Meet Associate Professor Joan Vaccaro from the Griffith University who has come up with a radical suggestion about why there’s a difference between the past and the future. As per her theory, the laws of physics don’t need to differentiate between space and time, however, we do not experience time in the same manner as space and this makes time different in a peculiar way. What way? According to her, the answer lies in a unique class of quantum phenomena.
Particular quantum phenomena behave differently when you are moving forward or backward in time and this works as the key for reaching an understanding of the time that is asymmetrical or directed in one-way. She further said that subatomic particles, B and K mesons, are able to provide some really fascinating information about this concept. Her research has been published in the Proceedings of The Royal Society A.
Vaccaro said, “If you want to know where the universe came from and where it’s going, you need to know about time.” She further stated that the experiments been carried out for more than 50 years on subatomic particles have demonstrated that the nature doesn’t treat both directions (forward and backward) of time in the same manner. She said, “In particular, subatomic particles called K and B mesons behave slightly differently depending on the direction of time.”
Let’s see if you can better grasp the concept using this example; if you place a cup of coffee on the table, it is understood that it will remain there. You can move it around the table, however, it would remain as a cup on the table. However, if this cup began to flicker in and out of existence; now you would be worried, yes?
Why don’t we see this flickering of the cup? That’s because it violates the conservation of mass, however, if we consider time and space to be the same then this flickering should be allowed. Why? Because if an object is limited in space (sports a position and size) then it could also be limited in time (appear and disappear).
Vaccaro said, “In the connection between time and space, space is easier to understand because it’s simply there. But time is forever forcing us towards the future. Yet while we are indeed moving forward in time, there is also always some movement backwards, a kind of jiggling effect, and it is this movement I want to measure using these K and B mesons.”
Professor Vaccaro remodeled the equations of quantum mechanics in such a manner that the mass’ conservation was removed as part of a given condition. This led to the discovery that time and space do behave in the same manner when subjected to this scenario. What’s even more interesting is the fact that once the violation of symmetries were allowed, the equations transformed into the ones that help in describing our universe and the law of conservation of mass come up organically using this theory. She said that the understanding about time evolution allows us to gain an improved perspective of the nature of time and shall even help in understanding ideas such as time travel.