9 Mar 2009

Seven things you need to know about time

Bored at work? Of course - but check this out to see if there's anything you can do about it. Click the title for the complete article and links.

What makes the universe tick?

It turns out that if you want to understand time, you might need to grab some measurements from the future, watch a big bang explode at the edge of the universe, or delve into the anomalies presented by the most unruly of the subatomic particles. For some, the only solution is to scrap the notion of time altogether.

Calls to scrap the 'leap second' grow

At midnight on New Year's Eve, time stopped momentarily. Guardians of atomic clocks around the world added an extra "leap second" to 2008 to keep time synched with the Earth's rotation - but do they really need to bother?

Time slows for people who stop smoking

Time really does pass more slowly when you are gasping for a cigarette. Researchers found that when regular smokers gave up their habit, their perception of passing time was stretched by 50%.

Is time an illusion?

One group of physicists has recently found a way to do quantum physics without invoking time. If correct, the approach suggests that time really is an illusion, and that we may need to rethink how the universe at large works.

Outside of time: The quantum gravity computer

A quantum gravity computer would be the ultimate design, and radically different from anything we have ever seen. Not only might it be supremely powerful, defying the logic of cause and effect to give instantaneous answers, it might also tell us exactly how the universe works.

Time in the future seems to go further

The best time to ask someone for a favour is at least several weeks in advance, a new study suggests. The research finds that people consistently over-commit because they expect to have more time in the future than they do right now.

2008: Does time travel start here?

If a pair of Russian mathematicians are right, the launch of the Large Hadron Collider could be overshadowed by a truly extraordinary event. According to Irina Aref'eva and Igor Volovich, the LHC might just turn out to be the world's first time machine.