June 9

Can we “freeze” time like sci-fi movies?

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Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity showed that time can become different depending on how fast one observer moves relative to another.

Who has never wished to have the ability to “freeze” themselves in a happy moment or even prevent their loved one from leaving.

Time is only a fraction of the different parts of the universe.

Every once in a while, a sci-fi book, movie, or TV show introduces characters who can do what we all wish we could do and stop time.

But is such a thing possible? Answering that question requires us to delve into the furthest reaches of physics, philosophy, and human perception.

First, we must determine the time. Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, said: “For a physicist, it’s not so mysterious. Time is just a fraction of the different parts of the universe. We know when something is happening.”

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity showed that time can become different depending on how fast one observer moves relative to another.

If we send a person with a watch onto a spacecraft at near-light speed, time will seem to pass more slowly to them than it does to a stationary person left on Earth.

And an astronaut falling into a black hole, whose enormous gravity can warp time, could also slow down compared to a distant observer.

According to Albert Einstein’s theory, time is only relative.

But that’s really not the way to stop time, Mr. Carroll said.

To him, talking about stopping time made no sense. Mr. Carroll said: “We know that a car is in motion because at different times it is in a different place in space. Motion is a change with respect to time, so the the body of time cannot move”. In other words, if time stopped, all movement would also stop.

In sci-fi movies, a character stopped in time would also be unable to see anything because the rays of light would no longer reach their eyeballs. “There aren’t really any realistic scenarios where time would stop,” Carroll said.

Craig Callender, philosopher of time at the University of California, San Diego describes a famous psychological illusion known as “chronostasis,” in which a person places a watch at the edge of their field of vision and then looks at it. stare at something else for a moment. Looking back at the watch and focusing on the seconds hand will cause it to pause.

“The seconds hand definitely hangs there for a bit. You can freeze time,” says Callender.

Illusions involve small eye movements called saccades, in which your eyeballs rapidly blink back and forth to continuously take in your surroundings.

So what is the relationship between our perception of time and the time that physicists are talking about? Philosopher Callender has written several books that attempt to explore the connection between the two, however, there is still not much consensus on the final answer.

“If we think about our subjective sense of time, we can stop time by chronostasis,” says Callender. “But that’s probably the closest thing we can get.”


Tags

Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, chronostasis illusion, Craig Callender, freeze time, psychological illusion, relativity, science fiction movie, Sean Carroll


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