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November 19, 2012


What are the practical applications of this finding, or is the primary significance in relation to other research?

Damn, that ruins my current blogpost ;-)

here is Sean Carroll's take :-


Joared--The core of the article that Stu so kindly steers you to is contained in the statement (from the article), "...the confusion between time reversal and the arrow of time often leads smart working physicists to think they have discovered something interesting about the arrow of time when really they’re addressing a completely different problem."

My answer to your question is that I doubt either of us will live long enough to care whether there is a practical application. I'll let the Sheldon Coopers wrestle with the issue. ; )

Does this mean that time always runs forwards, as one would intuitively believe? Or is that just a dumb non-scientist interpretation?

Hattie--I'll give you my best answer to your first question and depend upon smarter physicists (Stu) to correct me: Time always runs forward.

Hopefully, to clarify, here is the first paragraph from the article by Michael Zeller, Department of Physics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA Published November 19, 2012 | Physics 5, 129 (2012) | DOI: 10.1103/Physics.5.129 Viewpoint: Particle Decays Point to an Arrow of Time

"Time moves irrevocably in one direction. Things get old, decay, and fall apart, but they rarely ever reassemble and grow young. But at the particle level, time’s arrow is not so clearly defined. Most collisions and other particle interactions look the same whether run forwards or backwards. Physicists have, however, identified a few reactions that appear to change when time is reversed, but the reasoning has assumed certain relations between fundamental symmetries of particle physics. The BaBar collaboration has now observed time-reversal violation directly and unambiguously in decays of B mesons. The measured asymmetry, reported in Physical Review Letters [1], is statistically significant and consistent with indirect observations."

I don't even understand the references I hear on 'Big Bang Theory' so all I understood here was that 'time moves in one direction and things get old, decay and fall apart'.
I can't begin to wrap my head around a method of reversing time! Love your blog though!

Lauren--Thanks for dropping by (from Ronni's?) and for the kind words. Unless you are employed or have a strong avocation in the science/technology/engineering/math arena, you may be excused for not understanding all of the references on TBBT. Even Hunky Husband (an engineer who, on occasion accompanies me to physics seminars) misses many of the references and allusions on the program. AND...who's to say that I catch them all?!

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