Richard Muller is a retired UC Berkley professor who has been studying the world of physics for many years. During his career, he also published a book entitled, “Physics for Future Presidents,” which was also a course he taught. One of the reasons for Muller deciding to write the book was to try and answer his question, “Why does the arrow of time flow inexorably toward the future, constantly creating new “nows”?”
In his book, Muller explains his theory of how time expands because space expands. He says, “The new physics principle is that space and time are linked; when you create new space, you will create new time.” Muller goes on to explain, “Every moment, the universe gets a little bigger, and there is a little more time, and it is this leading edge of time that we refer to as now. The future does not yet exist…it is being created. Now is at the boundary, the shock front, the new time that is coming from nothing, the leading edge of time.” It’s for this very reason that we can’t travel into the future – because it simply isn’t there. And, going back in time is just as unlikely because as well as the reverse time you would have to decrease the amount of space, there is out there.
Following on from the release of his theory, Muller teamed up with Caltech theoretician Shaun Maguire. Together they’ve come up with a way to test the theory using LIGO. LIGO detects merging black holes’ gravitational waves and allows scientists to view it from Earth. Muller explains, “The coalescing of two black holes creates millions of cubic miles of new space, which means a one-time creation of new time.” During his career, Muller was awarded a MacArthur Prize, shared the 2014 Breakthrough Prize, and co-founded Berkley Earth with his daughter as well as achieving many other feats along the way.
To date, no other physics theory has the flow of time built into it. Even Einstein himself was flummoxed when it came to the reasons as to why time flows. But, later on, Arthur Eddington cemented Einstein’s general theory of relativity by adding that time flows in the direction of entropy, and because entropy can never decrease, time always moves forward (according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics). However, Muller argues that “We are constantly discarding excess entropy like garbage, throwing it off to infinity in the form of heat radiation. The entropy of the universe does indeed go up, but the local entropy, the entropy of the Earth and life and civilization, is constantly decreasing.” Muller is hopeful that at least LIGO should be able to confirm his theory within the next few years, one way or the other, so we shall just have to wait and see.
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