Grandview Heights High School - The Nature Of Time

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The Physics Class of Jo Lee Participates in Exercises to Explore Time!





Research and development engineer Marshall Barnes explains to Grandview physics students that research into issues involving the nature of time is one of the top areas in phyics today. Later that week, Scientific American released a story confirming that. 


Continuing with their exploration into the nature of time the next day, Marshall explained to the class that looking into the physics of time is a very hot topic right now and, in fact, there are a number of scientists who argue that time does not exist at all. As an example of this, he introduced the class to Julian Barbour and explained how Barbour believes that every "now" moment exists as a separate universe in and of itself. He then pointed out that not only does he not agree with this notion, but that he has researched it to the point of being able to prove that it isn't true. For example, Barbour admittedly fails to be able to explain the size that each "now" slice would be and his theory is based on his own "child-like" idea that he can't see time. In an interview with John Brockman, Barbour said "...if you try to get your hands on time, it is always slipping through your fingers...what we think is the flow of time - and even seeing motion - is an illusion".  


Marshall pointed out to the class that Barbour, like all "time deniers" Barbour fails to be able to describe his theory completely without using words that are connected with time. This is apparent in the video below from 5:00 to 6:09.


Marshall told the class that this inability shows that time is real but there needs to be a better explanation. In Einstein's relativity theory, time is a dimension connected to space. Just as Barbour doesn't believe in time because we can't see it, Marshall says that this just means that we need to look at it in a different way and Einstein's theory points the way. 
"If time and space are connected dimensions, we know what space is like, the question is what is time, if it's real, like? That's what we're going to test. How can we see how time acts like a dimension." 
In the video below, Professor Russell Stannard of the Open University in the U.K., explains some of the issues that physicists are dealing with concerning questions about the nature of time. On the next page see how Marshall and the some Grandview student volunteers show that Julian Barbour is wrong and that you can detect time as a real and physical dimension.



Marshall shows the class a profile of time denier physicist, Julian Barbour, and explains Barbour's ideas of a timeless universe. Later Marshall will lead the class through an experiment that proves how time is real. Click on the photo above and see the exciting video!