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2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past
Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2014 @ 23:49:28 EST by vlad

Science New theories suggest the big bang was not the beginning, and that we may live in the past of a parallel universe /December 8, 2014/ By Lee Billings/ Scientific American

Physicists have a problem with time.
 
Whether through Newton’s gravitation, Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Einstein’s special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, all the equations that best describe our universe work perfectly if time flows forward or backward.

Of course the world we experience is entirely different. The universe is expanding, not contracting. Stars emit light rather than absorb it, and radioactive atoms decay rather than reassemble. Omelets don’t transform back to unbroken eggs and cigarettes never coalesce from smoke and ashes. We remember the past, not the future, and we grow old and decrepit, not young and rejuvenated. For us, time has a clear and irreversible direction. It flies forward like a missile, equations be damned.


For more than a century, the standard explanation for “time’s arrow,” as the astrophysicist Arthur Eddington first called it in 1927, has been that it is an emergent property of thermodynamics, as first laid out in the work of the 19th-century Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann. In this view what we perceive as the arrow of time is really just the inexorable rearrangement of highly ordered states into random, useless configurations, a product of the universal tendency for all things to settle toward equilibrium with one another.
 
Informally speaking, the crux of this idea is that “things fall apart,” but more formally, it is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which Boltzmann helped devise. The law states that in any closed system (like the universe itself), entropy—disorder—can only increase. Increasing entropy is a cosmic certainty because there are always a great many more disordered states than orderly ones for any given system, similar to how there are many more ways to scatter papers across a desk than to stack them neatly in a single pile...

Full article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/2-futures-can-explain-time-s-mysterious-past/

 
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"2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment | Search Discussion
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Re: 2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past (Score: 1)
by profraccoon on Thursday, January 08, 2015 @ 08:31:48 EST
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Only complex non-linear systems show an arrow of time. Non-linear behaviour is key in understanding the time arrow.
Pure linear systems do not have a time arrow: you cannot see the difference between linear systems with forward time and linear systems with backward time (think of a movie of some natural phenomenon that you run in reverse, can you notice something unnatural, and why is that unnatural?

An elastic and a totally unelastic collision are good examples. How do these natural events differ from the perspective of linear/non-linear behaviour and multi-scale complexity?



 

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