Scientific Sense Podcast

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Entangled time

A recent paper from Cornell shows experimentally that time could be an illusion – a property fully internal to the system. Time materializes only in an entangled state, when an observer is entangled with the “clock,” – a mechanism to measure. Using an entangled state of the polarization of two photons, they show that one is able to gauge the evolution of the other, visualizing time. For an observer, outside the system, everything appears stagnant – with no concept of time.

Although conceptually difficult to internalize, the existence of time bothered many in the past. If time exists only if the observer is entangled with the measuring instrument, then, the paradox of increasingly meager life becomes even more ridiculous. If the split between past and future is an illusion, it means that such a distinction is only made by the entangled observer and not anything or anybody else. Such an observer, is in a sort of time jail, unable to escape. Every external participant is unaware of her motion in time.

Lack of time means no emotions or imagination. Did humans need time or was it just an accident? Did the internal clocks of biological systems entangle voluntarily with the universal clock? Was such an entanglement a necessary condition for the formation of life? Is it possible to break out of the constraints of time?

Did time create life or life create time?

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