Friday, December 21, 2007

Is Time Slowing Down?

It’s a theory being presented for evaluation. Tick Tock becoming T i c k T o c k.

Free Republic: Spanish scientist suggests that the universe's end will come not with a bang but standstill - that time is literally running out and will, one day, stop altogether. Professor Jose Senovilla, of the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, has put forward the theory as a rival to the idea of "dark energy" - the strange antigravitational force that is posited to explain a cosmic phenomenon that has baffled scientists.

It was noticed ten years ago that distant stars - the ones on the very fringes of the universe - seemed to be moving faster than those nearer to the centre, suggesting that they were accelerating as they shot through space. Dark energy was suggested as a possible means of powering that acceleration. The problem is that no-one has any idea what it is or where it comes from.

Professor Senovilla's theory does away altogether with dark energy. Instead, he says, the appearance of acceleration is caused by time itself gradually slowing down, like a clock that needs winding. He takes the basis for his idea from the superstring theory, which suggests that dimensions of time and space can move around and change places. His suggestion is that our solitary time dimension is slowly becoming a new space dimension.

While the theory is outlandish, it is not without support. Prof Gary Gibbons, a cosmologist at Cambridge University, believes the idea has merit. "We believe that time emerged during the Big Bang, and if time can emerge, it can also disappear - that's just the reverse effect," he said.

The Professor does bring up the issue that all calculations of cosmic observations depend on the assumption that time remains a constant throughout the universe and this is a big assumption, a matter of faith actually.