Episode 10: The Illusion of Time?, With Julian Barbour

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Feature Guest: Julian Barbour

Our guest today is Julian Barbour who joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to share his unique insights into the elusive mystery of time. He explains how new perspectives and research he is leading on time – which take seriously the puzzling implications of the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics – may herald a new revolution in physics. The two explore the paradoxes of simultaneity and duration, asking how we know a second today is the same as a second a billion years ago. They then discuss Barbour’s own personal paradox, in which his belief that time is illusory exists alongside his fascination with human history. In his own eccentric, provocative and illuminating style, Barbour finally takes listeners on a tour of Platonia, a new concept in which existence is turned into a series of “nows” – or time capsules – and time is intricately connected to every activity in the universe.

Barbour is a theoretical physicist. Uniquely, he contributes to various fields without holding an academic position. He works part time as a translator and lives on a farm north of Oxford village. He’s been a visiting professor at the University of Oxford since 2008. Barbour holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Buckingham and is the author of a number of books, including Absolute or Relative Motion?, The Discovery of Dynamics, and The End of Time. His interests include quantum gravity, the history of science, and of course, time

In Curent in Space we remind listeners not to miss the final days of the Perseid Meteor Show and provide an update on the first few Sols of the Curiosity rover which is now sending its first colour images from the Red Planet.

Links

Julian Barbour’s homepage

Julian Barbour links at Edge.org

2011 Is Reality Digital or Analog? Winning Essays Essay – Bit From It

2008 The Nature of Time Winning Essays – The Nature of Time

If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to starspotpodcast@gmail.com.

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