We all are quite familiar with the measurement of time. But, what is time? Why does it flow? And, why does it go forward, not backward?
According to Special Relativity, time is a dimension, but, not like the dimensions of space.
For example, we travel in spatial dimensions everyday. When you are in motion with respect to any object in this universe, you are traveling in space. Traveling in spatial dimensions means covering some ‘distance’. It is very simple. But, it is not as simple to travel in time.
For example, if you wanna go backwards in time, you can’t just turn back and start moving!
So, that’s why time is a different type of dimension. Why is it like this? Well, nobody knows!
Also, as time moves on, it leads to development or destruction (we can refer destruction to as a negative of development).
FLOW OF TIME
The other question is why time flows? Moreover, why does it flow in forward direction only?
This question still doesn’t have a widely accepted answer in the scientific community, however, an excellent answer for the flow of time was given by Professor Richard A. Muller (Physicist at the University of California, Berkely) in 2016, in his research paper titled ‘Now, and the Flow of Time’. The paper was co-written by Shaun Maguire (Physicist).
Muller proposed that the flow of time can be easily understood by assuming the expansion of the the universe in all four dimensions of space-time rather than in only three dimensions of space. This means that the universe is also expanding in time.
What does it mean? The paper proposed that space and time are so strongly linked in the theory of relativity that, when new space is created, new time is also created.
We know that the universe is expanding. It means that the three-dimensional space is expanding. The space between galaxies is expanding. This means that new space is being created every moment. So, with the creation of new space, new time must be created. This is why time flows. “New time is created every moment”. Now, at this moment also, a new time is created!
So, if the universe weren’t expanding, time would not be passing or flowing. Every single object would simply stop as we see in science fiction movies that there is a person with a clock. He presses a button on the clock and everything stops because of the stopping of time. Same would be the case if the universe were static.
PROVING THIS THEORY, THEORETICALLY
We can take another example to prove Muller’s theory . When I came to know about this theory, I was quite fascinated by Muller’s Idea. After thinking more and more about Muller’s idea, the following thing came in my mind (Big Brain Time!):
If the universe were contracting, it would finally reach point of zero size, that is, a singularity. We also know that the universe began at a singularity. Also, according to Muller’s theory, time would reverse if the universe were contracting and the universe would finally reach the point where it began (at time, t = 0 ), that is, a singularity! (This example somewhat gives a proof of the theory.).
So, we can say if the Big Bang theory and general relativity are correct, then Muller’s theory is also correct.
Madhur Sorout is currently a fifteen-year-old high school senior from India. His main fascination lies with the subject of physics, mainly in the field of the general theory of relativity and topics related to it like the Big Bang, black holes and the evolution of the universe. He likes to make sense of what he sees in this universe.
He has founded the (popular) science website – Maddyz Physics (maddyzphysics.com). He is also a physics and astrophysics editor for the Young Scientists Journal.
He loves to read books by Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other authors (and physicists). Inspired by their work, Madhur wrote Astrophysics Simplified: A Simple Guide to the Universe. He started to write this book when he was 14.
A diehard fan of fiction, Madhur also likes to play cricket and wants to continue down the route of research in theoretical astrophysics.