Skip to content
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change your settings or learn more here.
OK
Image: Chris Radburn/PA Archive

Spanish physicists reckon time is (literally) going to grind to a halt

Three Spanish academics have come with an alternative theory of time – one which suggests we will eventually be frozen in time forever.
Jun 19th 2012, 2:00 PM 8,257 45

HAVE YOU EVER felt like there simply isn’t enough time in the day to achieve everything you want to do?

Well, that feeling might become less of a problem as the universe continues to age – because time is apparently slowing down, and will eventually grind to a complete halt freezing all of existence in a split second in time.

That’s the theory of three Spanish physicists, who have come up with a new theory to counter the established belief that the universe is continually growing.

Mainstream physics believes that the universe is continually expanding, with the expansion constantly accelerating as a result of ‘dark energy’, a sparse energy is thought to uniformly fill all empty space available to it, and which is believed to make up around three-quarters of the entire universe.

As Adelaide Now summarises, the theory was concocted after astronomers noticed that the debris in supernovae in the furthermost corners of the universe appeared to be moving faster than those taking place closer to the centre of the universe.

But this theory is at odds with the other laws of physics, however, which suggest that the expansion of the universe – having begun with the Big Bang – ought to be gradually running out of energy and slowing down.

So does it exist?

The Spaniards – led by Prof Jose Senovilla, and from universities in Bilbao and Salamanca – have now come up with an opposing theory which doubts the existence of dark energy, and an alternative explanation for why the distant supernovae appear to be faster.

They appear faster, the Spaniards say, because they are faster – because time, at the edges of the universe, moves faster than time at its centre.

Their theory – which has been been recently published in the journal Physical Review D, though it has been around five years in the making – suggests that time, like a clockwork timepiece itself, is beginning to wind down.

Rather than the edges of the universe being faster, it’s actually the centre that’s slower – because on a giant timeline, we’re actually beginning to slow down.

This contrast will continue, they believe – with the outer parts of the universe maintaining a relatively constant speed, while the parts in the centre become relatively slower and sloooower… until eventually, in the centre of the universe, time will stop and all existence will be frozen in a single moment.

As the universe continues to expand in size, the area subject to this freeze will continue to expand… until it swallows up the part of the universe that we call home.

Thankfully, however, we needn’t worry about being personally suspended in time – because given the age of the universe, it’s almost certain that the sun will have burnt out, taking all humanity with it, billions of years before our part of the universe freezes up.

A cosmologist at the University of Cambridge, Gary Gibbons, believes the idea is not without merit.

“We believe that time emerged during the Big Bang,” he told RT. “And if time can emerge, it may have the opposite effect and disappear as well.”

Read: CERN admits: Einstein was right – neutrinos don’t travel faster than light

Jobswatch: Looking for a job? Stephen Hawking is hiring an assistant

Send a tip to the author

Gavan Reilly

COMMENTS (45)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

     
    cancel reply
    Back to top