid and accurate measurement until we had the stopwatches of today with hundredths of a second.
Now time can be measured by the breakdown or radioactive caesium atoms, almost a true atomic scale.

At the same time physical properties were slowly being explored. The three dimensions classically are length, width and height.
Typically referred to as space.
If one were to use vectors for direction I would actually think there are 6 such dimensions as everything goes in a mirror direction [the other way] as well.
Time runs with vectors [or vice versa] and again always one way.
Mass and Gravity and electricity also exist but are not part of the four dimensions other than existing in them.
Gravity itself, but not mass, is actually a byproduct of time and space that does not exist as a real force even though we are held to the floor here by it.

The use of dimensions to describe nature is fraught.
We all have a basic understanding of what the first three are in a sense of measurement, and direction.
Time however lacks both measurable length and solidity.

It is all around us and part of us but untouchable.
We can only observe it through its effects on us and other objects.
That is why it is not included in the 3 dimensions.
Yet other things are measurable and palpable but undefinable.
The jolt of electricity.
The sudden pull of a magnet and the feeling of mass from soft and squidgy or a breath of air to dense and impenetrable.
This raises the questions of are there other dimensions connected in some way to these other quantities.

* How many dimensions are there?
Theoretically infinite
Practically how many of them exist that we may be able to detect in some way.
Here is where maths and physics interconnect.
The multidimensional lobby invented string theory where the different dimensions, acting on mathematical principles, interact with each other.
Amazingly there are mathematical predictions and models which suggest it may be real.
Sub atomic particles [in name only] have spins and vectors positive and negative charges, matter and antimatter which follow these rules.
I would like to point out this interesting observation. A 2D creature can never directly see a 3D creature.
We can design cubes in the fourth dimension and yet are unable to represent them in 3D space.
Yet we can see both 3D and 2D in our minds and analyze them.This ability to perceive both space and time by necessity implies
that thought, the mind, is actually working in a 5th Dimension with 4D representation.

Quotes In a Jiff Time waits for no man The old man and the sea

Time travel.
There is a simple way for observation to go back in time. Due to the marvels of video cameras we can rewind and replay past sequences.
The egg falling and breaking always breaks the same way.
Yet always unscrambles perfectly on rewind.
No two eggs will break in exactly the same way.
This process of action going in one direction only is the definition of time passing.
There is an interesting notion of parallel worlds where every event can spiral off in a new pathway for ever.
Like the Sliding Doors film but on an unimaginable continued eternal program.
This would be a case of different time events as well.
Ripples in time.
If it is feasible and if it is happening it would lead to changes that would most likely mean that it was impossible or totally probable.
Let me know if you ever find out so I can adjust the glitch.

Computer worlds or Sims.
Another infinite mirrors paradox.
If it is possible then we must be living in a Sim.
Like Neo in the film.
And here the concept of time takes on a new meaning A computer program can be paused [stopping time].
Rewound [Going back in time].
And even reformatted [Changing the past] so the egg does not drop.
As you can see having proved it is impossible we can also prove that it is real. The definition of a Quantum state.

Now to try to achieve what Professor Hawking could not.
A simple explanation of time and relativity.
Forget the clocks running at different speeds.
The person going into space at near light speed returning young while everyone else is getting old.

For all practical purposes time and space actually work together.
What effects them is the presence of mass.
Mass can only exist if it has dimensions in both time and space.
Time and space can only exist where mass is present.

Mass has three components that we can see at our level.
Amount and speed and rotation.
otherwise known as energy.
It tends to follow a semi rule of nature, that of repetivity.
If we look at the known universe we see large mass clusters, galaxies.
At the atomic level atoms behave a lot like galaxies or planets on a speeded up scale.

As masses move apart time speeds up
As they move together it slows down
If they move at the same speed, in the same vicinity they come closer to having the same time.
This is being close or relative to each other.
Hence the theory of relativity.
The bigger a mass is the more it both slows and distorts time.


Unusual examples.

Strange but true .
If we look at just the sun and the moon going through space together with no other planets or objects.
Just the two of them. At the same distance apart.
what can we say about them and their movement and forces?
1. The earth is rotating about the sun? ie in orbit
2. the sun is rotating about the earth? ie in orbit
3. The earth is also spinning in its rotation about the sun?
4. The sun is spinning in its rotation about the earth.
5. The two objects will crash into each other due to gravity?
6 The two objects will go in different directions but come back to each other?
7. The two objects will go in different directions and never return?
8. The two objects will come back together at some indeterminate time if they last long enough.
9. the earth has less mass than the sun.
10 . the sun has more mass than the earth.
11 They are both traveling through space in a straight line?
12. They are both traveling through space and time in a straight line?
13. They both are moving?
14. They both are not moving?
15. If they are both not moving do they have any velocity?

According to Newton an object moving through a direction in space will continue to move in a straight line unless acted upon by a force.
Hence both the sun and the moon must be moving in straight lines. [If they are moving.]
So how does the earth go around the sun if it is moving in a straight line?
The answer is that the volume of space and time that the earth is moving in is altered.
Due to both the mass of the earth and the sun on the space time continuum.
As an independent and unrelated observer we see the earth appear to orbit the sun.
To some one on the earth they are traveling in a straight line through their time space volume.
The line however is bent mathematically both in direction and time.
Continually changing with the mass effect.

If I can show a video of the famous trampoline example.
It gives an idea in 3D of what is actually happening in 4D which are minds are unable to visualize.On a flat surface the ball will just roll across and off the trampoline.
With the mass distortion of the bowling ball to the surface the other ball goes into a circular orbit.
Here the forces are friction and resistance from the altered trampoline surface.
In 4D the effect is the same without any force.

The Black Swan is a book on the occurrence of rare or unexpected events.
It is so named because the existence of a black swan was speculated on in the Northern Hemisphere.
None were ever seen and it was thought they could not exist.
Until Europeans arrived in Western Australia.

There are a lot of rare events that have occurred through history. The existence of Tsunamis was another.
Although well documented in medieval Japan such events were virtually unheard of in Europe.
Two reasons , the lack of as much volcanic activity and the utter destruction wreaked when such an event occurred as in Sicily in the early 1900’s.
Asteroid impact is another.
Extremely remote as a possibility the Gulf of Mexico event was thought to have nearly wiped out life on earth.
Volcanic eruptions such as Pompeii and Krakatoa caused massive local damage and in the latter case had effects around the world.

Disasters figure in our literature, such as the great flood in the Bible .
Man made weapons of destruction such as Hiroshima are another that was never predicted.
Plagues and Pestilence. The potato Famine. The invasion by Genghis Khan.

As do the mysteries of life.
None more so than the origin of the universe and the possible existence of god.
Neither of these can lay claim to being an expected or repeatable phenomenon.

Black Swan events are by their very nature unpredictable, like the great stock market collapse.
They are theoretically extremely rare.
But they happen much more frequently than people expect and with sometimes devastating consequences.
As such they form part of the rich tapestry of prediction and possibility.

Why do rare events seem to occur frequently.
The answer to this lies in the fact that rare events in any one particular field are rare but there are many ,
many fields and there are many different types of rare event.
If we lump all the individual rare events of different types together it becomes almost commonplace to have a rare event somewhere in the world every day.
We notice the rare events because they stand out so dramatically above the background noise that they get our full attention, even though there are millions of normal things happening.

I like to quote the American Professor Feynman, one of those who helped invent the Atomic Bomb.
Speaking to a class like this he said I noticed a car in the car park today with the number plate ARN996.
There is probably only one like that in Australia. How unusual and exciting was it that I should see that number plate today.
The point he was making is that every event, every one of us is unique in our own special way.
A rare event is just like every other event. It has a small but finite chance of happening and today might just be your lucky day.
The fact that it happens out of kilter with our expectations is no reason for it not to happen.
The point is that a lot of us take results that stand out as being noteworthy without realising that statistically there may not be anything special about them at all.
The example he gave was of a thousand American companies that managed stock portfolios. Every year the hundred best ones are listed. The following year ten are listed and the next year 2.
Which one should you choose to invest with?
Statistically one of them has made it purely on the luck of the draw.
Statistically both of them might have made it by luck alone.
Yet the impression left is that these two gurus are astute knowledgeable traders able to out see and outperform their peers.
This is a form of bias that attracts our minds.
We reward results that might reward us without paying due attention to the reasons behind the result.
The Black swan event here is often a mirage.

Worse it carries over to a lot of events that happen in our daily lives.
Our Dentists, Our doctors, our beauticians.
Are they the best or did they just get lucky somewhere along the line at school?
True greatness resides in more than just a few good results, outstanding though they may be.

In deference to financial issues, shares and stockmarkets he offers this prescient advice.
You cannot avoid making bad, or goo decisions but bad outcomes trouble you a lot more than good ones.

Plan a little for contingencies and hard times.
Back your feelings and mood but do not put the house on any or several events.
Keep a little powder dry and ready for the bad times when they come.

The moral statistically is in another sense.
We tend to look for patterns in data and data interpretation.
Expecting it to be there.

Rocket science