Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Time, one of the most mysterious yet fundamental parts of the universe. The universe would be static and unchanging, stuck in the state the instant it was created. However, scientists don't really know why it exists in the first place, there appears to be no mathematical necessity  for causes to happen before effects and why certain events have to happen in a certain order or direction.

There is nothing that says, in the laws of physics, that the pieces of a broken tea cup will come together and jump on to a table to form a flawless tea cup, or that a perfect tea cup should fall off of a table and shatter, and yet only one of these two events have been observed.

One answer to this question is the idea of entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Originally used to explain how heat flows through bodies, the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that in an isolated system the collective heat in a system will spread out towards equilibrium. This means that heat always flows from points of high heat to points of low heat. This can be easily observed in a glass of room temperature water and a couple of ice cubes, the heat flows from the warmer water to the colder ice, cooling the water but eventually warming the ice and causing it to melt. Entropy is the measurement of heat or unusable energy in the system. With the Second Law of Thermodynamics we find that the total entropy of a system cannot decrease, only remain constant or increase. As work is done even though local entropy could decrease the work moves some entropy to another part of the system and turns some of the energy done in the work into heat increasing the total entropy in the system.

This increase of entropy might explain why exactly things happen in the order that they do. They arrow of time might have to follow the sequence of events that cause the increase of order entropy. Sequences of events that cause cause entropy to decrease simply are outlawed by this rule which explains why ice melts instead of the ice becoming colder and colder and the water eventually reaching boiling point. Entropy can also measure the amount of chaos in a system so chaos will always increase as well. A quick example of this is if you don't spend the energy to take care of your house, which will cause waste heat to be made increasing entropy, and you will see that messes quickly take occur, dust will collect and cupboards will decay and furniture will fall apart. Also order cannot spontaneously come on its own, if you take all the pieces of a car and put them in a box and shake up the box, you'd never open a box to find a new car inside. However if you'd take a new car and shake it up vigorously for a few minutes you'd find a bunch of broken car pieces.

I don't really like the idea of entropy when applied to the concepts of order and chaos. I understand how it works in temperature and accept that but I still don't like the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Since it says that Entropy tends increase over time. Even though the chances of entropy decreasing is very small and it happens at only small level it still not 100% true. With the law of gravity there is no chance that matter would be repelled on the gravitational level ever, even on the microscopic level. However the Second Law isn't always 100% true. Rather than a law I just see it as an observation of the how the world tends to act.

I think a decent analogy is a casino. Even though on an individual level their is a chanced of making a profit, the probability of winning is allot smaller than losing to the casino. So on a large scale the money tends to flow from gamblers to the casino. There is no law of the universe, though, that says that money has to flow in that direction. And I don't think that the flow of time is based off of the flow of money in this relationship. And if someone knows the system, such as card counters, that can make off with a decent amount of profit at the expense of the casino. It's my hope that one day that we will be able to understand the universe in a way that we can make use of its own rules to beat it self at its own game and reduce chaotic entropy.

A few days ago I saw a movie that gave me an odd idea about time. I don't want to say what the movie is or exactly what happened in the movie since it might give away the story for any one who didn't see it, and most might not have seen it since it came out not to long ago. So in this movie a guy made a quantum device that allowed a person to go back in time but didn't  effect the present. Instead it made a new world with a different timeline separate from the "real" one. In the new world the events in it are a slightly different but, since the device existed in that world too, it was also able to create different time lines. But since that world was slightly different from the original world the world it made would be slightly different from the second one based off of the second worlds differences. And this pattern could go on indefinitely.

As I was thinking about it, I thought it was such a weird situation. Each universe makes another universe based on its current state. If one could accurately predict human behavior then one could predict how all of the other worlds would be like. So then I thought maybe that is how the universe acts and what causes time to flow in one direction.

So the original universe would some how be created. But in this universe there is only three spatial dimensions, but no time dimension. So this universe would be in the initial state and stay in this state for as long as it exists, each particle static, never moving. However this universe makes another one, somehow. The state that this universe us in is based off of the state its creating universe is in. This universe makes a new universe using the same rules the previous one used. This chain of events would continue on forever. So there would be an uncountable amounts of universes, unchanging but the newest one making more and more universes.

This could explain why effects would have to have causes and why, even though time doesn't exist in the way that we imagine or experience it, time seems to flow continuously. As I type this there might be trillions and trillions of me's frozen in front of a computer and watching [adult swim]. Each state of the me's has affected the current me which allows me to remember the states of the universes that came before.

The universe could then be seen as a film reel, each frame is doesn't change but each sequential frame is slightly different from the one before it (unless the camera angle changes, or scene changes, but you get me). As each one is experienced one at a time time seems to flow almost exactly like how we see time. This view gives us a single timeline but possibly each universe makes multiple universe based off of quantum uncertainty, so if a quantum event has a 70% chance of happening than out of the 70% of the universes that that one made will have that event happen and in the others something happened. This picture of the universe is more akin to asexual bacteria. Each bacteria has multiple children each one slightly different in a slightly different way. So after many generations there could be a great degree of variation in the bacteria arising in speciation. This view allows multiple alternate histories to exist that many science fiction authors like to play with.

Now I don't truly believe this is true, I just thought it was was an interesting idea and thought it would be cool to put it up in here.To find out if this might be true could be decently easy. As with my first analogy if one looks hard enough they will notice that there is a frame rate and instead of characters moving smoothly throughhout the film they continuously make small little instantaneous jumps. Maybe, as our measuring devices become more and more precise, we will be able to notice the frame rate of time. This might not entirely prove this hypotheses but could show that it is feasible. I guess this is one of those hypotheses where people go "So?" and I can't really answer. I don't know how this view of the universe affects our lives and be used to make future predictions. I figure the most important view is that the universe has a "frame rate" and that time can be quantized, much like how energy has. It would be cool to see in the future that this idea is being seriously considered but I'll continue just watching the physics world and see what those crazy physicists come up with.