Got a minute?

Do you ever find yourself running out of time to get the things done that need to be done? Wish you could travel into the future or back into the past for that matter? No worries! What if I told you I could make time slow down so you had more of it or could send you back into the annals of history or forward into the unknown future? I could, you know, at least theoretically.

To quote the English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington:

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Book coverAnd such is the nature of the universe that it is possible to slow time, so much so that you could age merely days in the a normal human life time. It is all to do with physics and equations like e=mc², which we all know of but know little if anything about. In a nutshell, what it tells us is that energy (e) and mass (m) i.e. things or stuff, are the basically the same, just in different forms and can be converted into one another using the speed of light squared (c²).

Albert Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity tells us that the speed of light (c) is the same for every person or observer no matter how fast they are moving but that they will witness the same events in different ways i.e. space and time become altered hence they are relative, not absolute i.e. like energy and mass, they are variations of the same thing. This means that the faster one moves relative to someone who is not moving (and by faster, I mean towards the speed of light (about 300,000 km per second – yes, per second, not per hour!), the person moving will appear to be moving very slowly and the person not moving will appear to be going faster. So, if you could move at close to the speed of light you would age more slowly than someone who was not moving at all and when you stopped moving you would find you were in the future relative to where in the future you would have been if you had stayed still.

Book coverHmmm, make sense? To go back in time it is theoretically possible by using black holes or going at the speed of light but you’ll have to read about that from Paul Davies and Stephen Hawking or build your own time machine. Of course the one thing I didn’t mention was the consequence of accelerating towards the speed of light and that is your mass increasing to the size of the universe (so, pretty big then) but of course you already knew that would happen from the description I gave you for the e=mc² equation, right?

Want to learn more? You should. Science and especially this aspect of it called cosmology, is more interesting than anything a science fiction novel could come up with and it is all real (at least theoretically).

One thought on “Got a minute?

  1. anonymousse 30 September 2012 / 1:34 pm

    The quote about the universe being stranger than we can imagine is generally credited to J.B.S Haldane. Eddington appears to be a frequent misattribution.

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