Scientists Zero In On Why Time Flows In One Direction
the only "time" is the now...
be well, be love.
scientists zero in on why time flows in one direction
october 26, 2004
the big bang could be a normal event in the natural evolution of the universe
that will happen repeatedly over incredibly vast time scales as the universe
expands, empties out and cools off, according to two university of chicago
"we like to say that the big bang is nothing special in the history of our
universe," said sean carroll, an assistant professor in physics at the
university of chicago. carroll and university of chicago graduate student
jennifer chen are scheduled to post a paper describing their ideas at http:
//arxiv.org/ thursday evening.
carroll and chen's research addresses two ambitious questions: why does time
flow in only one direction, and could the big bang have arisen from an energy
fluctuation in empty space that conforms to the known laws of physics?
the question about the arrow of time has vexed physicists for a century because
"for the most part the fundamental laws of physics don't distinguish between
past and future. they're time-symmetric," carroll said.
and closely bound to the issue of time is the concept of entropy, a measure of
disorder in the universe. as physicist ludwig boltzmann showed a century ago,
entropy naturally increases with time. "you can turn an egg into an omelet, but
not an omelet into an egg," carroll said.
but the mystery remains as to why entropy was low in the universe to begin with.
the difficulty of that question has long bothered scientists, who most often
simply leave it as a puzzle to answer in the future. carroll and chen have made
an attempt to answer it now.
[non-text portions of this message have been removed]