Through the Wormhole: Does Time Exist?
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Through the Wormhole: Does Time Exist?

2011, Science  -   264 Comments
Ratings: 8.41/10 from 80 users.

Through the Wormhole: Does Time Exist?When you're having fun, time flies. Waiting in a traffic jam, not so much. Your birthday was last month, and your mortgage payment is due in a few days. The fact that we perceive time is certainly no illusion. But is it really there, or is it something we invented?

Early on in human history, we decided to start measuring the days and weeks, and eventually hours, minutes and seconds. Time was useful in organizing society, planting crops and getting ready for dates. Things worked extremely well until scientists started muddling it all up.

In the 17th century, English scientist Isaac Newton was pretty sure time existed as a universal constant. But in 1908, Hermann Minkowski, expanding on one of Einstein's ideas on the relationship between space and time, suggested a space-time continuum. This theory held that space and time were inextricably mixed, with all events occurring along the same timeline. Einstein presented his theory of general relativity not long after this and proposed that time is but an illusion.

Around the same time (if you believe in time, that is), the field of quantum mechanics grew out of an effort to explain the relationship between matter and energy. This presented a little problem for scientists trying to create a single, unified theory to account for the universe and its component parts. Quantum mechanics requires the existence of time to work. General relativity does not. List of all episodes here: Through The Wormhole.

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Jeffrey Sean Snow
7 years ago

I learned how time travel is possible during my near death experience while in a coma.
I myself have traveled time during my coma. Human Beings have the knowledge already, but haven't thought it in the expansion for time travel, and that Knowledge is knowing how a song and movie is recorded on tape.The Earth we live on is in a magnetic bubble, the core of earth has magnetic activity and covers all up to the magnetic sphere all around earth,For better understanding my Analogy is: The earth is as a VCR Tape Cartridge, the magnetic activity from the core of earth to the magnetic sphere all around earth is as the magnetics on the tape in a VCR tape cartridge, life on earth is as the movie on the Tape in three dimentions without the Atom made Tape, Rotation and Revolution of Earth is as the VCR.
Einstein figured time travel out in a very complicated way in theory from his intelligence, I figured it out by memory from my near death experience, like playing a song by ear and never learning it by written music. This is the truth

8 years ago

My previous comment was about the more recent documentary can time flow backwards both of these are similar.

8 years ago

I watched this documentary and I will say it's a bit beyond my comprehension however I understand the core of what they were talking about well sorta... I don't really think that a theory or examination of particles can conclude that biological events are occurring at all times. Furthermore they went on to say that there is a casualty loop occurring as we speak and events that we will do in the future have already happened in such a way that they effect the past permanently because they are and always will be connected because they are happening at all times in unison forever. This conclusion seems to violate what would seem to be cause and effect such as taking a glass bottle and throwing off a building. The inevitable result will be the destruction of the bottle from the cause of gravity and throwing the bottle by you. The bottle will be destroyed in 35 seconds from a present action to a future result. This doc concluded moments are essentially popping it no existence every nano second and our perception isn't reality. Regardless how can moments from void to reality have a reverse action from action to inaction explain this?

9 years ago

We need to adjust clocks in our satellites to make sure they stay synchronized with earth, so....
I think that time exist and time is relative.

9 years ago

time is man-made. we use it as a reference. everything in the universe is recycled. everything that the universe uses already exists. then is brought together to make energy, matter, planets, people....etc....

no god, no beginning. no end. no time.

Philip Maguire
9 years ago

If time is an illusion how are you a mature human being when you were once a baby? How will you become old when you are now in your prime?

nadir naeem
9 years ago

I just read a few comments about religion and science. Well apparently not only time travel but also sound bombs, gravity, bigbang and galaxies have been told in the Holy book of Islam, the 'Quran' some 1400 years ago. Humanity just is proving by fact what has already been told by religion.

nadir naeem
9 years ago

I believe not just time and space are real but also dimensions.

Since the big bang theory there must be a place in space that is

still not affected / occupied by the big bang. That space or

particular empty area is where the laws of physics or time are alien.

And since all matter, time and space are moving in a 3D, all

vacant vacuum beyond the diameter of bigbang is where all matter

and space could be molded since the time beyond that is in control.

Here the space or infact all spaces are present in the single

constant as time. From here time slows down or in control. It is

not how human mind or body could reach there by light travel but

time travel. If matter is transported back in time by time

travel it wont reach the point before the big bang, but time

itself will. By having control over two points in time, one past

the radius of space and the other before bigbang, time can be

increased or decreased. Time is the dimension beyond/containing

space. And from that point onwards time is not constant.

Jegadish Murugadoss
9 years ago

All you guys who think time is real are nuts.

Danny Wakeling
9 years ago

Have to call out the incorrect math in this one.
SQRT of 2 = 1.41 and not 1.14 as he said.
SQRT of 6 = 2.45 and not 2.44 as he said. How does a big budget show like this mess up such easy math. This is at roughly 11 minutes.

9 years ago

Perhaps you all can help me with this simple question: how is time not the same as movement? Isn't idea of "time" just an abstract construction of our own inability to understand that we are all in motion and there is no matter? Hence, presumably matter is nothing but relationships of frequencies(again movement) held together by their resonance of attraction and repulsion? And all part of a big collection of frequencies in resonance with one another?

Cody Palin
9 years ago

so if time is greatly affected by gravity is there any point in space where time does not exist?
also, most of our basic math and physics depend on time, if (or when) time is proven to not exist do we rewrite these equations? instead of t for time do we put gravity+distance from sea level x universal frame, or something like this? or do we keep our current understanding of time to avoid rewriting all of math?

Rishabh Tripathi
9 years ago

To specify this.. we must ask if time is there.. so what is time ?
According to me, time cannot be mathematically cleared and cannot be proved so.. but we can say that it is just like a video clip with lots of still pictures moving continuously.. ex.. if I slapped my friend then each and every moment of my hand moving towards him is stored in a different picture. but now the question arises that how these actions are made ? are we controlling it ? or is there any supreme controller ? I clearify it by saying that nature uses hit and try method for the life.. just like a book writer who uses all actions he can for a character .. but now the question arises who is the book writer? According to me we are all just like machines..all say that we have feelings and machines do not have them so i wanna say that machines can have brains but the matter is that they do only what we program inside them, we are such kind of machines who also does the same but we can ourself program it and the matter of feelings is also coming form our mind.. EX.. - I can give up my life for my love.. it is not so because I love her but it is so because I know that if I did so , then I'll be a good example of love.
Humans love because the boy and the girl both have something common and they can understand each other.. no one can say that true love is only once. it can be anywhere with anybody because it is simply a thought inside the mind that this person will be my support.
The same reason is there for God. People need a background support that is why they worship god as it gives them a relief that they will be helped by god in bad times.

David Baxter
9 years ago

OMG, can I get one more commercial with this documentary?!! Why would they put a foolish video game commercial add with a documentary that applies physics, duh? Oh and please dont forget the pop-ups...

Now onto the topic. Time is a method used for; constructing, organizing, retrieving and configuring motion and the items with in it. If energy does not die and only transforms, then all objects (matter) are just in the "protocol" of its force (energy forces ((more than one, of course)). To go from one state of being (matter) to another state of being, (possible matter, etc..). While most are looking at time as the situation in question, it is a pin needle thought to what is the driving forces behind the motion called time, space and direction. And, the purpose for that constant. Or, best to say, "The God Theory". But, it is hard to translate that consideration of thought since most scientist think they are god because they figured out how to add, then subtract, and so on. Time only exists if applied...

10 years ago

I love how mr Freeman makes it impossible to find anything he's talking about. How about giving a name for the brain tumor patient or pronouncing equation names a bit slower lol :p

10 years ago

Time and Space exists in the present only together with the constancyof Nature and Memory. Without memory one would not have the ability to engage in the "past" or have the ability to measure any movement from point "A" to point "B" and beyond.These four elements are inextricably tied each to the other and thus give purpose to and form the foundation of and give purpose to life experiences.

10 years ago

Time is nothing more than the observation of change. There is no use for time if something is permanent and unchangeable.

10 years ago

Mach quit the ‘Church of Physics’ (his words) because of his ‘heresy’ of not believing in ‘time’. Mach felt that physics should not build in dependence on what cannot be observed/experienced/sensed. he thus did not want physics to depend on the ‘metaphysics of absolute space and absolute time’, a metaphysics that underpins ‘things-in-themselves-that-change-in-time’. Instead of ‘things changing in time’, Mach saw dynamics in terms of a continually transforming relational spatial plenum. Same for Schroedinger, who compared this understanding of dynamics with the ancient Vedic belief which also saw ‘time’ as ‘Maya’, illusion.

11 years ago

Had been reading the on earth did you people manage to enroll Christianity and any religion really into this? Here we have a documentary being all about science and math and people down here talk about religion! What does religion have to do with the Theory of Relativity, Quantum mechanics, Thermodynamics, String Theory and Mathematics??? I love science and religion being friends but come on! How did you manage to squeeze religion into this? In a topic even God doesn't fully understand to be more vivid! People never stop to amaze me honestly...perception is quite a powerful thing It seems. Clearly more powerful than scientific clues and precise mathematical equations.

11 years ago

At the end Morgan speaks of unlocking time we can't perceive,but how can that be done, how can we unlock something that is not within our grasp, quantum causality maybe...i don't know i'm just puzzled.

The Balance
11 years ago

As species, we're not yet ready to unlock the knowledge of the universe and beyond. Until we have gotten rid of or have fully conquered our primitive weaknesses such as greed and lust, possessing such knowledge will only spell our doom. Just look at what these super-elites are doing to their fellowmen, this is just an example of how still primitive man is and how we can easily get corrupted with wealth and power.

11 years ago

I'm not quite sure whether Time is just an illusion of the universe itself, a delusion of conscious perception or an actual part of reality. I haven't gathered enough data on the idea to hold to any one of those ideas over any other.

I think Time is probably an illusion or at best, a hallucination and what's really primary in the universe is motion, rhythm. But then the whacky world of Quantum Mechanics comes into my thinking (since we are all made of atoms and thus, we're all just masses of quarks and other such sub-atomic diddly-bobs) and I can't quite figure how Time would work on those scales or if it really even exists on those scales at all.

It would seem to me that Time could be better thought of as a social institution. If you do not measure time against something regular such as the motion of the sun, moon and stars or against the ticking of a clock, can Time be said to really exist?

If the Universe as a whole has its own Time seperate from ours (Meta-Time I guess lol) what does its clock say?

If you asked the Universe "what time is it?" would it answer with "13.7 billion years?"

11 years ago

i'm not sure i believe in 5 dimentional space so i can't say i understand the booleen on that.

how can all the information inside a box be represented on its surface area ?

if you take 8 of these boxes and put them in a 4x sized box, then by definition it can only show 3 sides of each box inside it.

i supoze i can beleive that if an object ios speeding near the speed of light, that the doppler shiift makes light radiated in the foreward direction seem to be slower to observers not on the object. but to observers on the object , it seems normal.. yet i can't see how..

summary: whats the booleen proof of that?

11 years ago

I thought it was absolutely fascinating that when relativity and quantum equations are combined, that TIME cancels out (my own paraphrase of what the program said.) As a Christian I find this to be validation of what the Bible has always said: God is eternal, we can also become eternal if we are connected to Him through His son Jesus Christ. What is eternity if not "timelessness"? We may be stuck in time in this age, but it's time is running out! It's so funny that high minded, God denying scientists (who really should be smart enough to know better), time and time again, are forced to agree with what God has been trying to tell us for a long time (and yes, the puns are intended). It's TIME to wake up people!

11 years ago

I commented on the film as well. The comment on faith was a response to other comments posted below and you are asking for the very thing im talking about. Everyone wants to understand the higher power, define it, or to explain it, and this goes against the very nature of faith, when what we need to do is just realize that we all believe in a higher power with the exception of a true atheist and though your beliefs about what or who that higher power is or what that higher power has planned or not planned for us may or may not differ from mine, we can come together under what we have in common instead of religions that say if you don't share my beliefs your going to hell and im going to heaven this is why more people including jesus have been murdered for simply believing in something that differs from someone else. Faith means to believe in something that can not be understood or proven and all religions say they know the truth or their right and every one else is wrong this is why they do the same thing drug users do and that is to get as many people as possible to agree with them so that they feel better about what their doing or believing in. Well I hope this clearifies it for you better and if you don't mind take a minute and give some thault about my comments on time and the universe and tell me what you think these exchanges of thoughts is how we can learn from one another.

11 years ago

To understand the way naturual life works is science but science can not and never will understand the spirit of life but neither can religion people with true faith understand this and present ourselves to the higher power our creator humbled and admitt that we dont know and can not yet comprehend it and therefore just have faith in the spirit of life itself in all its beautiful forms we should learn to celebrate life and worship a higher power and stop creating religions that divide us and create hate between peoples that at the end of the day believe the same thing but want to force their way of life on to others

11 years ago

I believe that time is an effect caused by motion, it is how we track motion itself. Further more i have a therory that there may be a mega verse of dense negitivily charged matter with many universes like bubbles in water and the bubbles are expanding due to stars exploding creating space compressing the negitive matter of the mega verse and with the matter in space in constant motion creating a positive charge and when the stars burn out the mega verse will compress the bubble until the point at which the positive matter in space comes in contact with the negitive matter in the mega verse creating a big bang and once again expanding space. If this therory is right then both sides of the argument are right and time is an illusion that is really happening inside an unchanging static mega verse.

11 years ago

To me - Time is nothing more than motion. Without motion there is no time. Motion of course is relative.

11 years ago

I'll let you know in 20 minutes.

11 years ago

We should redefine the word God to mean the answer to what science has yet to explain, and in our wonderful scientifically enlightened society that keeps getting to be smaller and smaller of a subject area.. until science finally ends up explaining everything, and we won't have need for "God" any longer.

11 years ago

Looked high and low for the exact metronome made by wittner maelzel
shown in this show and could not find the black print copper face
is it a special edition ?
was it damaged?

11 years ago

an interesting way to put it bogdan, very open.
as for most people who still dwell on religion and science every so and so years there is a new "tool" thought by man to interprate what we see and feel. not long till science becomes a thing of the past.
BUT ! dont get me wrong, i do thank all the effort people put into science that brough us the tv internet computer new music films ect.. im just saying.

11 years ago

In fact. I believe most miracles may be our own making and what we see as guardian angels could be our own sub conscience acting out?

11 years ago

I wonder if that' s why there is the *vanishing object phenomena* where objects you have an emotional attachment too tend to disappear in ways that cannot be logically explain and then appear in a weird spot you would never even consider putting it there.

I bet what's happening is our bodies briefly become out of phase with the object and when we relax and no longer panic about looking for it the object seems to appear on it's own or a solution comes.

11 years ago

Thinking that we live in the past (as time being a perception of different sensory signals being interpreted by our brains) is a huge finding. If we are actually experiencing events that happened in the past, then this means we are only observers of our individual movies.

11 years ago

If there is another dimension of time for different alternatives of space an object can take, then could this be proof for pre-defined destiny?

11 years ago

Do you think it's possible that when matter from our universe goes into a black hole it creates a new universe?

Dakota Dickerson
11 years ago

time is money so..
i went and bought a rolex!

11 years ago

time is irrelevant said Edgar.

Matt Mars
12 years ago

It seems to me, that If we look at things carefully i think we can see that while things clearly exist and move - the idea that they do so 'over time' can be seen to be an unfounded assumption.

while Einsteins relativity is correct in what it says about how things move and interact at unusual rates in different circumstances - he never proves the existence o f a pas, or a future or a flow of some thing between them (ie TIME).

I think if we first ask not 'does time exist?' or 'what is time?' - but instead ask

'what do we see in the world around us?' we see that [b]'things exist, move and interact'

- and - if we think about this very carefully we can see that if things 'just' exist move and interact then this would explain everything we think 'suggests the existence of mysterious and undetectable TIME'.

( I have made a series of slide shows about this here - )

Matt Welcome - London.

love to hear any attempt to dis-prove it.

12 years ago

as i walk through the day, everything falls into place, when i reach the bus stop ,my bus would be there or arriving within 1 min, as i walk towards the traffic light it will turn green for me to cross the road, the same would happen for the lift,etc. i would be able to tell which lift was coming first, sometimes there would be 6 lifts in the lobby(accuracy 8times right, 2 times wrong)
everythings happends more smoothly when im in a positive mood, and when my mine is clear, and "The FLOW" will be very very smooth, its really cool to see trafficlights and lifts coming at the exact time and space as you are there, and all for you.

there is a 'design" in all of this TIME & SPACE.

Maybe i will one day write all of my experiences,
" The design of Time & Space", true experiences, non-scitific non-fiction.

12 years ago

if anyone out there can explain, why im able to meet people that i wanted to meet only in my thoughts, but finally meet them in a day or two and out of the blue.

if anyone out there can explain, why am i able to bet a specific number on a roulette table, on my first bet after a specific no. appeares, i do this once a year and it has happen 3years in a row.and all the time the no. opens.

if anyone out there can explain, why im able to tell people i dont know, except when we meet for the first time, how long they have been in a relationship or out of one, their age , discription their pets, family etc.
and it all turns out to be true.

what are the chances, possibilites or probabilities of it all.
we truely dont know everything there is to know, and thats why we are all searching for the truth, and explination of it all.
anyone knows?

"have you used your MIND lately, i have and it always appears as i think it".

12 years ago

I am not a scientist nor a math major. I am mearly but a skilled trade worker. It seems plain as the nose on my face that time has to be something we created. If you take it away what really changes but our schedules?

12 years ago

Good Doc.

As with the rest of the series very thought provoking. It was nice to see Parminides get a mention as this question goes back as far as civilization itself. I would have liked the doc to have been a bit more definitive but hey this a tricky one.

"Time is neither a thing nor an event and thus cannot be measured"
Immanuel Kant

12 years ago

science has and will do a lot for us good and bad as usual. The problem, ie., coldron sphere, (too lazy to look up spelling now), will post all kinds of finds?, i would guess; funding to keep the investment alive is too much of a temptation? I mean think about it, if they found a cure for Aid's or Cancer can you imagine the people that would put out of work!! What i am saying is not carved in stone or may not even be true but i have to believe there is reason for concern?

12 years ago

Not only is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result the definition of insanity... it's also the opposite of the scientific method ;)

12 years ago

I said I dont believe in science today, not that I have never believed in science. I live in a world in which Physics has lost its way, and now hopes to convince the world of invisable particles, if you are to convince us of this, then you must also prove or disprove the existence of ghosts, what is the difference ? I live in a world in which drugs are being marketed not because they have a good therapeutic value, but because they make vast amounts of money for company share holders. I live in a world in which scientists believe in and support global warming, just because it has billions of dollars of investment, not because it is a real phenomenon. I live in a world in which genetically modified plants exist in the food chain, because of science and money, not because it is safe and better. I live in a world in which i am told this is good for me and the same thing is bad for me, so I dont know what to believe. I live in a world in which I could find a thousand more examples why I have lost faith in science, but then if you are a scientist you already know those reasons dont you. You scientists are not just harmless looking hippies, or nerd looking white coats anymore, you are probably the most dangerous people on the planet, the comical mad scientist is much more of a truth today. As for computers, they have destroyed a large part of what made people human, and what it meant to be human.. The internet is awash with commercialisation, whatever value it once had in the early days is long gone. I also question if the computer is a slave to humanity, or humanity is the slave to computers. Also, do not try to belittle me, I have more intelligence in a square cm of brain neurons than your entire university education delivered to your own meager intellect. If science mends its ways, which is highly unlikely in the money driven environment of today, I will let you know, as it is, the vast majority of you do not deserve any respect.

12 years ago

I think you will find science has stopped light in its tracks and can stop and start it at will. I dont believe in science today, particle accelerators in which your detecting theoretical particles supposedly indirectly, there is no proof. My ideas may not have proof, but neither does yours. I will feel no more convinced of the higgs boson because the LHC detected what you think is a signature pattern, than if i photographed a high speed car crash, and claimed debris being ejected from such a collison was some new and exotic matter which has somehow been created from the known matter.

12 years ago

Consider yourself floating in space, then God turns off the lights. You would have no spatial awareness of any dimensions, this proves light is the fourth dimension.

12 years ago

We give a time of 24 hours for the Earth to revolve once on its axis. If we had no measure of time, the Earth would still revolve on its axis. Time is a unit of measure, it is no different than length, height, weight. If I look through a telescope at a star at the edge of the visible universe, I am looking at something which no longer exists, there is no difference to this and my looking at a picture of my great grandad who no longer exists, therefore time, is irrelevant, it has no discernable meaning, it is not even particularly useful as a measure, we can not accurately date the universe, our sun, our planet, or any of the stars we see, and what does it achieve ? Humans are the only species to place any significance on time, time is the sun, and our journey around it, the light from nuclear fusion of stars is what we interpret as time. It is highly improbable, we will ever be able to manipulate the speed of light, therefore, time only has some meaning to humans in there self orientation of the world around them. Humanity manufactured time, to manipulate the world around us, starting with agriculture. space/time, is not relevant to space. We will be extinct long long before anything ever changes in the universe, and time will also die with us.
From an early age we are forced to conform to a clock, be back by this time, its time to go, look at the time your going to be late, it is little wonder we are obsessed by it. Consider how often in one day you look or get told the time, if you actually think about it you may consider yourself to be neurotic about time. Time is in effect what makes us act in a conformist way.
Dates/calendars, have no meaning, January 1st would at least have some celestial meaning if it lined up with a planet. Einstein only got an interest in time when he himself became the product of time, his famous equation does not mention time, but it does mention the speed of light, because the speed of light is what we call time. light is the fourth dimension, of which we are quite ignorant of, and all that mystifies us, often appears in the form of light.