https://prod.nais.nasa.gov/pub/pub_library/unSol-Prop.

html
Scientific Secretary, ISRO
Indian Space Research Organisation
H!
"epartment o# Space!
$overnment o# India
%ntari&sh 'havan!
(e) '*+ Road!
'angalore ,-. /01
*-mail: scientificsecretary@isro.gov.i
n
Deputy Director, RESPOND
Indian Space Research Organisation
H!
"epartment o# Space!
$overnment o# India!
%ntari&sh 'havan!
(e) '*+ Road!
'angalore ,-. /01
*-mail: ddrespond@isro.gov.in
%t 2*R(! the *uropean Organi3ation #or (uclear Research! physicists and engineers are probing
the #undamental structure o# the universe. 4hey use the )orld5s largest and most comple6
scienti#ic instruments to study the basic constituents o# matter 7 the #undamental particles. 4he
particles are made to collide together at close to the speed o# light. 4he process gives the
physicists clues about ho) the particles interact! and provides insights into the #undamental la)s
o# nature.
4he instruments used at 2*R( are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. %ccelerators
boost beams o# particles to high energies be#ore the beams are made to collide )ith each other or
)ith stationary targets. "etectors observe and record the results o# these collisions.
8ounded in 19,:! the 2*R( laboratory sits astride the 8ranco-S)iss border near $eneva. It )as
one o# *urope5s #irst ;oint ventures and no) has /1 member states.
he name CERN
4he name 2*R( is derived #rom the acronym #or the 8rench <2onseil *urop=en pour la
Recherche (ucl=aire<! or *uropean 2ouncil #or (uclear Research! a provisional body #ounded in
19,/ )ith the mandate o# establishing a )orld-class #undamental physics research organi3ation
in *urope. %t that time! pure physics research concentrated on understanding the inside o# the
atom! hence the )ord <nuclear<.
4oday! our understanding o# matter goes much deeper than the nucleus! and 2*R(5s main area
o# research is particle physics 7 the study o# the #undamental constituents o# matter and the
#orces acting bet)een them. 'ecause o# this! the laboratory operated by 2*R( is o#ten re#erred
to as the *uropean +aboratory #or Particle Physics.
4he big bang should have created e>ual amounts o# matter and antimatter. So )hy is there #ar
more matter than antimatter in the universe?
In 19/@! 'ritish physicist Paul "irac )rote do)n an e>uation that combined >uantum theory and
special relativity to describe the behaviour o# an electron moving at a relativistic speed. 4he
e>uation 7 )hich )on "irac the (obel pri3e in 1900 7 posed a problem: ;ust as the e>uation 6
/
A:
can have t)o possible solutions B6A/ or 6A-/C! so "irac5s e>uation could have t)o solutions! one
#or an electron )ith positive energy! and one #or an electron )ith negative energy. 'ut classical
physics Band common senseC dictated that the energy o# a particle must al)ays be a positive
number.
"irac interpreted the e>uation to mean that #or every particle there e6ists a corresponding
antiparticle! e6actly matching the particle but )ith opposite charge. 8or the electron there should
be an <antielectron<! #or e6ample! identical in every )ay but )ith a positive electric charge. 4he
insight opened the possibility o# entire gala6ies and universes made o# antimatter.
'ut )hen matter and antimatter come into contact! they annihilate 7 disappearing in a #lash o#
energy. 4he big bang should have created e>ual amounts o# matter and antimatter. So )hy is
there #ar more matter than antimatter in the universe?
Chec out this time!ine for an overvie" of antimatter research
On : Duly /.1/! the %4+%S and 2ES e6periments at 2*R(5s +arge Hadron 2ollider announced
they had each observed a ne) particle in the mass region around 1/- $eF. 4his particle is
consistent )ith the Higgs boson but it )ill ta&e #urther )or& to determine )hether or not it is the
Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Eodel. 4he Higgs boson! as proposed )ithin
the Standard Eodel! is the simplest mani#estation o# the 'rout-*nglert-Higgs mechanism. Other
types o# Higgs bosons are predicted by other theories that go beyond the Standard Eodel.
On @ October /.10 the (obel pri3e in physics )as a)arded ;ointly to 8ranGois *nglert and
Peter Higgs <#or the theoretical discovery o# a mechanism that contributes to our understanding
o# the origin o# mass o# subatomic particles! and )hich recently )as con#irmed through the
discovery o# the predicted #undamental particle! by the %4+%S and 2ES e6periments at
2*R(5s +arge Hadron 2ollider.<
2*R(5s main #ocus is particle physics 7 the study o# the #undamental constituents o# matter 7 but
the physics programme at the laboratory is much broader! ranging #rom nuclear to high-energy
physics! #rom studies o# antimatter to the possible e##ects o# cosmic rays on clouds.
Since the 19H.s! particle physicists have described the #undamental structure o# matter using an
elegant series o# e>uations called the Standard Eodel. 4he model describes ho) everything that
they observe in the universe is made #rom a #e) basic bloc&s called #undamental particles!
governed by #our #orces. Physicists at 2*R( use the )orld5s most po)er#ul particle accelerators
and detectors to test the predictions and limits o# the Standard Eodel. Over the years it has
e6plained many e6perimental results and precisely predicted a range o# phenomena! such that
today it is considered a )ell-tested physics theory.
'ut the model only describes the :I o# the &no)n universe! and >uestions remain. Jill )e see a
uni#ication o# #orces at the high energies o# the +arge Hadron 2ollider B+H2C? Jhy is gravity so
)ea&? Jhy is there more matter than antimatter in the universe? Is there more e6otic physics
)aiting to be discovered at higher energies? Jill )e discover evidence #or a theory
called supersymmetry at the +H2? Or understand the Higgs boson that gives particles mass?
Physicists at 2*R( are loo&ing #or ans)ers to these >uestions and more 7 #ind out more belo).
In %ugust 191/! %ustrian physicist Fictor Hess made a historic balloon #light that opened a ne)
)indo) on matter in the universe. %s he ascended to ,0.. metres! he measured the rate o#
ioni3ation in the atmosphere and #ound that it increased to some three times that at sea level. He
concluded that penetrating radiation )as entering the atmosphere #rom above. He had discovered
cosmic rays.
4hese high-energy particles arriving #rom outer space are mainly B@9IC protons 7 nuclei o#
hydrogen! the lightest and most common element in the universe 7 but they also include nuclei o#
helium B1.IC and heavier nuclei B1IC! all the )ay up to uranium. Jhen they arrive at *arth!
they collide )ith the nuclei o# atoms in the upper atmosphere! creating more particles! mainly
pions. 4he charged pions can s)i#tly decay! emitting particles called muons. Knli&e pions! these
do not interact strongly )ith matter! and can travel through the atmosphere to penetrate belo)
ground. 4he rate o# muons arriving at the sur#ace o# the *arth is such that about one per second
passes through a volume the si3e o# a personLs head.
# ne" "or!d of partic!es
Studies o# cosmic rays opened the door to a )orld o# particles beyond the con#ines o# the atom:
the #irst particle o# antimatter! the positron Bthe antielectronC )as discovered in 190/! the muon
in 190H! #ollo)ed by the pion! the &aon and several more. Kntil the advent o# high-energy
particle accelerators in the early 19,.s! this natural radiation provided the only )ay to
investigate the gro)ing particle <3oo<. Indeed! )hen 2*R( )as #ounded in 19,:! its convention
included cosmic rays in the list o# scienti#ic interests. 'ut even though accelerators came to
provide the best hunting ground #or ne) particles! the physics o# cosmic rays is still )idely
studied.
4he energies o# the primary cosmic rays range #rom around 1 $eF 7 the energy o# a relatively
small particle accelerator 7 to as much as 1.
@
4eF! #ar higher than the beam energy o# the +arge
Hadron 2ollider. 4he rate at )hich these particles arrive at the top o# the atmosphere #alls o##
)ith increasing energy! #rom about 1.!... per s>uare metre per second at 1 $eF to less than one
per s>uare &ilometre per century #or the highest energy particles. 4he very high-energy cosmic
rays generate huge sho)ers o# up to 1. billion secondary particles or more! )hich can be pic&ed
up by particle detectors )hen they spread over areas as large as /. s>uare &ilometres at the
sur#ace o# the *arth.
Cosmic acce!erators
Dust ho) do cosmic rays reach such high energies? Jhere are the natural accelerators? 4he
lo)est energy cosmic rays arrive #rom the Sun in a stream o# charged particles &no)n as the
solar )ind! but pinning do)n the origin o# the higher-energy particles is made di##icult as they
t)ist and turn in the magnetic #ields o# interstellar space.
2lues have come through studying high-energy gamma rays #rom outer space. 4hese are #ar
#e)er than the charged cosmic rays! but being electrically neutral they are not in#luenced by
magnetic #ields. 4hey generate sho)ers o# secondary particles that can be detected on *arth and
)hich point bac& to)ards the point o# origin o# the gamma rays. Sources o# the highest energy
gamma rays in our o)n gala6y! the Eil&y Jay! include the remnants o# supernovae! such as the
#amous 2rab (ebulaM the shoc& )aves #rom these stellar e6plosions have long been proposed as
possible natural accelerators. Other sources o# ultra-high-energy gamma rays lie in other
gala6ies! )here e6otic ob;ects such as supermassive bac& holes may drive the acceleration. 4here
is also evidence that the highest energy charged cosmic rays also have similar origins in other
gala6ies.
$ala6ies in our universe seem to be achieving an impossible #eat. 4hey are rotating )ith such
speed that the gravity generated by their observable matter could not possibly hold them
togetherM they should have torn themselves apart long ago. 4he same is true o# gala6ies in
clusters! )hich leads scientists to believe that something )e cannot see is at )or&. 4hey thin&
something )e have yet to detect directly is giving these gala6ies e6tra mass! generating the e6tra
gravity they need to stay intact. 4his strange and un&no)n matter )as called Ndar& matterO since
it is not visible.
Dar matter
Knli&e normal matter! dar& matter does not interact )ith the electromagnetic #orce. 4his means it
does not absorb! re#lect or emit light! ma&ing it e6tremely hard to spot. In #act! researchers have
been able to in#er the e6istence o# dar& matter only #rom the gravitational e##ect it seems to have
on visible matter. "ar& matter seems to out)eigh visible matter roughly si6 to one! ma&ing up
about /-I o# all the matter in the universe. Here5s a sobering #act: 4he matter )e &no) and that
ma&es up all stars and gala6ies only accounts #or :I o# the content o# the universeP 'ut )hat is
dar& matter? One idea is that it could contain <supersymmetric particles< 7 hypothesi3ed particles
that are partners to those already &no)n in the Standard Eodel. *6periments at the+arge Hadron
2ollider B+H2C may provide more direct clues about dar& matter.
Eany theories say the dar& matter particles )ould be light enough to be produced at the +H2. I#
they )ere created at the +H2! they )ould escape through the detectors unnoticed. Ho)ever! they
)ould carry a)ay energy and momentum! so physicists could in#er their e6istence #rom the
amount o# energy and momentum NmissingO a#ter a collision. "ar& matter candidates arise
#re>uently in theories that suggest physics beyond the Standard Eodel! such as supersymmetry
and e6tra dimensions. One theory suggests the e6istence o# a NHidden FalleyO! a parallel )orld
made o# dar& matter having very little in common )ith matter )e &no). I# one o# these theories
proved to be true! it could help scientists gain a better understanding o# the composition o# our
universe and! in particular! ho) gala6ies hold together.
Dar energy
"ar& energy ma&es up appro6imately H.I o# the universe and appears to be associated )ith the
vacuum in space. It is distributed evenly throughout the universe! not only in space but also in
time 7 in other )ords! its e##ect is not diluted as the universe e6pands. 4he even distribution
means that dar& energy does not have any local gravitational e##ects! but rather a global e##ect on
the universe as a )hole. 4his leads to a repulsive #orce! )hich tends to accelerate the e6pansion
o# the universe. 4he rate o# e6pansion and its acceleration can be measured by observations
based on the Hubble la). 4hese measurements! together )ith other scienti#ic data! have
con#irmed the e6istence o# dar& energy and provide an estimate o# ;ust ho) much o# this
mysterious substance e6ists.
Jhy is gravity so much )ea&er than the other #undamental #orces? % small #ridge magnet is
enough to create an electromagnetic #orce greater than the gravitational pull e6erted by planet
*arth. One possibility is that )e donLt #eel the #ull e##ect o# gravity because part o# it spreads to
e6tra dimensions. 4hough it may sound li&e science #iction! i# e6tra dimensions e6ist! they could
e6plain )hy the universe is e6panding #aster than e6pected! and )hy gravity is )ea&er than the
other #orces o# nature.
# $uestion of sca!e
In our everyday lives! )e e6perience three spatial dimensions! and a #ourth dimension o# time.
Ho) could there be more? *insteinLs general theory o# relativity tells us that space can e6pand!
contract! and bend. (o) i# one dimension )ere to contract to a si3e smaller than an atom! it
)ould be hidden #rom our vie). 'ut i# )e could loo& on a small enough scale! that hidden
dimension might become visible again. Imagine a person )al&ing on a tightrope. She can only
move bac&)ard and #or)ardM but not le#t and right! nor up and do)n! so she only sees one
dimension. %nts living on a much smaller scale could move around the cable! in )hat )ould
appear li&e an e6tra dimension to the tightrope-)al&er.
Ho) could )e test #or e6tra dimensions? One option )ould be to #ind evidence o# particles that
can e6ist only i# e6tra dimensions are real. 4heories that suggest e6tra dimensions predict that! in
the same )ay as atoms have a lo)-energy ground state and e6cited high-energy states! there
)ould be heavier versions o# standard particles in other dimensions. 4hese heavier versions o#
particles 7 called Qalu3a-Qlein states 7 )ould have e6actly the same properties as standard
particles Band so be visible to our detectorsC but )ith a greater mass. I# 2ES or %4+%S )ere to
#ind a R- or J-li&e particle Bthe R and J bosons being carriers o# the electro)ea& #orceC )ith a
mass 1.. times larger #or instance! this might suggest the presence o# e6tra dimensions. Such
heavy particles can only be revealed at the high energies reached by the +arge Hadron
2ollider B+H2C.
# !itt!e piece of gravity%
Some theorists suggest that a particle called the NgravitonO is associated )ith gravity in the same
)ay as the photon is associated )ith the electromagnetic #orce. I# gravitons e6ist! it should be
possible to create them at the +H2! but they )ould rapidly disappear into e6tra dimensions.
2ollisions in particle accelerators al)ays create balanced events 7 ;ust li&e #ire)or&s 7 )ith
particles #lying out in all directions. % graviton might escape our detectors! leaving an empty
3one that )e notice as an imbalance in momentum and energy in the event. Je )ould need to
care#ully study the properties o# the missing ob;ect to )or& out )hether it is a graviton escaping
to another dimension or something else. 4his method o# searching #or missing energy in events is
also used to loo& #or dar& matter or supersymmetric particles.
&icroscopic '!ac ho!es
%nother )ay o# revealing e6tra dimensions )ould be through the production o# Nmicroscopic
blac& holesO. Jhat e6actly )e )ould detect )ould depend on the number o# e6tra dimensions!
the mass o# the blac& hole! the si3e o# the dimensions and the energy at )hich the blac& hole
occurs. I# micro blac& holes do appear in the collisions created by the +H2! they )ould
disintegrate rapidly! in around 1.
-/H
seconds. 4hey )ould decay into Standard Eodel or
supersymmetric particles! creating events containing an e6ceptional number o# trac&s in our
detectors! )hich )e )ould easily spot. 8inding more on any o# these sub;ects )ould open the
door to yet un&no)n possibilities.
8or a #e) millionths o# a second! shortly a#ter the big bang! the universe )as #illed )ith an
astonishingly hot! dense soup made o# all &inds o# particles moving at near light speed. 4his
mi6ture )as dominated by >uar&s 7 #undamental bits o# matter 7 and by gluons! carriers o# the
strong #orce that normally NglueO >uar&s together into #amiliar protons and neutrons and other
species. In those #irst evanescent moments o# e6treme temperature! ho)ever! >uar&s and gluons
)ere bound only )ea&ly! #ree to move on their o)n in )hatLs called a >uar&-gluon plasma.
4o recreate conditions similar to those o# the very early universe! po)er#ulaccelerators ma&e
head-on collisions bet)een massive ions! such as gold or lead nuclei. In these heavy-ion
collisions the hundreds o# protons and neutrons in t)o such nuclei smash into one another at
energies o# up)ards o# a #e) trillion electronvolts each. 4his #orms a miniscule #ireball in )hich
everything NmeltsO into a >uar&-gluon plasma.
4he #ireball instantly cools! and the individual >uar&s and gluons Bcollectively called partonsC
recombine into a bli33ard o# ordinary matter that speeds a)ay in all directions. 4he debris
contains particles such as pions and &aons! )hich are made o# a >uar& and an anti>uar&M protons
and neutrons! made o# three >uar&sM and even copious antiprotons and antineutrons! )hich may
combine to #orm the nuclei o# antiatoms as heavy as helium. Euch can be learned by studying
the distribution and energy o# this debris. %n early discovery )as that the >uar&-gluon plasma
behaves more li&e a per#ect #luid )ith small viscosity than li&e a gas! as many researchers had
e6pected.
One type o# debris is rare but particularly instructive. In an initial heavy-ion collision! pairs o#
>uar&s or gluons may slam directly into each other and scatter bac&-to-bac& 7 a spurt o# energy
that >uic&ly condenses to a ;et o# pions! &aons! and other particles. 8irst observed in accelerator-
based e6periments in the early 19@.s! ;ets are #undamental to >uantum chromodynamics! the
theory that e6plains ho) >uar&s and gluons can combine depending on their di##erent NcoloursO
Ba >uantum property that has nothing to do )ith visible coloursC.
In heavy-ion collisions! the #irst evidence #or ;ets )as seen in /..0 in
the S4%R andPH*(IS e6periments at 'roo&haven (ational +aboratoryLs Relativistic Heavy Ion
2ollider BRHI2C in the KS. 4hese ;ets sho)ed a remar&able di##erence #rom those in simpler
collisions! ho)ever. In the most stri&ing measurement! S4%R observed that one o# the t)o bac&-
to-bac& ;ets )as invariably N>uenched!O sometimes )ea&ened and sometimes completely
e6tinguished. 4he #urther a ;et has to push through the dense #ireball o# a heavy-ion collision 7
0. to ,. times as dense as an ordinary nucleus 7 the more energy it loses.
Dets are Nhard probesO! by nature strongly interacting but moving so #ast and )ith so much
energy that they are o#ten not completely absorbed by the surrounding >uar&s and gluons in the
>uar&-gluon plasma. 4he degree o# ;et >uenching 7 a #igure that emerges in data #rom millions o#
collision events 7 plus the ;ets5 orientation! directionality! composition! and ho) they trans#er
energy and momentum to the medium! reveal )hatLs inside the #ireball and thus the properties o#
the >uar&-gluon plasma.
Recently the %+I2*! %4+%S and 2ES e6periments at 2*R(Ls +arge Hadron 2olliderB+H2C
have con#irmed the phenomenon o# ;et >uenching in heavy-ion collisions. 4he much greater
collision energies at the +H2 push measurements to much higher ;et energies than are accessible
at RHI2! allo)ing ne) and more detailed characteri3ation o# the >uar&-gluon plasma.
4heoretical understanding o# these measurements is challenging! ho)ever! and is one o# the most
important problems in >uantum chromodynamics today.
Scientists at 2*R( are trying to #ind out )hat the smallest building bloc&s o# matter are.
%ll matter e6cept dar& matter is made o# molecules! )hich are themselves made o# atoms. Inside
the atoms! there are electrons spinning around the nucleus. 4he nucleus itsel# is generally made
o# protons and neutrons but even these are composite ob;ects. Inside the protons and neutrons!
)e #ind the >uar&s! but these appear to be indivisible! ;ust li&e the electrons.
uar&s and electrons are some o# the elementary particles )e study at 2*R( and in other
laboratories. 'ut physicists have #ound more o# these elementary particles in various
e6periments! so many in #act that researchers needed to organi3e them! ;ust li&e Eendeleev did
)ith his periodic table.
4his is summari3ed in a concise theoretical model called the Standard Eodel. 4oday! )e have a
very good idea o# )hat matter is made o#! ho) it all holds together and ho) these particles
interact )ith each other.
4he Standard Eodel has )or&ed beauti#ully to predict )hat e6periments have sho)n so #ar about
the basic building bloc&s o# matter! but physicists recogni3e that it is incomplete. Supersymmetry
is an e6tension o# the Standard Eodel that aims to #ill some o# the gaps. It predicts a partner
particle #or each particle in the Standard Eodel. 4hese ne) particles )ould solve a ma;or
problem )ith the Standard Eodel 7 #i6ing the mass o# the Higgs boson. I# the theory is correct!
supersymmetric particles should appear in collisions at the +H2.
%t #irst sight! the Standard Eodel seems to predict that all particles should be massless! an idea
at odds )ith )hat )e observe around us. 4heorists have come up )ith a mechanism to give
particles masses that re>uires the e6istence o# a ne) particle! the Higgs boson. Ho)ever! it is a
pu33le )hy the Higgs boson should be light! as interactions bet)een it and Standard-Eodel
particles )ould tend to ma&e it very heavy. 4he e6tra particles predicted by supersymmetry
)ould cancel out the contributions to the Higgs mass #rom their Standard-Eodel partners!
ma&ing a light Higgs boson possible. 4he ne) particles )ould interact through the same #orces
as Standard-Eodel particles! but they )ould have di##erent masses. I# supersymmetric particles
)ere included in the Standard Eodel! the interactions o# its three #orces 7 electromagnetism and
the strong and )ea& nuclear #orces 7 could have the e6act same strength at very high energies! as
in the early universe. % theory that unites the #orces mathematically is called a grand uni#ied
theory! a dream o# physicists including *instein.
Supersymmetry )ould also lin& the t)o di##erent classes o# particles &no)n as #ermions and
bosons. Particles li&e those in the Standard Eodel are classi#ied as #ermions or bosons based on a
property &no)n as spin. 8ermions all have hal# o# a unit o# spin! )hile the bosons have .! 1 or /
units o# spin. Supersymmetry predicts that each o# the particles in the Standard Eodel has a
partner )ith a spin that di##ers by hal# o# a unit. So bosons are accompanied by #ermions and vice
versa. +in&ed to their di##erences in spin are di##erences in their collective properties. 8ermions
are very stando##ishM every one must be in a di##erent state. On the other hand! bosons are very
clannishM they pre#er to be in the same state. 8ermions and bosons seem as di##erent as could be!
yet supersymmetry brings the t)o types together.
8inally! in many theories scientists predict the lighest supersymmetric particle to be stable and
electrically neutral and to interact )ea&ly )ith the particles o# the Standard Eodel. 4hese are
e6actly the characteristics re>uired #or dar& matter! thought to ma&e up most o# the matter in the
universe and to hold gala6ies together. 4he Standard Eodel alone does not provide an
e6planation #or dar& matter. Supersymmetry is a #rame)or& that builds upon the Standard
EodelLs strong #oundation to create a more comprehensive picture o# our )orld. Perhaps the
reason )e still have some o# these >uestions about the inner )or&ings o# the universe is because
)e have so #ar only seen hal# o# the picture.
(he 'ig 'ang
In 19/9 the %merican astronomer *d)in Hubble discovered that the distances to #ar-a)ay
gala6ies )ere proportional to their redshi#ts. Redshi#t occurs )hen a light source moves a)ay
#rom its observer: the light5s apparent )avelength is stretched via the "oppler e##ect to)ards the
red part o# the spectrum. HubbleLs observation implied that distant gala6ies )ere moving a)ay
#rom us! as the #urthest gala6ies had the #astest apparent velocities. I# gala6ies are moving a)ay
#rom us! reasoned Hubble! then at some time in the past! they must have been clustered close
together.
HubbleLs discovery )as the #irst observational support #or $eorges +eEaTtreLs big bang theory
o# the universe! proposed in 19/H. +eEaTtre proposed that the universe e6panded e6plosively
#rom an e6tremely dense and hot state! and continues to e6pand today. Subse>uent calculations
have dated this big bang to appro6imately 10.H billion years ago. In 199@ t)o teams o#
astronomers )or&ing independently at 'er&eley! 2ali#ornia observed that supernovae 7
e6ploding stars 7 )ere moving a)ay #rom *arth at an accelerating rate. 4his earned them
the (obel pri3e in physics in /.11. Physicists had assumed that more matter in the universe
)ould slo) its rate o# e6pansionM gravity )ould eventually cause the universe to #all bac& on its
centre. 4hough the big bang theory cannot describe )hat the conditions )ere at the very
beginning o# the universe! it can help physicists describe the earliest moments a#ter the start o#
the e6pansion.
Origins
In the #irst moments a#ter the big bang! the universe )as e6tremely hot and dense. %s the
universe cooled! conditions became ;ust right to give rise to the building bloc&s o# matter 7 the
>uar&s and electrons o# )hich )e are all made. % #e) millionths o# a second later! >uar&s
aggregated to produce protons and neutrons. Jithin minutes! these protons and neutrons
combined into nuclei. %s the universe continued to e6pand and cool! things began to happen
more slo)ly. It too& 0@.!... years #or electrons to be trapped in orbits around nuclei! #orming
the #irst atoms. 4hese )ere mainly helium and hydrogen! )hich are still by #ar the most abundant
elements in the universe. 1.- million years later! gravity began to #orm stars and gala6ies #rom
clouds o# gas. Heavier atoms such as carbon! o6ygen and iron! have since been continuously
produced in the hearts o# stars and catapulted throughout the universe in spectacular stellar
e6plosions called supernovae.
'ut stars and gala6ies do not tell the )hole story. %stronomical and physical calculations suggest
that the visible universe is only a tiny amount B:IC o# )hat the universe is actually made o#. %
very large #raction o# the universe! in #act /-I! is made o# an un&no)n type o# matter called
Ndar& matterO. Knli&e stars and gala6ies! dar& matter does not emit any light or electromagnetic
radiation o# any &ind! so that )e can detect it only through its gravitational e##ects.
%n even more mysterious #orm o# energy called Ndar& energyO accounts #or about H.I o# the
mass-energy content o# the universe. *ven less is &no)n about it than dar& matter. 4his idea
stems #rom the observation that all gala6ies seems to be receding #rom each other at an
accelerating pace! implying that some invisible e6tra energy is at )or&.
n 19/@! 'ritish physicist Paul "irac )rote do)n an e>uation that combined >uantum theory and
special relativity to describe the behaviour o# an electron moving at a relativistic speed. 4he
e>uation 7 )hich )on "irac the (obel pri3e in 1900 7 posed a problem: ;ust as the e>uation 6
/
A:
can have t)o possible solutions B6A/ or 6A-/C! so "irac5s e>uation could have t)o solutions! one
#or an electron )ith positive energy! and one #or an electron )ith negative energy. 'ut classical
physics Band common senseC dictated that the energy o# a particle must al)ays be a positive
number.
"irac interpreted the e>uation to mean that #or every particle there e6ists a corresponding
antiparticle! e6actly matching the particle but )ith opposite charge. 8or the electron there should
be an <antielectron<! #or e6ample! identical in every )ay but )ith a positive electric charge. 4he
insight opened the possibility o# entire gala6ies and universes made o# antimatter.
'ut )hen matter and antimatter come into contact! they annihilate 7 disappearing in a #lash o#
energy. 4he big bang should have created e>ual amounts o# matter and antimatter. So )hy is
there #ar more matter than antimatter in the universe?
4he theories and discoveries o# thousands o# physicists since the 190.s have resulted in a
remar&able insight into the #undamental structure o# matter: everything in the universe is #ound
to be made #rom a #e) basic building bloc&s called #undamental particles! governed by #our
#undamental #orces. Our best understanding o# ho) these particles and three o# the #orces are
related to each other is encapsulated in the Standard Eodel o# particle physics. "eveloped in the
early 19H.s! it has success#ully e6plained almost all e6perimental results and precisely predicted
a )ide variety o# phenomena. Over time and through many e6periments! the Standard Eodel has
become established as a )ell-tested physics theory.
&atter partic!es
%ll matter around us is made o# elementary particles! the building bloc&s o# matter. 4hese
particles occur in t)o basic types called >uar&s and leptons. *ach group consists o# si6 particles!
)hich are related in pairs! or NgenerationsO. 4he lightest and most stable particles ma&e up the
#irst generation! )hereas the heavier and less stable particles belong to the second and third
generations. %ll stable matter in the universe is made #rom particles that belong to the #irst
generationM any heavier particles >uic&ly decay to the ne6t most stable level. 4he si6 >uar&s are
paired in the three generations 7 the Nup >uar&O and the Ndo)n >uar&O #orm the #irst generation!
#ollo)ed by the Ncharm >uar&O and Nstrange >uar&O! then the Ntop >uar&O and Nbottom Bor
beautyC >uar&O. uar&s also come in three di##erent NcoloursO and only mi6 in such )ays as to
#orm colourless ob;ects. 4he si6 leptons are similarly arranged in three generations 7 the
NelectronO and the Nelectron neutrinoO! the NmuonO and the Nmuon neutrinoO! and the NtauO and
the Ntau neutrinoO. 4he electron! the muon and the tau all have an electric charge and a si3eable
mass! )hereas the neutrinos are electrically neutral and have very little mass.
)orces and carrier partic!es
4here are #our #undamental #orces at )or& in the universe: the strong #orce! the )ea& #orce! the
electromagnetic #orce! and the gravitational #orce. 4hey )or& over di##erent ranges and have
di##erent strengths. $ravity is the )ea&est but it has an in#inite range. 4he electromagnetic #orce
also has in#inite range but it is many times stronger than gravity. 4he )ea& and strong #orces are
e##ective only over a very short range and dominate only at the level o# subatomic particles.
"espite its name! the )ea& #orce is much stronger than gravity but it is indeed the )ea&est o# the
other three. 4he strong #orce! as the name suggests! is the strongest o# all #our #undamental
interactions.
4hree o# the #undamental #orces result #rom the e6change o# #orce-carrier particles! )hich belong
to a broader group called NbosonsO. Particles o# matter trans#er discrete amounts o# energy by
e6changing bosons )ith each other. *ach #undamental #orce has its o)n corresponding boson 7
the strong #orce is carried by the NgluonO! the electromagnetic #orce is carried by the NphotonO!
and the NJ and R bosonsO are responsible #or the )ea& #orce. %lthough not yet #ound! the
NgravitonO should be the corresponding #orce-carrying particle o# gravity. 4he Standard Eodel
includes the electromagnetic! strong and )ea& #orces and all their carrier particles! and e6plains
)ell ho) these #orces act on all o# the matter particles. Ho)ever! the most #amiliar #orce in our
everyday lives! gravity! is not part o# the Standard Eodel! as #itting gravity com#ortably into this
#rame)or& has proved to be a di##icult challenge. 4he >uantum theory used to describe the micro
)orld! and the general theory o# relativity used to describe the macro )orld! are di##icult to #it
into a single #rame)or&. (o one has managed to ma&e the t)o mathematically compatible in the
conte6t o# the Standard Eodel. 'ut luc&ily #or particle physics! )hen it comes to the minuscule
scale o# particles! the e##ect o# gravity is so )ea& as to be negligible. Only )hen matter is in
bul&! at the scale o# the human body or o# the planets #or e6ample! does the e##ect o# gravity
dominate. So the Standard Eodel still )or&s )ell despite its reluctant e6clusion o# one o# the
#undamental #orces.
So far so good, 'ut...
...it is not time #or physicists to call it a day ;ust yet. *ven though the Standard Eodel is currently
the best description there is o# the subatomic )orld! it does not e6plain the complete picture. 4he
theory incorporates only three out o# the #our #undamental #orces! omitting gravity. 4here are
also important >uestions that it does not ans)er! such as NJhat is dar& matter?O! or NJhat
happened to the antimatter a#ter the big bang?O! NJhy are there three generations o# >uar&s and
leptons )ith such a di##erent mass scale?O and more. +ast but not least is a particle called
the Higgs boson! an essential component o# the Standard Eodel.
On : Duly /.1/! the %4+%S and 2ES e6periments at 2*R(5s +arge Hadron 2olliderB+H2C
announced they had each observed a ne) particle in the mass region around 1/- $eF. 4his
particle is consistent )ith the Higgs boson but it )ill ta&e #urther )or& to determine )hether or
not it is the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Eodel. 4he Higgs boson! as proposed )ithin
the Standard Eodel! is the simplest mani#estation o# the 'rout-*nglert-Higgs mechanism. Other
types o# Higgs bosons are predicted by other theories that go beyond the Standard Eodel.
On @ October /.10 the (obel pri3e in physics )as a)arded ;ointly to 8ranGois *nglert and Peter
Higgs <#or the theoretical discovery o# a mechanism that contributes to our understanding o# the
origin o# mass o# subatomic particles! and )hich recently )as con#irmed through the discovery
o# the predicted #undamental particle! by the %4+%S and 2ES e6periments at 2*R(5s +arge
Hadron 2ollider.<
So although the Standard Eodel accurately describes the phenomena )ithin its domain! it is still
incomplete. Perhaps it is only a part o# a bigger picture that includes ne) physics hidden deep in
the subatomic )orld or in the dar& recesses o# the universe. (e) in#ormation #rom e6periments
at the +H2 )ill help us to #ind more o# these missing pieces.
"iscovered in 19@0 by physicists at the Super Proton Synchrotron at 2*R(! the Z boson is a
neutral elementary particle. +i&e its electrically charged cousin! the J! the R boson carries the
)ea& #orce.
4he )ea& #orce is essentially as strong as the electromagnetic #orce! but it appears )ea& because
its in#luence is limited by the large mass o# the R and J bosons. 4heir mass limits the range o#
the )ea& #orce to about 1.
-1@
metres! and it vanishes altogether beyond the radius o# a single
proton.
*nrico 8ermi )as the #irst to put #orth a theory o# the )ea& #orce in 1900! but it )as not until the
19-.s that Sheldon $lasho)! %bdus Salam and Steven Jeinberg developed the theory in its
present #orm! )hen they proposed that the )ea& and electromagnetic #orces are actually di##erent
mani#estations o# one electro)ea& #orce.
'y emitting an electrically charged J boson! the )ea& #orce can cause a particle such as the
proton to change its charge by changing the #lavour o# its >uar&s. In 19,@! Sidney 'ludman
suggested that there might be another arm o# the )ea& #orce! the so-called <)ea& neutral
current!< mediated by an uncharged partner o# the J bosons! )hich later became &no)n as the R
boson.
Physicists )or&ing )ith the $argamelle bubble chamber e6periment at 2*R( presented the #irst
convincing evidence to support this idea in 19H0. (eutrinos are particles that interact only via the
)ea& interaction! and )hen the physicists shot neutrinos through the bubble chamber they )ere
able to detect evidence o# the )ea& neutral current! and hence indirect evidence #or the R boson.
%t the end o# the 19H.s! 2*R( converted )hat )as then its biggest accelerator! the Super Proton
Synchrotron! to operate as a proton-antiproton collider! )ith the aim o# producing J and R
bosons directly. 'oth types o# particle )ere observed there #or the #irst time in 19@0. 4he bosons
)ere then studied in more detail at 2*R( and at 8ermi (ational %ccelerator +aboratory in the
KS.
"uring the 199.s! the +arge *lectron-Positron collider at 2*R( and the S+%2 +inear 2ollider
in the KS produced millions o# R bosons #or #urther study.
4hese results culminated in the need to search #or the #inal piece o# the Standard Eodel7
the Higgs boson. In Duly /.1/! scientists at 2*R( announced that they had observed a ne)
particle consistent )ith the appearance o# a Higgs boson.
%lthough more time and analysis is needed to determine i# this is the particle predicted by the
Standard Eodel! the discovery o# the elusive R bosons set the stage #or this important
development.
In the 1@-.s! Dames 2ler& Ea6)ell recogni3ed the similarities bet)een electricity and
magnetism and developed his theory o# a single electromagnetic #orce. % similar discovery came
a century later! )hen theorists began to develop lin&s bet)een electromagnetism! )ith its
obvious e##ects in everyday li#e! and the )ea& #orce! )hich normally hides )ithin the atomic
nucleus.
Support #or these ideas came #irst #rom the $argamelle e6periment at 2*R( 7 )hen physicists
#ound the #irst direct evidence o# the )ea& neutral current! )hich re>uired the e6istence o# a
neutral particle to carry the )ea& #undamental #orce. 8urther support came #rom the (obel-pri3e-
)inning discovery o# the J and R particles! )hich carry the electro)ea& #orce.
'ut it is only at the higher energies e6plored in particle collisions at 2*R( and other laboratories
that the electromagnetic and )ea& #orces begin to act on e>ual terms. Jill the uni#ication o#
other #orces emerge at even higher energies? *6periments already sho) that the e##ect o# the
strong #orce becomes )ea&er as energies increase. 4his is a good indication that at incredibly
high energies! the strengths o# the electromagnetic! )ea& and strong #orces are probably the
same. 4he energies involved are at least a thousand million times greater than particle
accelerators can reach! but such conditions )ould have e6isted in the early universe! almost
immediately B1.
-0:
secondsC a#ter the big bang.
Pushing the concept a step #urther! theorists even contemplate the possibility o# including gravity
at still higher energies! thereby uni#ying all o# the #undamental #orces into one. 4his <uni#ied
#orce< )ould have ruled in the #irst instants o# the universe! be#ore its di##erent components
separated out as the universe cooled. %lthough at present )e cannot recreate conditions )ith
energy high enough to test these ideas directly! )e can loo& #or the conse>uences o# Ngrand
uni#icationO at lo)er energies! #or instance at the +arge Hadron 2ollider. % very popular idea
suggested by such a uni#ication is called supersymmetry.
"iscovered in 19@0! the J boson is a #undamental particle. 4ogether )ith the R boson! it is
responsible #or the )ea& #orce! one o# #our #undamental #orces that govern the behaviour o#
matter in our universe. Particles o# matter interact by e6changing these bosons! but only over
short distances.
4he J boson! )hich is electrically charged! changes the very ma&e up o# particles. It s)itches
protons into neutrons! and vice versa! through the )ea& #orce! triggering nuclear #usion and
letting stars burn. 4his burning also creates heavier elements and! )hen a star dies! those
elements are tossed into space as the building bloc&s #or planets and even people.
4he )ea& #orce )as combined )ith the electromagnetic #orce in theories o# a uni#ied
electro)ea& #orce in the 19-.s! in an e##ort to ma&e the basic physics mathematically consistent.
'ut the theory called #or the #orce-carrying particles to be massless! even though scientists &ne)
the theoretical J boson had to be heavy to account #or its short range. 4heorists accounted #or
the mass o# the J by introducing another unseen mechanism. 4his became &no)n as the Higgs
mechanism! )hich calls #or the e6istence o# a Higgs boson.
%s announced in Duly o# /.1/ at 2*R(! scientists have discovered a boson that loo&s much li&e
the particle predicted by Peter Higgs! among others. Jhile this boson is not yet con#irmed as the
Higgs boson predicted to ma&e sense o# the electro)ea& #orce! the J boson had a large part in
its discovery.
In Earch /.1/! scientists at 8ermilab in the KS con#irmed the most precise measurement o# the
J bosonLs mass to date! at @..0@, U/- ...1- $eF/c
/
. %ccording to the predictions o#
the Standard Eodel! )hich ta&es into account electro)ea& theory and the theory o# the Higgs
mechanism! the J boson at that mass should point to the Higgs boson at a mass o# less than 1:,
$eF. 'oth the %4+%S and 2ES collaborations place the mass o# the ne) Higgs-li&e boson at
about 1/, $eF! )ell )ithin range.
2ontact Ks
Research Sections
 H*2%P - rosannaVictp.it
 2ESP - cmVictp.it
 Eath - mathVictp.it
 *SP - espVictp.it
4he Eathematics section is mainly oriented to)ards geometry and analysis. It has played an
important role in #ostering mathematics research and education in developing countries.
2ontact Ks
*o" to contact us
)or genera! in$uiries, p!ease contact the &athematics secretariat+
Es. %lessandra 'ergamo
Office+ +' room 1.-
Phone+ U09 .:. //:. /.1
)a,+ U09 .:. //:. H:9.
Emai!+ mathVictp.it
http://))).andersoninstitute.com/physics-o#-time.html
time, a measured or measurable period! a continuum that lac&s spatial dimensions. 4ime is o#
philosophical interest and is also the sub;ect o# mathematical and scienti#ic investigation
Time and its role in the history of thought and action
Nature and definition of time
4ime appears to be more pu33ling than space because it seems to #lo) or pass or else people
seem to advance through it. 'ut the passage or advance seems to be unintelligible. 4he >uestion
o# ho) many seconds per second time #lo)s Bor one advances through itC is obviously an absurd
one! #or it suggests that the #lo) or advance comprises a rate o# change )ith respect to something
elseWto a sort o# hypertime. 'ut i# this hypertime itsel# #lo)s! then a hyper-hypertime is
re>uired! and so on! ad in#initum. %gain! i# the )orld is thought o# as spread out in space7time! it
might be as&ed )hether human consciousness advances up a timeli&e direction o# this )orld and!
i# so! ho) #astM )hether#uture events pop into e6istence as the Nno)O reaches them or are there
all alongM and ho) such changes in space7time can be represented! since time is already )ithin
the picture. BOrdinary change can! o# course! be represented in a space7time picture: #or e6ample!
a particle at rest is represented by a straight line and an oscillating particle by a )avy line.C
n the #ace o# these di##iculties! philosophers tend to divide into t)o sorts: the Nprocess
philosophersO and the Nphilosophers o# the mani#old.O Process philosophersWsuch as %l#red
(orth Jhitehead! an %nglo-%merican metaphysician )ho died in 19:HWhold that the #lo) o#
time Bor human advance through itC is an important metaphysical #act. +i&e the 8rench
intuitionist Henri 'ergson! they may hold that this #lo) can be grasped only by nonrational
intuition. 'ergson even held that the scienti#ic concept o# time as a dimension actually
misrepresents reality. Philosophers o# the mani#old hold that the #lo) o# time or human advance
through time is an illusion. 4hey argue! #or e6ample! that )ords such as past! #uture! and no) ! as
)ell as the tenses o# verbs! are inde6ical e6pressions that re#er to the act o# their o)n utterance.
Hence! the alleged change o# an event #rom being #uture to being past is an illusion. 4o say that
the event is #uture is to assert that it is later than this utteranceM then later yet! )hen one says that
it is in the past! he or she asserts that it is earlier than that other utterance.Past and future are not
real predicates o# events in this vie)M and change in respect o# them is not a genuine change.
%gain! although process philosophers thin& o# the #uture as someho) open or indeterminate!
)hereas the past is unchangeable! #i6ed! determinate! philosophers o# the mani#old hold that it is
as much nonsense to tal& o# changing the #uture as it is to tal& o# changing the past. I# a person
decides to point le#t rather than to point right! then pointing le#t is )hat the #uture )as.
Eoreover! this thesis o# the determinateness o# the #uture! they argue! must not be con#used
)ith determinism! the theory that there are la)s )hereby later states o# the universe may be
deduced #rom earlier states Bor vice versaC. 4he philosophy o# the mani#old is neutral about this
issue. 8uture events may )ell e6ist and yet not be connected in a su##iciently la)li&e )ay )ith
earlier ones.
One o# the #eatures o# time that pu33led the Platonist %ugustine! in the ,th century %"! )as the
di##iculty o# de#ining it. In contemporary philosophy o# language! ho)ever Bin#luenced
by +ud)ig Jittgenstein! a 2ambridge philosopherC! no mystery is seen in this tas&. +earning to
handle the )ordtime involves a multiplicity o# verbal s&ills! including the ability to handle such
connected )ords asearlier! later! now! second! and hour. 4hese verbal s&ills have to be pic&ed up
in very comple6 )ays Bpartly by ostensionC! and it is not surprising that the meaning o# the
)ord time cannot be distilled into a neat verbal de#inition. BIt is not! #or e6ample! an abbreviating
)ord li&e bachelor.C
4he philosophy o# time bears po)er#ully on human emotions. (ot only do individuals regret the
past! they also #ear the #uture! not least because the alleged #lo) o# time seems to be s)eeping
them to)ard their deaths! as s)immers are s)ept to)ard a )ater#all.
John Jamieson Carswell Smart
Prescientific conceptions of time and their inf!uence
(*E INDI-ID.#/0S E1PERIENCE #ND O2SER-#(ION O) (I&E
4he irreversibility and ine6orability o# the passage o# time is borne in on human beings by the
#act o# death. Knli&e other living creatures! they &no) that their lives may be cut short at any
moment and that! even i# they attain the #ull e6pectation o# human li#e! their gro)th is bound to
be #ollo)ed by eventual decay and! in due time! death Bsee also time perceptionC.
%lthough there is no generally accepted evidence that death is not the conclusive end o# li#e! it is
a tenet o# some religions Be.g.! o# Roroastrianism! Dudaism! 2hristianity! and IslXmC that death is
#ollo)ed by everlasting li# e else)hereWin sheol! hell! or heavenWand that eventually there )ill
be a universal physical resurrection. Others Be.g.! 'uddhists! Orphics! Pythagoreans! and PlatoC
have held that people are reborn in the time #lo) o# li#e on *arth and that the notion that a human
being has only one li#e on *arth is the illusion o# a lost memory. 4he 'uddha claimed to
recollect all o# his previous lives. 4he $ree& philosophers Pythagoras and *mpedocles! o# the -th
and early ,th centuries '2! )hose lives probably overlapped that o# the 'uddha! li&e)ise
claimed to recollect some o# their previous lives. Such rebirths! they held! )ould continue to
recur unless a person should succeed in brea&ing the vicious circle Breleasing himsel# #rom the
Nsorro)#ul )heelOC by strenuous ascetic per#ormances.
4he belie# that a personLs li#e in time on *arth is repetitive may have been an in#erence #rom the
observed repetitiveness o# phenomena in the environment. 4he day-and-night cycle and the
annual cycle o# the seasons dominated the conduct o# human li#e until the recent harnessing o#
inanimate physical #orces in the Industrial Revolution made it possible #or )or& to be carried on
#or /: hours aday throughout the yearWunder cover! by arti#icial light! and at a
controlled temperature. 4here is also the generation cycle! )hich the Industrial Revolution has
not suppressed: the generations still replace each other! in spite o# the lengthening o# li#e
e6pectancies. In some societies it has been customary to give a manLs son a di##erent name but to
give his grandson the same name. 4o name #ather and son di##erently is an admission that
generations changeM but to name grand#ather and grandson the same is perhaps an intimation that
the grandson is the grand#ather reincarnate.
4hus! though every human being has the e6perience o# irreversible change in his o)n li#e! he
also observes cyclic change in his environmentM hence the adherents o# some religions and
philosophies have in#erred that! despite appearances! time #lo)s cyclically #or the individual
human being! too.
4he human e6perience and observation o# time has been variously interpreted. Parmenides! an
Italiote $ree& B*leaticC philosopher B-th7,th century '2C and Reno! his #ello) to)nsman and
disciple! held that change is logically inconceivable and that logic is a surer indicator o# reality
than e6perienceM thus! despite appearances! reality is unitary and motionless. In this vie)! time is
an illusion. 4he illusoriness o# the )orld that N#lo)sO in time is also to be #ound in some Indian
philosophy. 4he 'uddha and! among the $ree&s! Plato and Plotinus! all held that li#e in the time
#lo)! though not )holly illusory! is at best a lo)-grade condition by comparison! respectively!
)ith the 'uddhist (irvXṇa Bin )hich desires are e6tinguishedC and )ith the Platonic )orld o#
IdeasM i.e.! o# incorporeal timeless e6emplars! o# )hich phenomena in the time #lo) are imper#ect
and ephemeral copies.
It has been held! ho)everWe.g.! by disciples o# the $ree& philosopher HeracleitusWthat the time
#lo) is o# the essence o# reality. Others have held that li#e in the time #lo)! though it may be
)retched! is nevertheless momentousM #or it is here that a person decides his destiny. In the
'uddhist vie)! a personLs conduct in any one o# his successive lives on *arth )ill increase or
diminish his prospects o# eventually brea&ing out o# the cycle o# recurrent births. 8or those )ho
believe in only one earthly li#e! ho)ever! the momentousness o# li#e in the time #lo) is still
greater because this li#e )ill be #ollo)ed by an everlasting li#e at a destination decided by
conduct in this brie# and pain#ul testing time. 4he vie) that li#e in time on *arth is a probation
#or )eal or )oe in an everlasting #uture has o#ten been associatedWas it )as by the Iranian
prophet Roroaster Bc. -.. '2CW)ith a belie# in a general ;udgment o# all )ho have ever lived to
be held on a common ;udgment day! )hich )ill be the end o# time. 4he belie# in an immediate
individual ;udgment )as also held in pharaonic *gypt. 'oth o# these belie#s have been adopted
by De)s! 2hristians! and Euslims.
C3C/IC -IE4 O) (I&E IN (*E P*I/OSOP*3 O) *IS(OR3
4he #oregoing diverse interpretations o# the nature and signi#icance o# the individual human
beingLs e6perience and observation o# time di##er sharply #rom each other! and they have led to
e>ually sharp di##erences in vie)s o# human history and o# ultimate reality and in prescriptions
#or the conduct! both collective and individual! o# human li#e. 4hin&ers have been divided
bet)een holders o# the cyclic vie) and holders o# the one-)ay vie) o# time and bet)een
believers in the di##erent prescriptions #or the conduct o# li#e that these di##ering vie)s have
suggested. Fariations in the t)o basic vie)s o# time and in the corresponding codes o# conduct
have been among the salient characteristics distinguishing the principal civili3ations and
philosophies and higher religions that have appeared in history to date.
ENVIRONMENTAL RECURRENCES AN RELI!ION
4he cyclic theory o# time has been held in regard to the three #ields o# religion! o# history Bboth
human and cosmicC! and o# personal li#e. 4hat this vie) arose #rom the observation o#
recurrences in the environment is most conspicuously seen in the #ield o# religion. 4he
observation o# the generation cycle has been re#lected in the cult o# ancestors! important
in 2hinese religion and also in older civili3ations and in precivili3ational societies. 4he
observation o# the annual cycle o# the seasons and its crucial e##ect on agriculture is re#lected in a
ceremony in )hich the emperor o# 2hina used to plo) the #irst #urro) o# the current yearM in the
ceremonial opening o# a breach in the di&e o# the (ile to let the annual #lood)aters irrigate the
landM and in the annual Nsacred marriage!O per#ormed by a priest and priestess representing a god
and goddess! )hich )as deemed to ensure the continuing #ertility o# 'abylonia. % cycle longer
than that o# the seasons is represented by the recurrent avatāras Bepiphanies! incarnate! on *arthC
o# the Hindu god Fishnu BFiṣṇuC and in the corresponding series o# buddhas and bodhisattvas
Bpotential buddhasC. %lthough the only historical 'uddha )as SiddhXrtha $autama B-th7,th
century '2C! in the mythology o# the northern school o# 'uddhism Bthe EahXyXnaC! the identity
o# the historical 'uddha has been almost e##aced by a long vista o# putative buddhas e6tending
through previous and #uture times.
In contrast to northern 'uddhism and to Faiṣṇava Hinduism! 2hristianity holds that the
incarnation o# $od in Desus )as a uni>ue eventM yet the rite o# the *ucharist! in )hich 2hristLs
sel#-sacri#ice is held by 2atholic and *astern Orthodo6 2hristians to be reper#ormed! is
celebrated every day by thousands o# priests! and the nature o# this rite has suggested to some
scholars that it originated in an annual #estival at the culmination o# the agricultural year. In this
interpretation! the bread that is 2hristLs body and the )ine that is his blood associate him )ith
the annually dying gods %donis! Osiris! and %ttisWthe divinities! inherent in the vital and
vitali3ing po)er o# the crops! )ho die in order that people may eat and drin& and live. NKnless a
grain o# )heat #alls into the earth and dies! it remains aloneM but! i# it dies! it bears much #ruitO
BDohn 1/:/:C.
"E C#CLIC VIE$ IN VARIOUS CULTURES
4he cyclic vie) o# history! both cosmic and human! has been prevalent among the Hindus and
the pre-2hristian $ree&s! the 2hinese! and the %3tecs. Eore recently! the cyclic vie) has gained
adherents in modern Jestern society! although this civili3ation )as originally 2hristianWthat is!
)as nurtured on a religion that sees time as a one-)ay #lo) and not as a cyclic one.
4he 2hinese! Hindus! and $ree&s sa) cosmic time as moving in an alternating rhythm!
classically e6pressed in the 2hinese concept o# the alternation bet)een Yin! the passive #emale
principle! and Yang! the dynamic male principle. Jhen either Yin or Yang goes to e6tremes! it
overlaps the other principle! )hich is its correlative and complement in conse>uence o# being its
opposite. In the philosophy o# *mpedocles! an early $ree& thin&er! the e>uivalents o# Yin and
Yang )ere +ove and Stri#e. *mpedocles revolted against the denial o# the reality o# motion and
plurality that )as made by his *leatic predecessors on the strength o# mere logic. He bro&e up
the *leaticsL motionless! and there#ore timeless! unitary reality into a movement o# #our elements
that )ere alternately harmoni3ed by +ove and set at variance by Stri#e. *mpedoclesL +ove and
Stri#e! li&e Yin and Yang! each overlapped the other )hen they had gone to e6tremes.
Plato translated *mpedoclesL concept #rom psychological into theistic terms. %t the outset! in his
vie)! the gods guide the cosmos! and they then leave it to its o)n devices. 'ut )hen the cosmos!
thus le#t to itsel#! has brought itsel# to the brin& o# disaster! the gods resume control at the 11th
hourWand these t)o phases o# its condition alternate )ith each other endlessly. 4he recurrence
o# alternating phases in )hich! at the dar&est hour! catastrophe is averted by divine intervention
is similarly an article o# Faiṣṇava Hindu #aith. In guessing the lengths o# the recurrent eons
B&alpasC! the Hindus arrived! intuitively! at #igures o# the magnitude o# those reached by modern
astronomers through meticulous observations and calculations. Similarly! the %3tecs o#
Eesoamerica rivaled modern Jesterners and the Hindus in the scale on )hich they envisaged
the #lo) o# time! and they &ept an astonishingly accurate time count by inventing a set o#
interloc&ing cycles o# di##erent )avelengths.
Plato and %ristotle too& it #or granted that human society! as )ell as the cosmos! has been! and
)ill continue to be! )rec&ed and rehabilitated any number o# times. 4his rhythm can be
discerned! as amatter o# historical #act! in the histories o# the pharaonic *gyptian and o#
the 2hinese civili3ationsduring the three millennia that elapsed! in each o# them! bet)een its #irst
political uni#ication and its #inal disintegration. 4he prosperity that had been con#erred on a
peasant society by political unity and peace turned into adversity )hen the cost o# large-scale
administration and de#ense became too heavy #or an unmechani3ed economy to bear. In each
instance! the uni#ied state then bro&e upWonly to be reunited #or the starting o# another similar
cycle. 4he Euslim historian Ibn QhaldZn! )riting in the 1:th century %"! observed the same
cyclic rhythm in the histories o# the successive con>uests o# sedentary populations by pastoral
nomads.
In the modern Jest! an Italian philosopher o# history! $iambattista Fico! observed that the
phases through )hich Jestern civili3ation had passed had counterparts in the history o# the
antecedent $reco-Roman civili3ation. 4han&s to a subse>uent increase in the number o#
civili3ations &no)n to Jestern students o# cultural morphology! Os)ald Spengler! a $erman
philosopher o# history! )as able! in the early /.th century! to ma&e a comparative study o#
civili3ations over a much broader spectrum than that o# Fico. 4he comparison o# di##erent
civili3ations or o# successive periods o# order and disorder in 2hinese or in pharaonic *gyptian
history implied! o# course! that! in human a##airs! recurrence is a reality.
4he application o# the cyclic vie) to the li#e o# a human being in the hypothesis o# rebirth )as
mentioned earlier. 4his hypothesis rela6es the an6iety about being annihilated through death by
replacing it )ith a no less agoni3ing an6iety about being condemned to a potentially endless
series o# rebirths. 4he strength o# the reincarnationistsL an6iety can be gauged by the severity o#
the sel#-morti#ication to )hich they resort to liberate themselves #rom the Nsorro)#ul )heel.O
%mong the peoples )ho have not believed in rebirth! the pharaonic *gyptians have ta&en the
o##ensive againstdeath and decay )ith the greatest determination: they embalmed corpsesM they
built colossal tombsM and! in the 'oo& o# the "ead! they provided instructions and spells #or
ensuring #or that portion o# the soul that did not hover around the sarcophagus an ac>uittal in the
postmortem ;udgment and an entry into a bliss#ul li#e in another )orld. (o other human society
has succeeded in achieving this degree o# indestructibility despite the ravages o# time.
ONE54#3 -IE4 O) (I&E IN (*E P*I/OSOP*3 O) *IS(OR3
Jhen the #lo) o# time is held to be not recurrent but one-)ay! it can be conceived o# as having a
beginning and perhaps an end. Some thin&ers have #elt that such limits can be imagined only i#
there is some timeless po)er that has set time going and intends or is set to stop it. % god )ho
creates and then annihilates time! i# he is held to be omnipotent! is o#ten credited )ith having
done this )ith a benevolent purpose that is being carried out according to plan. 4he omnipotent
godLs plan! in this vie)! governs the time #lo) and is made mani#est to humans in progressive
revelations through the prophetsW#rom %braham! by )ay o# Eoses! Isaiah! and Desus! to the
Prophet Euḥammad Bas Euslims believeC.
4his belie# in Heilsgeschichte Bsalvational historyC has been derived by IslXm and 2hristianity
#rom Dudaism and Roroastrianism. +ate in the 1/th century! the 2hristian seer Doachim o#
8iore sa) this divinely ordained spiritual progress in the time #lo) as un#olding in a series o#
three agesWthose o# the 8ather! the Son! and the Spirit. Qarl Daspers! a /.th-century Jestern
philosopher! has discerned an Na6is ageOWi.e.! a turning point in human historyWin the -th
century '2! )hen 2on#ucius! the 'uddha! Roroaster! "eutero-Isaiah! and Pythagoras )ere alive
contemporaneously. I# the Na6is ageO is e6tended bac&)ard in time to the original IsaiahLs
generation and #or)ard to EuḥammadLs! it may perhaps be recogni3ed as the age in )hich
humans #irst sought to ma&e direct contact )ith the ultimate spiritual reality behind phenomena
instead o# ma&ing such communication only indirectly through their nonhuman and social
environments.
4he belie# in an omnipotent creator god! ho)ever! has been challenged. 4he creation o# time! or
o# anything else! out o# nothing is di##icult to imagineM and! i# $od is not a creator but is merely a
shaper! his po)er is limited by the intractability o# the independent material )ith )hich he has
had to )or&. Plato! in the Timaeus! conceived o# $od as being a nonomnipotent shaper and thus
accounted #or the mani#est element o# evil in phenomena. Earcion! a /nd-century 2hristian
heretic! in#erred #rom the evil in phenomena that the creator )as bad and held that a Nstranger
godO had come to redeem the bad creatorLs )or& at the benevolent strangerLs cost. Roroaster sa)
the phenomenal )orld as a battle#ield bet)een a bad god and a good one and sa) time as the
duration o# this battle. 4hough he held that the good god )as destined to be the victor! a god )ho
needs to #ight and )in is not omnipotent. In an attenuated #orm! this evil adversary appears in the
three Dudaic religions as Satan.
Observation o# historical phenomena suggests that! in spite o# the mani#estness o# evil! there has
been progress in the history o# li#e on this planet! culminating in the emergence o# humans )ho
&no) themselves to be sinners yet #eel themselves to be something better than inanimate
matter.2harles "ar)in! in his theory o# the selection o# mutations by the environment! sought to
vindicate apparent progress in the organic realm )ithout recourse to an e6traneous god. In the
history o# $ree& thought! the counterpart o# such mutations )as the s)erving o# atoms. %#ter
*mpedocles had bro&en up the indivisible! motionless! and timeless reality o# Parmenides and
Reno into #our elements played upon alternately by +ove and Stri#e! it )as a short step #or the
%tomists o# the ,th century '2! +eucippus and "emocritus! to brea& up reality still #urther into
an innumerable host o#minute atoms moving in time through a vacuum. $ranting that one
single atom had once made a single slight s)erve! the build-up o# observed phenomena could be
accounted #or on "ar)inian lines. "emocritusL account o# evolution survives in the #i#th boo&
o# De rerum natura! )ritten by a 1st-century-'2 Roman poet! +ucretius. 4he credibility o# both
"emocritusL and "ar)inLs accounts o# evolution depends on the assumption that time is real and
that its #lo) has been e6traordinarily long.
Heracleitus had seen in phenomena a harmony o# opposites in tension )ith each other and had
concluded that Jar Bi.e.! *mpedoclesL Stri#e and the 2hinese YangC Nis #ather o# all and &ing o#
all.O 4his vision o# Stri#e as being the dominant and creative #orce is grimmer than that o# Stri#e
alternating on e>ual terms )ith +ove and Yang )ith Yin. In the 19th-century Jest! HeracleitusL
vision has been revived in the vie) o# $.J.8. Hegel! a $erman Idealist! that progress occurs
through a synthesis resulting #rom an encounter bet)een a thesis and an antithesis. In political
terms! HeracleitusL vision has reappeared in Qarl Ear6Ls concept o# an encounter bet)een the
bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the emergence o# a classless society )ithout a government.
In the Roroastrian and De)ish-2hristian-IslXmic vision o# the time #lo)! time is destined to be
consummatedWas depicted luridly in the Revelation to DohnWin a terri#ying clima6. It has
become apparent that history has been accelerating! and accumulated &no)ledge o# the past has
revealed! in retrospect! that the acceleration began about 0.!... years ago! )ith the transition
#rom the +o)er to the Kpper Paleolithic Period! and that it has ta&en successive Ngreat leaps
#or)ardO )ith the invention o# agriculture! )ith the da)n o# civili3ation! and )ith the
progressive harnessingW)ithin the last t)o centuriesWo# the titanic physical #orces o#
inanimate nature. 4he approach o# the clima6 #oreseen intuitively by the prophets is being #elt!
and #eared! as a coming event. Its imminence is! today! not an article o# #aith but a datum o#
observation and e6perience.
Arnold Joseh To!nbee
Ear!y modern and 67th5century scientific phi!osophies of time
Isaac (e)ton distinguished absolute time #rom Nrelative! apparent! and common timeO as
measured by the apparent motions o# the #i6ed stars! as )ell as by terrestrial cloc&s. His absolute
time )as an ideal scale o# time that made the la)s o#mechanics simpler! and its discrepancy )ith
apparent time )as attributed to such things as irregularities in the motion o# the *arth. Inso#ar as
these motions )ere e6plained by (e)tonLs mechanics Bor at least could not be sho)n to be
ine6plicableC! the procedure )as vindicated. Similarly! in his notion o# absolute space! (e)ton
)as really getting at the concept o# an inertial system. (evertheless! the notion o# space and time
as absolute metaphysical entities )as encouraged by (e)tonLs vie)s and #ormed an important
part o# the philosophy o# Immanuel Qant! a $erman critical philosopher! #or )hom space and
time )ere Nphenomenally realO Bpart o# the )orld as described by scienceC but Nnoumenally
unrealO Bnot a part o# the un&no)able )orld o# things in themselvesC. Qant argued #or the
noumenal unreality o# space and time on the basis o# certain antinomies that he claimed to #ind in
these notionsWthat the universe had a beginning! #or e6ample! and yet Bby another argumentC
could not have had a beginning. In a letter dated 1H9@! he )rote that the antinomies had been
instrumental in arousing him #rom his Ndogmatic slumberO Bpre-critical philosophyC. Eodern
advances in logic and mathematics! ho)ever! have convinced most philosophers that the
antinomies contain #allacies.
(e)tonian mechanics! as studied in the 1@th century! )as mostly concerned )ith periodic
systems that! on a large scale! remain constant throughout time. Particularly notable )as the
proo# o# thestability o# the solar system that )as #ormulated by Pierre-Simon! mar>uis de
+aplace! a mathematical astronomer. Interest in systems that develop through time came about in
the 19th century as a result o# the theories o# the 'ritish geologist Sir 2harles +yell! and others!
and the "ar)inian theory o# evolution. 4hese theories led to a number o# biologically inspired
metaphysical systems! )hich )ere o#tenWas )ith Henri 'ergson and %l#red (orth JhiteheadW
rather romantic and contrary to the essentially mechanistic spirit o# "ar)in himsel# Band also o#
present-day molecular biologyC.
Contem%orary %hiloso%hies of time
(ime in 89th5century phi!osophy of physics
(I&E IN (*E SPECI#/ (*EOR3 O) RE/#(I-I(3
Since the classic interpretation o# *insteinLs special theory o# relativity by Hermann Ein&o)s&i!
a +ithuanian-$erman mathematician! it has been clear that physics has to do not )ith t)o
entities! space and time! ta&en separately! but )ith a unitary entity space7time! in )hich!
ho)ever! timeli&e and spaceli&e directions can be distinguished. 4he +orent3 trans#ormations!
)hich in special relativity de#ine shi#ts in velocity perspectives! )ere sho)n by Ein&o)s&i to be
simply rotations o# space7time a6es. 4he +orent3 contraction o# moving rods and
the time dilatation o# moving cloc&s turns out to be analogous to the #act that di##erent-si3ed
slices o# a sausage are obtained by altering the direction o# the slice: ;ust as there is still the
ob;ective BabsoluteC sausage! so also Ein&o)s&i restores the absolute to relativity in the #orm o#
the invariant #our-dimensional ob;ect! and the invariance Bunder the +orent3 trans#ormationC o#
the space7time interval and o# certain #undamental physical >uantities such as action B)hich has
the dimensions o# energy times time! even though neither energy nor time is separately
invariantC.
Process philosophers charge the Ein&o)s&i universe )ith being a static one. 4he philosopher o#
the mani#old denies this charge! saying that a static universe )ould be one in )hich all temporal
cross sections )ere e6actly similar to one another and in )hich all particles Bconsidered as #our-
dimensional ob;ectsC lay along parallel lines. 4he actual universe is not li&e this! and that it is not
static is sho)n in the Ein&o)s&i picture by the dissimilarity o# temporal cross sections and the
nonparallelism o# the )orld lines o# particles. 4he process philosopher may say that change! as
thus portrayed in the Ein&o)s&i picture Be.g.! )ith the )orld lines o# particles at varying
distances #rom one anotherC! is not true 'ergsonian change! so that something has been le#t out.
'ut i# time advances up the mani#old! this )ould seem to be an advance )ith respect to
a hypertime! perhaps a ne) time direction orthogonal to the old one. Perhaps it could be a #i#th
dimension! as has been used in describing the de Sitter universe as a #our-dimensional
hypersur#ace in a #ive-dimensional space. 4he >uestion may be as&ed! ho)ever! )hat advantage
such a hypertime could have #or the process philosopher and )hether there is process through
hypertime. I# there is! one )ould seem to need a hyper-hypertime! and so on to in#inity. B4he
in#inity o# hypertimes )as indeed postulated by Dohn Jilliam "unne! a 'ritish inventor and
philosopher! but the remedy seems to be a desperate one.C %nd i# no such regress into hypertimes
is postulated! it may be as&ed )hether the process philosopher )ould not #ind the #ive-
dimensional universe as static as the #our-dimensional one. 4he process philosopher may
there#ore adopt the e6pedient o# Henri 'ergson! saying that temporal process Bthe e6tra
something that ma&es the di##erence bet)een a static and a dynamic universeC ;ust cannot be
pictured spatially B)hether one supposes #our! #ive! or more dimensionsC. %ccording to 'ergson!
it is something that ;ust has to be intuited and cannot be grasped by discursive reason. 4he
philosopher o# the mani#old )ill #ind this unintelligible and )ill in any case deny that anything
dynamic has been le#t out o# his )orld picture. 4his sort o# impasse bet)een process
philosophers and philosophers o# the mani#old seems to be characteristic o# the present-day state
o# philosophy.
4he theory o# relativity implies that simultaneity is relative to a #rame o# a6es. I# one #rame o#
a6es is moving relative to another! then events that are simultaneous relative to the #irst are not
simultaneous relative to the second! and vice versa. 4his parado6 leads to another di##iculty #or
process philosophy over and above those noted earlier. 4hose )ho thin& that there is a continual
coming into e6istence o# events Bas the present rushes on)ard into the #utureC can be as&ed
NJhich present?O It there#ore seems di##icult to ma&e a distinction bet)een a real present Band
perhaps pastC as against an as-yet-unreal #uture. Philosophers o# the mani#old also urge that to
tal& o# events becoming Bcoming into e6istenceC is not easily intelligible. *nduring things and
processes! in this vie)! can come into e6istenceM but this simply means that as #our-dimensional
solids they have an earliest temporal cross section or time slice.
Jhen tal&ing in the #ashion o# Ein&o)s&i! it is advisable! according to philosophers o# the
mani#old! to use tenseless verbs Bsuch as the Ne>ualsO in N/ U / e>uals :OC. One can say that all
parts o# the #our-dimensional )orld e6ist Bin this tenseless senseC. 4his is not! there#ore! to say
that they all e6istnow! nor does it mean that Ein&o)s&i events are Ntimeless.O 4he tenseless verb
merely re#rains #romdating events in relation to its o)n utterance.
4he po)er o# the Ein&o)s&i representation is illustrated by its manner in dealing )ith the so-
calledcloc& parado6! )hich deals )ith t)o t)ins! Peter and Paul. Peter remains on *arth
Bregarded as at rest in an inertial systemC )hile Paul is shot o## in a roc&et at hal# the velocity o#
light! rapidly decelerated at %lpha 2entauri Babout #our light-years a)ayC! and shot bac& to *arth
again at the same speed. %ssuming that the period o# turnabout is negligible compared )ith those
o# uni#orm velocity! Paul! as a #our-dimensional ob;ect! lies along the sides %2 and 2' o# a
space7time triangle! in )hich % and ' are the points o# his departure and return and 2 that o# his
turnaround. Peter! as a #our-dimensional ob;ect! lies along %'. (o)! special relativity implies
that on his return Paul )ill be rather more than t)o years younger than Peter. 4his is a matter o#
t)o sides o# a triangle not being e>ual to the third side: %2 U 2' [ %'. 4he Nless thanOW
symboli3ed [ Warises #rom the semi-*uclidean character o# Ein&o)s&i space7time! )hich calls
#or minus signs in its metric Bor e6pression #or the interval bet)een t)o events! )hich is ds A
\Bc
/
dt
/
- d"
/
- d!
/
- d#
/
C C. 4he parado6 has been held to result #rom the #act that! #rom PaulLs
point o# vie)! it is Peter )ho has gone o## and returnedM and so the situation is symmetrical! and
Peter and Paul should each be younger than the otherW)hich is impossible. 4his is to #orget!
ho)ever! the asymmetry re#lected in the #act that Peter has been in only one inertial system
throughout! and Paul has notM Paul lies along a bent line! Peter along a straight one.
I&E IN :ENER#/ RE/#(I-I(3 #ND COS&O/O:3
In general relativity! )hich! though less #irmly established than the special theory! is intended to
e6plain gravitational phenomena! a more complicated metric o# variable curvature is employed!
)hich appro6imates to the Ein&o)s&i metric in empty space #ar #rom material bodies.
2osmologists )ho have based their theories on general relativity have sometimes postulated a
#inite but unbounded space7time Banalogous! in #our dimensions! to the sur#ace o# a sphereC as
#ar as spaceli&e directions are concerned! but practically all cosmologists have assumed that
space7time is in#inite in its timeli&e directions. Qurt $]del! a contemporary mathematical
logician! ho)ever! has proposed solutions to the e>uations o# general relativity )hereby timeli&e
)orld lines can bend bac& on themselves. Knless one accepts a process philosophy and thin&s o#
the #lo) o# time as going around and around such closed timeli&e )orld lines! it is not necessary
to thin& that $]delLs idea implies eternal recurrence. *vents can be arranged in a circle and still
occur only once.
4he general theory o# relativity predicts a time dilatation in a gravitational #ield! so that! relative
to someone outside o# the #ield! cloc&s Bor atomic processesC go slo)ly. 4his retardation is a
conse>uence o# the curvature o# space7time )ith )hich the theory identi#ies the gravitational
#ield. %s a very rough analogy! a road may be considered that! a#ter crossing a plain! goes over a
mountain. 2learly! one mile as measured on the humpbac&ed sur#ace o# the mountain is less than
one mile as measured hori3ontally. SimilarlyWi# NlessO is replaced by NmoreO because o# the
negative signs in the e6pression #or the metric o# space7timeWone second as measured in the
curved region o# space7time is more than one second as measured in a #lat region. Strange things
can happen i# the gravitational #ield is very intense. It has been deduced that so-called blac&
holes in space may occur in places )here e6traordinarily massive or dense aggregates o# matter
e6ist! as in the gravitational collapse o# a star. (othing! not even radiation! can emerge #rom such
a blac& hole. % critical point is the so-called Sch)ar3schild radius measured out)ard #rom the
centre o# the collapsed starWa distance! perhaps! o# the order o# 1. &ilometres. Something #alling
into the hole )ould ta&e an in#inite time to reach this critical radius! according to the space7time
#rame o# re#erence o# a distant observer! but only a #inite time in the #rame o# re#erence o# the
#alling body itsel#. 8rom the outside standpoint the #all has become #ro3en. 'ut #rom the point o#
vie) o# the #rame o# the #alling ob;ect! the #all continues to 3ero radius in a very short time
indeedWo# the order o# only 1. or 1.. microseconds. Jithin the blac& hole spaceli&e and
timeli&e directions change over! so that to escape again #rom the blac& hole is impossible #or
reasons analogous to those that! in ordinary space7time! ma&e it impossible to travel #aster than
light. B4o travel #aster than light a body )ould have to lieWas a #our-dimensional ob;ectWin a
spaceli&e direction instead o# a timeli&e one.C
%s a rough analogy t)o country roads may be considered! both o# )hich go at #irst in a northerly
direction. 'ut road % bends round asymptotically to)ard the eastM i.e.! it approaches ever closer
to a line o# latitude. Soon road ' crosses this latitude and is thus to the north o# all parts o# road
%. "isregarding the *arthLs curvature! it ta&es in#inite space #or road % to get as #ar north as that
latitude on road 'M i.e.! near that latitude an in#inite number o# Nroad % northerly unitsO Bsay!
milesC correspond to a #inite number o# road ' units. Soon road ' gets Nbeyond in#inityO in road
% units! though it need be only a #inite road.
Rather similarly! i# a body should #all into a blac& hole! it )ould #all #or only a #inite time! even
though it )ere Nbeyond in#initeO time by e6ternal standards. 4his analogy does not do ;ustice!
ho)ever! to the real situation in the blac& holeWthe #act that the curvature becomes in#inite as
the star collapses to)ard a point. It should! ho)ever! help to alleviate the mystery o# ho) a #inite
time in one re#erence #rame can go Nbeyond in#inityO in another #rame.
Eost cosmological theories imply that the universe is e6panding! )ith the gala6ies receding #rom
one another Bas is made plausible by observations o# the red shi#ts o# their spectraC! and that the
universe as it is &no)n originated in a primeval e6plosion at a date o# the order o# 1, ^ 1.
9
years
ago. 4hough this date is o#ten loosely called Nthe creation o# the universe!O there is no reason to
deny that the universe Bin the philosophical sense o# Neverything that there isOC e6isted at an
earlier time! even though it may be impossible to &no) anything o# )hat happened then. B4here
have been cosmologies! ho)ever! that suggest an oscillating universe! )ith e6plosion! e6pansion!
contraction! e6plosion! etc.! ad in#initum.C %nd a fortiori! there is no need to sayWas %ugustine
did in hisConfessions as early as the ,th century %"Wthat time itsel# )as created along )ith the
creation o# the universe! though it should not too hastily be assumed that this )ould lead to
absurdity! because common sense could )ell be misleading at this point.
% 'ritish cosmologist! *.%. Eilne! ho)ever! proposed a theory according to )hich time in a
sense could not e6tend bac&)ard beyond the creation time. %ccording to him there are t)o
scales o# time! N_ timeO and Nt time.O 4he #ormer is a time scale )ithin )hich the la)s o#
mechanics and gravitationare invariant! and the latter is a scale )ithin )hich those o#
electromagnetic and atomic phenomena are invariant. %ccording to Eilne _ is proportional to the
logarithm o# t Bta&ing the 3ero o# t to be the creation timeCM thus! by _ time the creation is
in#initely #ar in the past. 4he logarithmic relationship implies that the constant o#
gravitation $ )ould increase throughout cosmic history. B4his increase might have been
e6pected to sho) up in certain geological data! but apparently the evidence is against it.C
(I&E IN &ICROP*3SICS
Special problems arise in considering time in >uantum mechanics and in particle interactions.
&UANTUM'MEC"ANICAL AS(ECTS O) TIME
In >uantum mechanics it is usual to represent measurable >uantities by operators in an abstract
many-dimensional Bo#ten in#inite-dimensionalC so-called Hilbert space. (evertheless! this space
is an abstract mathematical tool #or calculating the evolution in time o# the energy levels o#
systemsWand this evolution occurs in ordinary space7time. 8or e6ample! in the
#ormula AH - HA A iℏBdA/dtC! in )hich i is \B`1C and ℏ is
1
/
/
a times Planc&Ls constant! h!
the A and H are operators! but the t is a per#ectly ordinary time variable. 4here may be something
unusual! ho)ever! about the concept o# the time at )hich >uantum-mechanical events occur!
because according to the 2openhagen interpretation o# >uantum mechanics the state o# a
microsystem is relative to an e6perimental arrangement. 4hus energy and time are con;ugate: no
e6perimental arrangement can determine both simultaneously! #or the energy is relative to one
e6perimental arrangement! and the time is relative to another. B4hus! a more relational sense o#
NtimeO is suggested.C 4he states o# the e6perimental arrangement cannot be merely relative to
other e6perimental arrangements! on pain o# in#inite regressM and so these have to be described
by classical physics. B4his parasitism on classical physics is a possible )ea&ness in >uantum
mechanics over )hich there is much controversy.C
4he relation bet)een time uncertainty and energy uncertainty! in )hich their product is e>ual to
or greater than h/:a! b%bt ⋜ h/:a! has led to estimates o# the theoretical minimum measurable
span o# time! )hich comes to something o# the order o# 1.
-/:
second and hence to speculations
that time may be made up o# discrete intervals BchrononsC. 4hese suggestions are open to a very
serious ob;ection! vi3.! that the mathematics o# >uantum mechanics ma&es use o# continuous
space and time B#or e6ample! it contains di##erential e>uationsC. It is not easy to see ho) it could
possibly be recast so as to postulate only a discrete space7time Bor even a merely dense oneC. 8or
a set o# instants to be dense! there must be an instant bet)een any t)o instants. 8or it to be a
continuum! ho)ever! something more is re>uired! vi3.! that every set o# instants earlier BlaterC
than any given one should have an upper Blo)erC bound. It is continuity that enables modern
mathematics to surmount the parado6 o# e6tension #ramed by the Pre-Socratic *leatic RenoWa
parado6 comprising the >uestion o# ho) a #inite interval can be made up o# dimensionless points
or instants.
TIME IN (ARTICLE INTERACTIONS
Kntil recently it )as thought that the #undamental la)s o# nature are time symmetrical. It is true
that the second la) o# thermodynamics! according to )hich randomness al)ays increases! is
time asymmetricalM but this la) is not strictly true B#or e6ample! the phenomenon o# 'ro)nian
motion contravenes itC! and it is no) regarded as a statistical derivative o# the #undamental la)s
together )ith certain boundary conditions. 4he #undamental la)s o# physics )ere long thought
also to be charge symmetrical B#or e6ample! an antiproton together )ith a positron behave li&e
a proton and electronC and to be symmetrical )ith respect to parity Bre#lection in space! as in a
mirrorC. 4he e6perimental evidence no) suggests that all three symmetries are not >uite e6act
but that the la)s o# nature are symmetrical i# all three re#lections are combined: charge! parity!
and time re#lections #orming )hat can be called Ba#ter the initials o# the three parametersC a 2P4
mirror. 4he timeasymmetry )as sho)n in certain abstruse e6periments concerning the decay
o# & mesons that have a short time decay into t)o pions and a long time decay into three pions.
(I&E IN &O/#R P*3SICS
4he above-mentioned violations o# temporal symmetry in the #undamental la)s o# nature are
such out-o#-the-)ay ones! ho)ever! that it seems unli&ely that they are responsible #or the gross
violations o# temporal symmetry that are apparent in the visible )orld. %n obvious asymmetry is
that there are traces o# the past B#ootprints! #ossils! tape recordings! memoriesC and not o# the
#uture. 4here are mi6ing processes but no comparable unmi6ing process: mil& and tea easily
combine to give a )hitish bro)n li>uid! but it re>uires ingenuity and energy and complicated
apparatus to separate the t)o li>uids. % cold saucepan o# )ater on a hot bric& )ill soon become
a tepid saucepan on a tepid bric&M but the heatenergy o# the tepid saucepan never goes into the
tepid bric& to produce a cold saucepan and a hot bric&. *ven though the la)s o# nature are
assumed to be time symmetrical! it is possible to e6plain these asymmetries by means o# suitable
assumptions about boundary conditions. Euch discussion o# this problem has stemmed #rom the
)or& o# +ud)ig 'olt3mann! an %ustrian physicist! )ho sho)ed that the concept o# the
thermodynamic >uantity entropy could be reduced to that o# randomness or disorder. %mong
/.th-century philosophers in this tradition may be mentioned Hans Reichenbach! a $erman-K.S.
Positivist! %dol# $rcnbaum! a K.S. philosopher! and Olivier 2osta de 'eauregard! a 8rench
philosopher-physicist. 4here have also been many relevant papers o# high mathematical
sophistication scattered through the literature o# mathematical physics. Reichenbach Band
$rcnbaum! )ho improved on Reichenbach in some respectsC e6plained a trace as being a branch
systemM i.e.! a relatively isolated system! the entropy o# )hich is less than )ould be e6pected i#
one compared it )ith that o# the surrounding region. 8or e6ample! a #ootprint on the beach
has sandparticles compressed together belo) a volume containing air only! instead o# being >uite
evenly BrandomlyC spread over the volume occupied by the compressed and empty parts.
nother stri&ing temporal asymmetry on the macro level! vi3.! that spherical )aves are o#ten
observed being emitted #rom a source but never contracting to a sin&! has been stressed by Sir
Qarl Popper! a /.th-century %ustrian and 'ritish philosopher o# science. 'y considering
radiation as having a particle aspect Bi.e.! as consisting o# photonsC! 2osta de 'eauregard has
argued that this Nprinciple o# retarded )avesO can be reduced to the statistical 'olt3mann
principle o# increasing entropy and so is not really di##erent #rom the previously discussed
asymmetry. 4hese considerations also provide some ;usti#ication #or the common-sense idea that
the cause7e##ect relation is a temporally unidirectional one! even though the la)s o# nature
themselves allo) #or retrodiction no less than #or prediction.
% third stri&ing asymmetry on the macro level is that o# the apparent mutual recession o# the
gala6ies! )hich can plausibly be deduced #rom the red shi#ts observed in their spectra. It is still
not clear )hether or ho) #ar this asymmetry can be reduced to the t)o asymmetries already
discussed! though interesting suggestions have been made.
4he statistical considerations that e6plain temporal asymmetry apply only to large assemblages
o# particles. Hence! any device that records time intervals )ill have to be macroscopic and to
ma&e use some)here o# statistically irreversible processes. *ven i# one )ere to count the s)ings
o# a #rictionless pendulum! this counting )ould re>uire memory traces in the brain! )hich )ould
#unction as a temporally irreversible recording device.
(ime in 89th5century phi!osophy of 'io!ogyand phi!osophy of mind
Organisms o#ten have some sort o# internal cloc& that regulates their behaviour. 4here is a
tendency! #or e6ample! #or leaves o# leguminous plants to alter their position so that they lie in
one position by day and in another position by night. 4his tendency persists i# the plant is in
arti#icial light that is &ept constant! though it can be modi#ied to other periodicities Be.g.! to a si6-
hour instead o# a /:-hour rhythmC by suitably regulating the periods o# arti#icial light and
dar&ness. In animals! similar daily rhythms are usually ac>uired! but in e6perimental conditions
animals nevertheless tend to adapt better to a /:-hour rhythm than to any other. Sea anemones
e6pand and contract to the rhythm o# the tides! and this periodic behaviour )ill persist #or some
time even )hen the sea anemone is placed in a tan&. 'ees can be trained to come #or #ood at
#i6ed periods Be.g.! every /1 hoursC! and this demonstrates that they possess some sort o# internal
cloc&. Similarly! humans themselves have some po)er to estimate time in the absence o# cloc&s
and other sensory cues. 4his #act re#utes the contention o# the 1Hth-century *nglish
philosopher Dohn +oc&e Band o# other philosophers in the *mpiricist traditionC that time is
perceived only as a relation bet)een successive sensations. 4he K.S. mathematician (orbert
Jienerhas speculated on the possibility that the human time sense depends on the d-rhythm o#
electrical oscillation in the brain.
4emporal rhythms in both plants and animals Bincluding humansC are dependent on temperature!
and e6periments on human sub;ects have sho)n that! i# their temperature is raised! they
underestimate the time bet)een events.
"espite these #acts! the +oc&ean notion that the estimation o# time depends on the succession
o#sensations is still to some degree true. People )ho ta&e the drugs hashish and mescaline! #or
e6ample! may #eel their sensations #ollo)ing one another much more rapidly. 'ecause there are
so many more sensations than normal in a given interval o# time! time seems to drag! so that a
minute may #eel li&e an hour. Similar illusions about the spans o# time occur in dreams.
It is unclear )hether most discussions o# so-called biological and psychological time have much
signi#icance #or metaphysics. %s #ar as the distorted e6periences o# time that arise through drugs
Band in schi3ophreniaC are concerned! it can be argued that there is nothing surprising in the #act
that pathological states can ma&e people misestimate periods o# time! and so it can be claimed
that #acts o# this sort do not shed any more light on the philosophy o# time than #acts about
mountains loo&ing near a#ter rainstorms and loo&ing #ar a#ter duststorms shed on the philosophy
o# space.
4he idea that psychological studies o# temporal e6perience are philosophically important is
probably connected )ith the sort o# *mpiricism that )as characteristic o# +oc&e and still more o#
the *mpiricists $eorge 'er&eley and "avid Hume and their successors. 4he idea o# time had
someho) to be constructed out o# the primitive e6perience o# ideas succeeding one another.
(o)adays! concept #ormation is thought o# as more o# a social phenomenon involved in the
Npic&ing upO o# a languageM thus! contemporary philosophers have tended to see the problem
di##erently: humans do not have to construct their concepts #rom their o)n immediate sensations.
*ven so! the learning o# temporal concepts surely does at least involve an immediate
apprehension o# the relation o# NearlierO and Nlater.O % mere succession o# sensations! ho)ever!
)ill go no )ay to)ard yielding the idea o# time: i# one sensation has vanished entirely be#ore the
other is in consciousness! one cannot be immediately a)are o# the succession o# sensations.
Jhat *mpiricism needs! there#ore! as a basis #or constructing the idea o# time is an e6perience o#
succession as opposed to a succession o# e6periences. Hence! t)o or more ideas that are related
by Nearlier thanO must be e6perienced in one single act o# a)areness. Jilliam Dames! a K.S.
Pragmatist philosopher and also a pioneer psychologist! populari3ed the term secious
resent #or the span o# time covered by a single act o# a)areness. His idea )as that at a given
moment o# time a person is a)are o# events a short time be#ore that time. BSometimes he spo&e
o# the specious present as a saddlebac& loo&ing slightly into the #uture as )ell as slightly into the
past! but this )as inconsistent )ith his idea that the specious present depended on lingering
short-term memory processes in the brain.C He re#erred to e6periments by the $erman
psychologist Jilhelm Jundt that sho)ed that the longest group o# arbitrary sounds that a person
could identi#y )ithout error lasted about si6 seconds. Other criteria perhaps involving other sense
modalities might lead to slightly di##erent spans o# time! but the interesting point is that! i# there
is such a specious present! it cannot be e6plained solely by ordinary memory traces: i# one hears
a Ntic&toc&O o# a cloc&! the Ntic&O is not remembered in the )ay in )hich a Ntic&toc&O 1. minutes
ago is remembered. 4he specious present is perhaps not really specious: the idea that it )as
specious depended on an idea that the real BnonspeciousC present had to be instantaneous.
I# perception is considered as a certain reliable )ay o# being caused to have true belie#s about the
environment by sensory stimulation! there is no need to suppose that these true belie#s have to be
about an instantaneous state o# the )orld. It can there#ore be >uestioned )hether the
term secious is a happy one.
4)o matters discussed earlier in connection )ith the philosophy o# physics have implications #or
the philosophy o# mind: B1C the integration o# space and time in the theory o# relativity ma&es it
harder to conceive o# immaterial minds that e6ist in time but are not even locali3able in spaceM
B/C the statistical e6planation o# temporal asymmetry e6plains )hy the brain has memory traces
o# the past but not o# the #uture and! hence! helps to e6plain the unidirectional nature o# temporal
consciousness. It also gives reasons #or s&epticism about the claims o# parapsychologists to have
e6perimental evidence #or precognitionM or it sho)s! at least! that i# these phenomena do e6ist
they are not able to be #itted into a cosmology based on physics as it e6ists today.
Time as systemati*ed in modern scientific society
(ime measurement+ genera! concepts
%ccuracy in speci#ying time is needed #or civil! industrial! and scienti#ic purposes. %lthough
de#ining time presents di##iculties! measuring it does notM it is the most accurately measured
physical >uantity. % time measurement assigns a uni>ue number to either an epoch! )hich
speci#ies the moment )hen an instantaneous event occurs! in the sense o# time o# day! or a time
interval! )hich is the duration o# a continued event. 4he progress o# any phenomenon that
undergoes regular changes may be used to measure time. Such phenomena ma&e up much o# the
sub;ect matter o#astronomy! physics! chemistry! geology! and biology. 4he #ollo)ing sections o#
this article treat time measurements based on mani#estations o# gravitation! electromagnetism!
rotational inertia! andradioactivity.
Series o# events can be re#erred to a time scale! )hich is an ordered set o# times derived #rom
observations o# some phenomenon. 4)o independent! #undamental time scales are those called
dynamicalWbased on the regularity o# the motions o# celestial bodies #i6ed in their orbits by
gravitationWand atomicWbased on the characteristic #re>uency o# electromagnetic radiation
used to induce >uantum transitions bet)een internal energy states o# atoms.
4)o time scales that have no relative secular acceleration are called e>uivalent. 4hat is! a cloc&
displaying the time according to one o# these scales )ould notWover an e6tended intervalW
sho) a change in its rate relative to that o# a cloc& displaying time according to the other scale. It
is not certain )hether the dynamical and atomic scales are e>uivalent! but present de#initions
treat them as being so.
4he *arthLs daily rotation about its o)n a6is provides a time scale! but one that is not e>uivalent
to the #undamental scales because tidal #riction! among other #actors! ine6orably decreases the
*arthLs rotational speed Bsymboli3ed by the $ree& letter omega! eC. Kniversal time BK4C! once
corrected #or polar variation BK41C and also seasonal variation BK4/C! is needed #or civil
purposes! celestial navigation! and trac&ing o# space vehicles.
4he decay o# radioactive elements is a random! rather than a repetitive! process! but the statistical
reliability o# the time re>uired #or the disappearance o# any given #raction o# a particular element
can be used #or measuring long time intervals.
PRINCIP#/ SC#/ES
(umerous time scales have been #ormedM several important ones are described in detail in
subse>uent sections o# this article. 4he abbreviations given here are derived #rom *nglish or
8rench terms. Kniversal 4ime BK4M mean solar time or the prime meridian o# $reen)ich!
*nglandC! 2oordinated Kniversal 4ime BK42M the basis o# legal! civil timeC! and leap seconds are
treated under the heading Rotational time. *phemeris 4ime B*4M the #irst correct dynamical
time scaleC is treated in the section "ynamical time! as are 'arycentric "ynamical 4ime B4"'C
and 4errestrial "ynamical 4ime B4"4C! )hich are more accurate than *phemeris 4ime because
they ta&e relativity into account.International %tomic 4ime B4%IM introduced in 19,,C is covered
in the section %tomic time.
RE/#(I-IS(IC E))EC(S
%ccuracies o# atomic cloc&s and modern observational techni>ues are so high that the small
di##erences bet)een classical mechanics Bas developed by (e)ton in the 1Hth centuryC and
relativistic mechanics Baccording to the special and general theories o# relativity proposed
by*instein in the early /.th centuryC must be ta&en into account. 4he e>uations o# motion that
de#ine 4"' include relativistic terms. 4he atomic cloc&s that #orm 4%I! ho)ever! are corrected
only #or height above sea level! not #or periodic relativistic variations! because all #i6ed terrestrial
cloc&s are a##ected identically. 4%I and 4"4 di##er #rom 4"' by calculable periodic variations.
%pparent positions o# celestial ob;ects! as tabulated in ephemerides! are corrected #or the SunLs
gravitational de#lection o# light rays.
C/OC;S
4he atomic cloc& provides the most precise time scale. It has made possible ne)! highly accurate
techni>ues #or measuring time and distance. 4hese techni>ues! involving radar! lasers! spacecra#t!
radio telescopes! and pulsars! have been applied to the study o# problems in celestial mechanics!
astrophysics! relativity! and cosmogony.
%tomic cloc&s serve as the basis o# scienti#ic and legal cloc& times. % single cloc&! atomic
or >uart3-crystal! synchroni3ed )ith either 4%I or K42 provides the SI second Bthat is! the
second as de#ined in the International System o# KnitsC! 4%I! K42! and 4"4 immediately )ith
high accuracy.
(I&E .NI(S #ND C#/END#R DI-ISIONS
4he #amiliar subdivision o# the day into /: hours! the hour into -. minutes! and the minute into
-.seconds dates to the ancient *gyptians. Jhen the increasing accuracy o# cloc&s led to the
adoption o# the mean solar day! )hich contained @-!:.. seconds! this mean solar second became
the basic unit o# time. 4he adoption o# the SI second! de#ined on the basis o# atomic phenomena!
as the #undamental time unit has necessitated some changes in the de#initions o# other terms.
In this article! unless other)ise indicated! second Bsymboli3ed sC means the SI secondM a minute
Bm or minC is -. sM an hour BhC is -. m or 0!-.. s. %n astronomical day BdC e>uals @-!:.. s. %n
ordinarycalendar day e>uals @-!:.. s! and a leap-second calendar day e>uals @-!:.1 s. %
common yearcontains 0-, calendar days and a leap year! 0--.
4he system o# consecutively numbering the years o# the 2hristian *ra )as devised by "ionysius
*6iguus in about ,/,M it included the rec&oning o# dates as either %" or '2 Bthe year be#ore %" 1
)as 1'2C. 4he Dulian calendar! introduced by Dulius 2aesar in the 1st century '2! )as then in use!
and any year )hose number )as e6actly divisible by #our )as designated a leap year. In
the $regorian calendar! introduced in 1,@/ and no) in general use! the centurial years are
common years unless their numbers are e6actly divisible by :..M thus! 1-.. )as a leap year! but
1H.. )as not.
LEN!T"S O) #EARS AN MONT"S
4he tropical year! )hose period is that o# the seasons! is the interval bet)een successive passages
o# the Sun through the vernal e>uino6. 'ecause the *arthLs motion is perturbed by the
gravitational attraction o# the other planets and because o# an acceleration in precession! the
tropical year decreases slo)ly! as sho)n by comparing its length at the end o# the 19th century
B0-,./:/19- dC )ith that at the end o# the /.th B0-,./:/19. dC. 4he accuracy o# the $regorian
calendar results #rom the close agreement bet)een the length o# its average year! 0-,./:/,
calendar days! and that o# the tropical year.
% calendar month may contain /@ to 01 calendar daysM the average is 0..:0H. 4he synodic
month! the interval #rom (e) Eoon to (e) Eoon! averages /9.,01 d.
ASTRONOMICAL #EARS AN ATES
In the Dulian calendar! a year contains either 0-, or 0-- days! and the average is 0-,./, calendar
days. %stronomers have adopted the term Julian !ear to denote an interval o# 0-,./, d! or
01!,,H!-.. s. 4he corresponding Dulian century e>uals 0-!,/, d. 8or convenience in speci#ying
events separated by long intervals! astronomers use Julian dates BD"C in accordance )ith a
system proposed in 1,@0 by the 8rench classical scholar Doseph Scaliger and named in honour o#
his #ather! Dulius 2aesar Scaliger. In this system days are numbered consecutively #rom ...!
)hich is identi#ied as $reen)ich mean noon o# the day assigned the date Dan. 1! :H10 '2! by
rec&oning bac& according to the Dulian calendar. 4he modified Julian date BED"C! de#ined by the
e>uation ED" A D" - /!:..!....,! begins at midnight rather than noon and! #or the /.th and /1st
centuries! is e6pressed by a number )ith #e)er digits. 8or e6ample! $reen)ich mean noon o#
(ov. 1:! 19@1 B$regorian calendar dateC! corresponds to D" /!:::!9/0..M the preceding midnight
occurred at D" /!:::!9//., and ED" ::!9//...
Historical details o# the )ee&! month! year! and various calendars are treated in the
article calendar.
Rotationa! time
4he *arthLs rotation causes the stars and the Sun to appear to rise each day in the east and set in
the )est. 4he apparent solar day is measured by the interval o# time bet)een t)o successive
passages o# the Sun across the observerLs celestial meridian! the visible hal# o# the great circle
that passes through the 3enith and the celestial poles. One sidereal day Bvery nearlyC is measured
by the interval o# time bet)een t)o similar passages o# a star. 8uller treatments o# astronomical
re#erence points and planes are given in the articles astronomical mapM and celestial mechanics.
4he plane in )hich the *arth orbits about the Sun is called the ecliptic. %s seen #rom the *arth!
the Sun moves east)ard on the ecliptic 0-.f per year! almost one degree per day. %s a result! an
apparent solar day is nearly #our minutes longer! on the average! than a sidereal day. 4he
di##erence varies! ho)ever! #rom 0 minutes 0, seconds to : minutes /- seconds during the year
because o# the ellipticity o# the *arthLs orbit! in )hich at di##erent times o# the year it moves at
slightly di##erent rates! and because o# the /0.::f inclination o# the ecliptic to the *>uator. In
conse>uence! apparent solar time is nonuni#orm )ith respect to dynamical time.
% sundial indicates apparent solar time.
4he introduction o# the pendulum as a time&eeping element to cloc&s during the 1Hth century
increased their accuracy greatly and enabled more precise values #or the e>uation o# time to be
determined. 4his development led to mean solar time as the normM it is de#ined belo). 4he
di##erence bet)een apparent solar time and mean solar time! called the e>uation o# time! varies
#rom 3ero to about 1- minutes.
4he measures o# sidereal! apparent solar! and mean solar time are de#ined by the hour angles o#
certain points! real or #ictitious! in the s&y. Hour angle is the angle! ta&en to be positive to the
)est! measured along the celestial e>uator bet)een an observerLs meridian and the hour circle on
)hich some celestial point or ob;ect lies. Hour angles are measured #rom 3ero through /: hours.
Sidereal time is the hour angle o# the vernal e>uino6! a re#erence point that is one o# the t)o
intersections o# the celestial e>uator and the ecliptic. 'ecause o# a small periodic oscillation! or
)obble! o# the *arthLs a6is! called nutation! there is a distinction bet)een the true and mean
e>uino6es. 4he di##erence bet)een true and mean sidereal times! de#ined by the t)o e>uino6es!
varies #rom 3ero to about one second.
%pparent solar time is the hour angle o# the centre o# the true Sun plus 1/ hours. Eean solar
time is 1/ hours plus the hour angle o# the centre o# the #ictitious mean Sun. 4his is a point that
moves along the celestial e>uator )ith constant speed and that coincides )ith the true Sun on the
average. In practice! mean solar time is not obtained #rom observations o# the Sun.
Instead! sidereal time is determined #rom observations o# the transit across the meridian o# stars!
and the result is trans#ormed by means o# a >uadratic #ormula to obtain mean solar time.
S(#ND#RD (I&E
+ocal mean solar time depends upon longitudeM it is advanced by #our minutes per degree
east)ard. In 1@-9 2harles 8. "o)d! principal o# a school in Saratoga Springs! (.Y.! proposed
the use o# time 3ones! )ithin )hich all localities )ould &eep the same time. Others! including Sir
Sand#ord 8leming! a 2anadian civil engineer! strongly advocated this idea. 4ime 3ones )ere
adopted by K.S. and 2anadian railroads in 1@@0.
In October 1@@: an international con#erence held in Jashington! ".2.! adopted the meridian o#
the transit instrument at the Royal Observatory! $reen)ich! as the prime! or 3ero! meridian. 4his
led to the adoption o# /: standard time 3onesM the boundaries are determined by local authorities
and in many places deviate considerably #rom the 1,f intervals o# longitude implicit in the
original idea. 4he times in di##erent 3ones di##er by an integral number o# hoursM minutes and
seconds are the same.
4he International "ate +ine is a line in the mid-Paci#ic Ocean near 1@.f longitude. Jhen one
travels across it )est)ard a calendar day is addedM one day is dropped in passing east)ard. 4his
line also deviates #rom a straight path in places to accommodate national boundaries and )aters.
"uring Jorld Jar I! daylight-saving time )as adopted in various countriesM cloc&s )ere
advanced one hour to save #uel by reducing the need #or arti#icial light in evening hours. "uring
Jorld Jar II! all cloc&s in the Knited States )ere &ept one hour ahead o# standard time #or the
interval 8eb. 9! 19:/7Sept. 0.! 19:,! )ith no changes made in summer. 'eginning in 19-H! by
act o# 2ongress! the Knited States has observed daylight-saving time in summer! though state
legislatures retain the po)er to pass e6empting la)s! and a #e) have done so.
4he day begins at midnight and runs through /: hours. In the /:-hour system o# rec&oning! used
in *urope and by military agencies o# the Knited States! the hours and minutes are given as a
#our-digit number. 4hus ../@ means /@ minutes past midnight! and 1/:. means :. minutes past
noon. %lso! /:.. o# Eay 1, is the same as .... o# Eay 1-. 4his system allo)s no uncertainty as
to the epoch designated.
In the 1/-hour system there are t)o sets o# 1/ hoursM those #rom midnight to noon are
designated %EBante meridiem! Nbe#ore noonOC! and those #rom noon to midnight are
designated PE Bpost meridiem! Na#ter noonOC. 4he use o# %E and PE to designate either noon or
midnight can cause ambiguity. 4o designate noon! either the )ord noon or 1/.. or 1/ E should
be used. 4o designate midnight )ithout causing ambiguity! the t)o dates bet)een )hich it #alls
should be given unless the /:-hour notation is used. 4hus! midnight may be )ritten: Eay 1,71-
or /:.. Eay 1, or .... Eay 1-.
.NI-ERS#/ (I&E
Kntil 19/@ the standard time o# the 3ero meridian )as called $reen)ich Eean 4ime B$E4C.
%stronomers used $reen)ich Eean %stronomical 4ime B$E%4C! in )hich the day begins at
noon. In 19/, the system )as changed so that $E4 )as adopted by astronomers! and in 19/@
the International %stronomical Knion BI%KC adopted the term Kniversal 4ime BK4C.
In 19,, the I%K de#ined several &inds o# K4. 4he initial values o# Kniversal 4ime obtained at
various observatories! denoted K4.! di##er slightly because o# polar motion. % correction is
added #or each observatory to convert K4. into K41. %n empirical correction to ta&e account o#
annual changes in the speed o# rotation is then added to convert K41 to K4/. K4/ has since been
superseded by atomic time.
-#RI#(IONS IN (*E E#R(*0S RO(#(ION R#(E
4he *arth does not rotate )ith per#ect uni#ormity! and the variations have been classi#ied as B1C
secular! resulting #rom tidal #riction! B/C irregular! ascribed to motions o# the *arthLs core! and B0C
periodic! caused by seasonal meteorological phenomena.
Separating the #irst t)o categories is very di##icult. Observations made since 1-/1! a#ter the
introduction o# the telescope! sho) irregular #luctuations about a decade in duration and a long
one that began about 1-,. and is not yet complete. 4he large amplitude o# this e##ect ma&es it
impossible to determine the secular variation #rom data accumulated during an interval o# only
about #our centuries. 4he record is supplemented! ho)ever! by reportsWnot al)ays reliableWo#
eclipses that occurred tens o# centuries ago. 8rom this e6tended set o# in#ormation it is #ound
that! relative to dynamical time! the length o# the mean solar day increases secularly about 1.-
milliseconds per century! the rate o# the *arthLs rotation decreases about one part per million in
,!... years! and rotational time loses about 0. seconds per century s>uared.
4he annual seasonal term! nearly periodic! has a coe##icient o# about /, milliseconds.
COORDIN#(ED .NI-ERS#/ (I&E< /E#P SECONDS
4he time and #re>uency broadcasts o# the Knited Qingdom and the Knited States )ere
coordinated Bsynchroni3edC in 19-.. %s re>uired! ad;ustments )ere made in #re>uency! relative
to atomic time! and in epoch to &eep the broadcast signals close to the K4 scale. 4his program
e6panded in 19-: under the auspices o# the I%K into a )orld)ide system called 2oordinated
Kniversal 4ime BK42C.
Since Dan. 1! 19H/! the K42 #re>uency has been the 4%I #re>uency! the di##erence bet)een 4%I
and K42 has been &ept at some integral number o# seconds! and the di##erence bet)een K41 and
K42 has been &ept )ithin ..9 second by inserting a leap second into K42 as needed.
Synchroni3ation is achieved by ma&ing the last minute o# Dune or "ecember contain -1 Bor!
possibly! ,9C seconds.
%bout one leap second per year has been inserted since 19H/. *stimates o# the loss per year o#
K41 relative to 4%I o)ing to tidal #riction range #rom ..H second in 19.. to 1.0 seconds in /....
Irregular #luctuations cause unpredictable gains or lossesM these have not e6ceeded ..0 second per
year.
I&E DE(ER&IN#(ION
4he classical! astrometric methods o# obtaining K4. are! in essence! determinations o# the instant
at )hich a star crosses the local celestial meridian. Instruments used include the transit! the
photographic 3enith tube! and the prismatic astrolabe.
4he transit is a small telescope that can be moved only in the plane o# the meridian. 4he observer
generates a signal at the instant that the image o# the star is seen to cross a very thin cross hair
aligned in the meridian plane. 4he signal is recorded on a chronograph that simultaneously
displays the readings o# the cloc& that is being chec&ed.
4he photographic 3enith tube BPR4C is a telescope permanently mounted in a precisely vertical
position. 4he light #rom a star passing almost directly overhead is re#racted by the lens! re#lected
#rom the per#ectly hori3ontal sur#ace o# a pool o# mercury! and brought to a #ocus ;ust beneath
the lens. % photographic plate records the images o# the star at cloc& times close to that at )hich
it crosses the meridian. 4he vertical alignment o# the PR4 minimi3es the e##ects o# atmospheric
re#raction. 8rom the positions o# the images on the plate! the time at )hich the star transits the
meridian can be accurately compared )ith the cloc& time. 4he distance o# the star #rom the
3enith Bnorth or southC also can be ascertained. 4his distance varies slightly #rom year to year and
is a measure o# the latitude variation caused by the slight movement o# the *arthLs a6is o#
rotation relative to its crust.
4he prismatic astrolabe is a re#inement o# the instrument used since anti>uity #or measuring the
altitude o# a star above the hori3on. 4he modern device consists o# a hori3ontal telescope into
)hich the light #rom the star is re#lected #rom t)o sur#aces o# a prism that has three #aces at -.f
angles. 4he light reaches one o# these #aces directly #rom the starM it reaches the other
a#ter re#lection #rom the sur#ace o# a pool o# mercury. 4he light traversing the separate paths is
#ocused to #orm t)o images o# the star that coincide )hen the star reaches the altitude o# -.f.
4his instant is automatically recorded and compared )ith the reading o# a cloc&. +i&e the PR4!
the prismatic astrolabe detects the variation in the latitude o# the observatory.
Dynamica! time
"ynamical time is de#ined descriptively as the independent variable! T! in the di##erential
e>uations o# motion o# celestial bodies. 4he gravitational ephemeris o# a planet tabulates its
orbital position #or values o# T. Observation o# the position o# the planet ma&es it possible to
consult the ephemeris and #ind the corresponding dynamical time.
4he most sensitive inde6 o# dynamical time is the position o# the Eoon because o# the rapid
motion o# that body across the s&y. 4he e>uations that )ould e6actly describe the motion o# the
Eoon in the absence o# tidal #riction! ho)ever! must be slightly modi#ied to account #or the
deceleration that this #riction produces. 4he correction is made by adding an empirical term! 'T
/
!
to the longitude! g! given by gravitational theory. 4he need #or this ad;ustment )as not
recogni3ed #or a long time.
4he %merican astronomer Simon (e)comb noted in 1@H@ that #luctuations in g that he had
#ound could be due to #luctuations in rotational timeM he compiled a table o# bt! its di##erence
#rom the time scale based on uni#orm rotation o# the *arth. Reali3ing that nonuni#orm rotation o#
the *arth should also cause apparent #luctuations in the motion o# Eercury! (e)comb searched
#or these in 1@@/ and 1@9-! but the observational errors )ere so large that he could not con#irm
his theory.
% large #luctuation in the *arthLs rotational speed! e! began about 1@9-! and its e##ects on the
apparent motions o# both the Eoon and Eercury )ere described by the Scottish-born astronomer
Robert 4.%. Innes in 19/,. Innes proposed a time scale based on the motion o# the Eoon! and his
scale o# bt #rom 1-HH to 19/:! based on observations o# Eercury! )as the #irst true dynamical
scale! later called *phemeris 4ime.
EP*E&ERIS (I&E
8urther studies by the "utch astronomer Jillem de Sitter in 19/H and by Harold Spencer Dones
Blater Sir Harold! %stronomer Royal o# *nglandC in 1909 con#irmed that e had secular and
irregular variations. Ksing their results! the K.S. astronomer $erald E. 2lemence in 19:@
derived the e>uations needed to de#ine a dynamical scale numerically and to convert
measurements o# the EoonLs position into time values. 4he #undamental de#inition )as based on
the *arthLs orbital motion as given by (e)combLs tables o# the Sun o# 1@9@. 4he I%K adopted
the dynamical scale in 19,/ and called it *phemeris 4ime B*4C. 2lemenceLs e>uations )ere used
to revise the lunar ephemeris published in 1919 by the %merican mathematician *rnest J.
'ro)n to #orm the (mroved )unar %hemeris BI+*C o# 19,:.
EP*E&ERIS SECOND
4he I%K in 19,@ de#ined the second o# *phemeris 4ime as 1/01!,,-!9/,.9H:H o# the tropical
year that began at the instant speci#ied! in astronomersL terms! as 19.. Danuary .
d
1/
h
! Nthe
instant! near the beginning o# the calendar year %" 19..! )hen the geocentric mean longitude o#
the Sun )as /H9f :1h :@..:i OWthat is! $reen)ich noon on "ec. 01! 1@99. In 19-. the $eneral
2on#erence o# Jeights and Eeasures B2$PEC adopted the same de#inition #or the SI second.
Since! ho)ever! 19.. )as past! this de#inition could not be used to obtain the *4 or SI second. It
)as obtained in practice #rom lunar observations and the I+* and )as the basis o# the
rede#inition! in 19-H! o# the SI second on the atomic time scale. 4he present SI second thus
depends directly on the I+*.
4he *4 second de#ined by the I+* is based in a comple6 manner on observations made up to
190@ o# the Sun! the Eoon! Eercury! and Fenus! re#erred to the variable! mean solar time.
Observations sho) that the *4 second e>uals the average mean solar second #rom 1H,. to 19.0.
(D2 #ND (D(
In 19H- the I%K de#ined t)o scales #or dynamical theories and ephemerides to be used in
almanacs beginning in 19@:.
'arycentric "ynamical 4ime B4"'C is the independent variable in the e>uations! including terms
#or relativity! o# motion o# the celestial bodies. 4he solution o# these e>uations gives the
rectangular coordinates o# those bodies relative to the barycentre Bcentre o# massC o# the solar
system. B4he barycentre does not coincide )ith the centre o# the Sun but is displaced to a point
near its sur#ace in the direction o# Dupiter.C Jhich theory o# general relativity to use )as not
speci#ied! so a #amily o# 4"' scales could be #ormed! but the di##erences in coordinates )ould
be small.
B4"4C is an au6iliary scale de#ined by the e>uation 4"4 A 4%I U 0/.1@: s. Its unit is the SI
second. 4he constant di##erence bet)een 4"4 and 4%I ma&es 4"4 continuous )ith *4 #or
periods be#ore 4%I )as de#ined Bmid-19,,C. 4"4 is the time entry in apparent geocentric
ephemerides.
4he de#initions adopted re>uire that 4"4 A 4"' - *! )here * is the sum o# the periodic!
relativistic terms not included in 4%I. 'oth the above e>uations #or 4"4 can be valid only i#
dynamical and atomic times are e>uivalent Bsee belo) %tomic time: SI secondC.
8or use in almanacs the barycentric coordinates o# the *arth and a body at epoch 4"' are
trans#ormed into the coordinates o# the body as vie)ed #rom the centre o# the *arth at the epoch
4"4 )hen a light ray #rom the body )ould arrive there. %lmanacs tabulate these geocentric
coordinates #or e>ual intervals o# 4"4M since 4"4 is available immediately #rom 4%I!
comparisons bet)een computed and observed positions are readily made.
Since Dan. 1! 19@:! the principal ephemerides in The Astronomical Almanac! published ;ointly by
theRoyal $reen)ich Observatory and the K.S. (aval Observatory! have been based on a highly
accurate ephemeris compiled by the Det Propulsion +aboratory! Pasadena! 2ali#.! in cooperation
)ith the (aval Observatory. 4his tas& involved the simultaneous numerical integration o# the
e>uations o# motion o# the Sun! the Eoon! and the planets. 4he coordinates and velocities at a
&no)n time )ere based on very accurate distance measurements Bmade )ith the aid o# radar!
laser beams! and spacecra#tC! optical angular observations! and atomic cloc&s.
#tomic time
2#SIC PRINCIP/ES
4he $erman physicist Ea6 Planc& postulated in 19.. that the energy o# an atomic oscillator is
>uanti3edM that is to say! it e>uals h+! )here h is a constant Bno) called Planc&Ls constantC and j
is the #re>uency. *instein e6tended this concept in 19.,! e6plaining that electromagnetic
radiation is locali3ed in pac&ets! later re#erred to as photons! o# #re>uency j and energy % A h+.
(iels 'ohr o# "enmar& postulated in 1910 that atoms e6ist in states o# discrete energy and that a
transition bet)een t)o states di##ering in energy by the amount b% is accompanied
by absorption or emission o# a photon that has a #re>uency j A b%/h. 8or detailed in#ormation
concerning the phenomena on )hich atomic time is based! see electromagnetic
radiation! radioactivity! and >uantum mechanics.
In an unperturbed atom! not a##ected by neighbouring atoms or e6ternal #ields! the energies o# the
various states depend only upon intrinsic #eatures o# atomic structure! )hich are postulated not to
vary. % transition bet)een a pair o# these states involves absorption or emission o# a photon )ith
a #re>uency j
.
! designated the #undamental #re>uency associated )ith that particular transition.
#(O&IC C/OC;S
4ransitions in many atoms and molecules involve sharply de#ined #re>uencies in the vicinity o#
1.
1.
hert3! and! a#ter dependable methods o# generating such #re>uencies )ere developed during
Jorld Jar II #or micro)ave radar! they )ere applied to problems o# time&eeping. In 19:-
principles o# the use o# atomic and molecular transitions #or regulating the #re>uency o#
electronic oscillators )ere described! and in 19:H an oscillator controlled by a >uantum transition
o# the ammonia molecule)as constructed. %n ammonia-controlled cloc& )as built in 19:9 at the
(ational 'ureau o# Standards! Jashington! ".2.M in this cloc& the #re>uency did not vary by
more than one part in 1.
@
. In 19,: an ammonia-regulated oscillator o# even higher precisionW
the #irst maserW)as constructed.
In 190@ the so-called resonance techni>ue o# manipulating abeam o# atoms or molecules )as
introduced. 4his techni>ue )as adopted in several attempts to construct a cesium-beamatomic
cloc&! and in 19,, the #irst such cloc& )as placed in operation at the (ational Physical
+aboratory! 4eddington! *ng.
In practice! the most accurate control o# #re>uency is achieved by detecting the interaction o#
radiation )ith atoms that can undergo some selected transition. 8rom a beam o# cesium vapour! a
magnetic #ield #irst isolates a stream o# atoms that can absorb micro)aves o# the #undamental
#re>uency j
.
. Kpon traversing the micro)ave #ield! someWnot allWo# these atoms do absorb
energy! and a second magnetic #ield isolates these and steers them to a detector. 4he number o#
atoms reaching the detector is greatest )hen the micro)ave #re>uency e6actly matches j
.
! and
the detector response is used to regulate the micro)ave #re>uency. 4he #re>uency o# the cesium
cloc& is jt A j
.
U bj! )here bj is the #re>uency shi#t caused by slight instrumental perturbations
o# the energy levels. 4his #re>uency shi#t can be determined accurately! and the circuitry o# the
cloc& is arranged so that jt is corrected to generate an operational #re>uency j
.
U k! )here k is the
error in the correction. 4he measure o# the accuracy o# the #re>uency-control system is the
#ractional error k/j
.
! )hich is symboli3ed l. Small! commercially built cesium cloc&s attain
values o# l o# m1 or / ^ 1.
-1/
M in a large! laboratory-constructed cloc&! )hose operation can be
varied to allo) e6periments on #actors that can a##ect the #re>uency! l can be reduced to m, ^ 1.
-
1:
.
'et)een 19,, and 19,@ the (ational Physical +aboratory and the K.S. (aval Observatory
conducted a ;oint e6periment to determine the #re>uency maintained by the cesium-beam cloc&
at 4eddington in terms o# the ephemeris second! as established by precise observations o# the
Eoon #rom Jashington! ".2. 4he radiation associated )ith the particular transition o# the
cesium-100 atom )as #ound to have the #undamental #re>uency j
.
o# 9!19/!-01!HH. cycles per
second o# *phemeris 4ime.
4he merits o# the cesium-beam atomic cloc& are that B1C the #undamental #re>uency that governs
its operation is invariantM B/C its #ractional error is e6tremely smallM and B0C it is convenient to
use. Several thousand commercially built cesium cloc&s! )eighing about H. pounds B0/
&ilogramsC each! have been placed in operation. % #e) laboratories have built large cesium-beam
oscillators and cloc&s to serve as primary standards o# #re>uency.
OT"ER ATOMIC CLOC+S
2loc&s regulated by hydrogen masers have been developed at Harvard Kniversity. 4he #re>uency
o# some masers has been &ept stable )ithin about one part in 1.
1:
#or intervals o# a #e) hours.
4he uncertainty in the #undamental #re>uency! ho)ever! is greater than the stability o# the cloc&M
this #re>uency is appro6imately 1!:/.!:.,!H,1.HH H3. %tomic-beam cloc&s controlled by a
transition o# therubidium atom have been developed! but the operational #re>uency depends on
details o# the structure o# the cloc&! so that it does not have the absolute precision o# the cesium-
beam cloc&.
SI SECOND
4he 2$PE rede#ined the second in 19-H to e>ual 9!19/!-01!HH. periods o# the radiation emitted
or absorbed in the hyper#ine transition o# the cesium-100 atomM that is! the transition selected #or
control o# the cesium-beam cloc& developed at the (ational Physical +aboratory. 4he de#inition
implies that the atom should be in the unperturbed state at sea level. It ma&es the SI second e>ual
to the *4 second! determined #rom measurements o# the position o# the Eoon! )ithin the errors
o# observation. 4he de#inition )ill not be changed by any additional astronomical
determinations.
#(O&IC (I&E SC#/ES
%n atomic time scale designated %.1! based on the cesium #re>uency discussed above! had been
#ormed in 19,@ at the K.S. (aval Observatory. Other local scales )ere #ormed! and about 19-.
the 'IH #ormed a scale based on these. In 19H1 the 2$PE designated the 'IH scale
as International %tomic 4ime B4%IC.
4he long-term #re>uency o# 4%I is based on about si6 cesium standards! operated continuously
or periodically. %bout 1H, commercially made cesium cloc&s are used also to #orm the day-to-
day 4%I scale. 4hese cloc&s and standards are located at about 0. laboratories and observatories.
It is estimated that the second o# 4%I reproduces the SI second! as de#ined! )ithin about one part
in 1.
10
. 4)o cloc&s that di##er in rate by this amount )ould change in epoch by three
milliseconds in 1!... years.
(I&E #ND )RE=.ENC3 DISSE&IN#(ION
Precise time and #re>uency are broadcast by radio in many countries. 4ransmissions o# time
signals began as an aid to navigation in 19.:M they are no) )idely used #or many scienti#ic and
technical purposes. 4he seconds pulses are emitted on 2oordinated Kniversal 4ime! and the
#re>uency o# the carrier )ave is maintained at some &no)n multiple o# the cesium #re>uency.
4he accuracy o# the signals varies #rom about one millisecond #or high-#re>uency broadcasts to
one microsecond #or the precisely timed pulses transmitted by the stations o# the navigation
system loran-2. 4rigger pulses o# television broadcasts provide accurate synchroni3ation #or
some areas. Jhen precise synchroni3ation is available a >uart3-crystal cloc& su##ices to maintain
4%I accurately.
2esium cloc&s carried aboard aircra#t are used to synchroni3e cloc&s around the )orld )ithin
about .., microsecond. Since 19-/ arti#icial satellites have been used similarly #or )idely
separated cloc&s.
RE/#(I-IS(IC E))EC(S
% cloc& displaying 4%I on *arth )ill have periodic! relativisticdeviations #rom the dynamical
scale 4"' and #rom a pulsar time scale PS Bsee belo) Pulsar timeC. 4hese variations!
denoted * above! )ere demonstrated in 19@/7@: by measurements o# the pulsar PSR 190HU/1.
4he main contributions to * result #rom the continuous changes in the *arthLs speed and distance
#rom the Sun. 4hese cause variations in the transverse "oppler e##ect and in the red shi#t due to
the SunLs gravitational potential. 4he #re>uency o# 4%I is higher at aphelion Babout Duly 0C than
at perihelion Babout Danuary :C by about -.- parts in 1.
1.
! and 4%I is more advanced in epoch by
about 0.0 milliseconds on October 1 than on %pril 1.
'y *insteinLs theory o# general relativity a photon produced near the *arthLs sur#ace should be
higher in #re>uency by 1..9 parts in 1.
1-
#or each metre above sea level. In 19-. the K.S.
physicists Robert F. Pound and $len %. Reb&a measured the di##erence bet)een the #re>uencies
o# photons produced at di##erent elevations and #ound that it agreed very closely )ith )hat )as
predicted. 4he primary standards used to #orm the #re>uency o# 4%I are corrected #or height
above sea level.
4)o-)ay! round-the-)orld #lights o# atomic cloc&s in 19H1 produced changes in cloc& epochs
that agreed )ell )ith the predictions o# special and general relativity. 4he results have been cited
as proo# that the gravitational red shi#t in the #re>uency o# a photon is produced )hen the photon
is #ormed! as predicted by *instein! and not later! as the photon moves in a gravitational #ield. In
e##ect! gravitational potential is a perturbation that lo)ers the energy o# a >uantum state.
Pu!sar time
% pulsar is believed to be a rapidly rotating neutron star )hose magnetic and rotational a6es do
not coincide. Such bodies emit sharp pulses o# radiation! at a short period P! detectable by radio
telescopes. 4he emission o# radiation and energetic subatomic particles causes the spin rate to
decrease and the period to increase. Ṗ! the rate o# increase in P! is essentially constant! but
sudden changes in the period o# some pulsars have been observed.
%lthough pulsars are sometimes called cloc&s! they do not tell time. 4he times at )hich their
pulses reach a radio telescope are measured relative to 4%I! and values o# P and Ṗ are derived
#rom these times. % time scale #ormed directly #rom the arrival times )ould have a secular
deceleration )ith respect to 4%I! but i# P #or an initial 4%I and Ṗ Bassumed constantC are
obtained #rom a set o# observations! then a pulsar time scale! PS! can be #ormed such that n! the
di##erence bet)een 4%I and PS! contains only periodic and irregular variations. PS remains valid
as long as no sudden change in P occurs.
It is the variations in n! allo)ing comparisons o# time scales based on very di##erent processes at
)idely separated locations! that ma&e pulsars e6tremely valuable. 4he chie# variations are
periodic! caused by motions o# the *arth. 4hese motions bring about B1C relativistic variations in
4%I and B/C variations in distance! and there#ore pulse travel time! #rom pulsar to telescope.
Observations o# the pulsar PSR 190HU/1! corrected #or the second e##ect! con#irmed the
e6istence o# the #irst. Residuals Bune6plained variationsC in n averaged one microsecond #or 0.
minutes o# observation. 4his pulsar has the highest rotational speed o# any &no)n pulsar! -:/
rotations per second. Its period P is 1.,, milliseconds! increasing at the rate Ṗ o# 0.0 ^ 1.
-
1/
second per yearM the speed decreases by one part per million in ,.. years.
2ontinued observations o# such #ast pulsars should ma&e it possible to determine the orbital
position o# the *arth more accurately. 4hese results )ould provide more accurate data
concerning the perturbations o# the *arthLs motion by the ma;or planetsM these in turn )ould
permit closer estimates o# the masses o# those planets. Residual periodic variations in n! not due
to the sources already mentioned! might indicate gravitational )aves. Irregular variations could
provide data on star>ua&es and inhomogeneities in the interstellar medium.
Radiometric time
%tomic nuclei o# a radioactive element decay spontaneously! producing other elements and
isotopes until a stable species is #ormed. 4he li#e span o# a single atom may have any value! but a
statistical >uantity! the hal#-li#e o# a macroscopic sample! can be measuredM this is the time in
)hich one-hal# o# the sample disintegrates. 4he age o# a roc&! #or e6ample! can be determined by
measuring ratios o# the parent element and its decay products.
4he decay o# uranium to lead )as #irst used to measure long intervals! but the decays o#
potassium to argon and o# rubidium to strontium are more #re>uently used no). %ges o# the
oldest roc&s #ound on the *arth are about 0., ^ 1.
9
years. 4hose o# lunar roc&s and meteorites
are about :., ^ 1.
9
years! a value believed to be near the age o# the *arth.
Radiocarbon dating provides ages o# #ormerly living matter )ithin a range o# ,.. to ,.!...
years. Jhile an organism is living! its body contains about one atom o# radioactive carbon-1:!
#ormed in the atmosphere by the action o# cosmic rays! #or every 1.
1/
atoms o# stable carbon-1/.
Jhen the organism dies! it stops e6changing carbon )ith the atmosphere! and the ratio o#
carbon-1: to carbon-1/ begins to decrease )ith the hal#-li#e o# ,!H0. years. Eeasurement o# this
ratio determines the age o# the specimen.
Pro'!ems of cosmo!ogy and uniform time
It has been suggestedWby the *nglish scientists *.%. Eilne! Paul %.E. "irac! and othersWthat
the coe##icient $ in (e)tonLs e>uation #or the gravitational #orce might not be constant.
Searches #or a secular change in $ have been made by studying accelerations o# the Eoon and
re#lections o# radar signals #rom Eercury! Fenus! and Ears. 4he e##ects sought are small
compared )ith observational errors! ho)ever! and it is not certain )hether $ is changing or
)hether dynamical and atomic times have a relative secular acceleration.
% goal in time&eeping has been to obtain a scale o# uni#orm time! but #orming one presents
problems. I#! #or e6ample! dynamical and atomic time should have a relative secular acceleration!
then )hich one Bi# eitherC could be considered uni#orm?
'y postulates! atomic time is the uni#orm time o# electromagnetism. +eaving aside relativistic
and operational e##ects! are SI seconds #ormed at di##erent times truly e>ual? 4his >uestion
cannot be ans)ered )ithout an invariable time standard #or re#erence! but none e6ists. 4he
conclusion is that no time scale can be proved to be uni#orm by measurement. 4his is o# no
practical conse>uence! ho)ever! because tests have sho)n that the atomic cloc& provides a time
scale o# very high accuracy.
Fia Slashdot! I came by this artic!e describing an apparently ma;or brea&through in >uantum
physics at Harvard! Princeton! and 2al 4ech! allo)ing particle calculations that are normally
incredibly long and comple6 to be boiled do)n to a relatively simple geometric ob;ect. Jhat
)ould have been hundreds o# pages long is no) mind-numbingly simple B#rom the perspective o#
a theoretical physicistC! and may ultimately be e6tended to #orm the basis o# a uni#ied physics
that elegantly encompasses all &no)n phenomena. 4he oddest implication o# the )or& is that
space and time may both be illusions! and that the universe may actually be an unchanging
geometric ob;ect. 4he article is long and involved! but understandable and #ully )orth reading.
One o# the more irritating #eatures o# >uantum physics has been its mathematical <)ordiness< -
the need to engage in math that5s thousands upon thousands o# terms long! and o#ten need
supercomputers ;ust to #igure out relatively simple particle interactions on a #undamental level.
Jhat the ne) research indicates is that this is doing things the incredibly hard and stupid )ay!
and completely unnecessary. Instead! they5ve #ound that a higher-dimensional geometric ob;ect
they5re calling an <amplituhedron< Byeah! descriptiveness trumped aesthetics thereC can be
articulated )hose simple volume calculations that can be done on nap&ins do the same )or& as
,.. pages o# ordinary >uantum algebra. Here5s a representation o# an amplituhedron: