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Tue Apr 30, 2013, 12:44 PM

‘Time Crystals’ Could Upend Physicists’ Theory of Time

BY NATALIE WOLCHOVER


In February 2012, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek decided to go public with a strange and, he worried, somewhat embarrassing idea. Impossible as it seemed, Wilczek had developed an apparent proof of “time crystals” — physical structures that move in a repeating pattern, like minute hands rounding clocks, without expending energy or ever winding down. Unlike clocks or any other known objects, time crystals derive their movement not from stored energy but from a break in the symmetry of time, enabling a special form of perpetual motion.

“Most research in physics is continuations of things that have gone before,” said Wilczek, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This, he said, was “kind of outside the box.”

Wilczek’s idea met with a muted response from physicists. Here was a brilliant professor known for developing exotic theories that later entered the mainstream, including the existence of particles called axions and anyons, and discovering a property of nuclear forces known as asymptotic freedom (for which he shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 2004). But perpetual motion, deemed impossible by the fundamental laws of physics, was hard to swallow. Did the work constitute a major breakthrough or faulty logic? Jakub Zakrzewski, a professor of physics and head of atomic optics at Jagiellonian University in Poland who wrote a perspective on the research that accompanied Wilczek’s publication, says: “I simply don’t know.”

Now, a technological advance has made it possible for physicists to test the idea. They plan to build a time crystal, not in the hope that this perpetuum mobile will generate an endless supply of energy (as inventors have striven in vain to do for more than a thousand years) but that it will yield a better theory of time itself.

more
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/04/time-crystals/all/

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Reply ‘Time Crystals’ Could Upend Physicists’ Theory of Time (Original post)
n2doc Apr 2013 OP
enlightenment Apr 2013 #1
demwing Apr 2013 #2
yonder May 2013 #9
demwing May 2013 #10
yonder May 2013 #11
tclambert May 2013 #12
matt819 May 2013 #29
gordianot Apr 2013 #3
colorado_ufo Apr 2013 #4
Rozlee May 2013 #24
yesphan Apr 2013 #5
LineReply .
eppur_se_muova Apr 2013 #6
Moondog Apr 2013 #7
Warpy Apr 2013 #8
A Simple Game May 2013 #13
goldent May 2013 #14
montex May 2013 #15
tomp May 2013 #16
FlaGranny May 2013 #17
thesquanderer May 2013 #18
longship May 2013 #20
DetlefK May 2013 #22
Peace Patriot May 2013 #26
gateley May 2013 #27
nikto May 2013 #19
xtraxritical May 2013 #21
DetlefK May 2013 #23
Throckmorton May 2013 #25
kestrel91316 May 2013 #28

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 12:51 PM

1. I understand only a minute portion of all that -

but it sounds absolutely fascinating. I love the moments when the paradigms shift.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 01:27 PM

2. And I love the fact that we are witness

to a whole lot of shift happening in our generation.

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Response to demwing (Reply #2)

Wed May 1, 2013, 01:13 PM

9. and I would add:

we are witness to a whole lot of "shift" TO our generation.

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Response to yonder (Reply #9)

Wed May 1, 2013, 02:09 PM

10. be positive

this is a positive report...

And the only damned thing that I can see saving us is science. Fuck the politicians, and fuck the corporations.

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Response to demwing (Reply #10)

Wed May 1, 2013, 03:17 PM

11. I positively agree, especially the corporations. nt

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Wed May 1, 2013, 04:48 PM

12. I second that.

We should keep watch for a clearer explanation.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Sun May 5, 2013, 11:56 PM

29. Me too

I understood, "In February 2012." After that, nothing.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 01:44 PM

3. It makes one wonder why NASA has shifted faster than light travel to the category of "speculation"

with some support from science. Revolutions are happening on concepts far beyond the grasp of the general public. Maybe humans are evolving on levels beyond our apparent social and political decay.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 02:53 PM

4. The human race is not advancing in a linear manner but in an exponential one.

Unfortunately, this does not apply to all aspects of the human race. The advancement is uneven, and this is very dangerous. That is why we have countries with medieval cultures and atomic weapons.

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Response to colorado_ufo (Reply #4)

Sun May 5, 2013, 04:58 PM

24. A lot of those medieval countries are that way

because of oppression from countries with atomic weapons. Witness the way we keep propping up repressive rulers in places like Saudi Arabia, who have kept the wealth in the House of Saud while their people languish. Greed has kept the human race from advancing in a linear manner. And I wonder if any new discovery, like atomic power, would have applications that would be put for the betterment of mankind or for the promotion of implements of war.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 03:18 PM

5. So, these guys

were on to something ?

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 04:36 PM

7. Just being able to devise an experiment

to explore this theory is, to those of us without the necessary background and education, a marvel.

Thanks for posting this.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 05:41 PM

8. Interesting. Yet another couple of Star Trek plots

turn out to be plausible, although remotely so.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 10:21 PM

13. I used to love this stuff, now I just feel that most of these people are just the

alchemists of our time.

I like the ancestor simulation theory the best. Makes as much sense as any of the others.

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Response to A Simple Game (Reply #13)

Wed May 1, 2013, 11:26 PM

14. When I see articles like this, it reminds me how little progress has been made in theoretical

physics in the last 60 years or so.

Edit: Really intended to respond to the original post, but this works also.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu May 2, 2013, 02:00 AM

15. Perpetual Motion Machine = Junk Science

Physics don't just "deem" perpetual motion machines impossible, the universe forbids them. Wilczek may have found an interesting gimmick, but it will be proven - without a doubt - to fit in within the standard model of physics. There has never been an exception, ever. Because there cannot be. The universe is moving from a high state of entropy to a lower state. This applies to everything - no exceptions. For a perpetual motion machine to exist there would have to be a case where low entropy moved to a high state. And that is as likely as a glass of spilled milk jumping off the floor and back into the glass. It. Doesn't. Happen.

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Response to montex (Reply #15)

Thu May 2, 2013, 06:23 AM

16. interesting opinion.

...and stated as if wilczek never heard it before. i'd love to hear you debate that with wilczek.

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Response to montex (Reply #15)

Thu May 2, 2013, 07:31 AM

17. Strange!

I read the entire article and didn't get the impression they were trying to build a perpetual motion machine. What the universe forbids, I do not know, and I doubt anyone truly does. We "know" very little and no doubt many experiments that prove whether or not some yet to be imagined theories are true or false are in our future.

It does seem that a number of scientists are interested enough in the idea of a time crystal to fund the experiment. It is doubtful that Mr. Wilczek, a respected physicist and a Nobel Prize winner, is interested in gimmicks.

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Response to montex (Reply #15)

Thu May 2, 2013, 09:29 AM

18. Your post reads like you haven't read the article (n/t)

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Response to montex (Reply #15)

Fri May 3, 2013, 03:43 AM

20. It. Can. Happen.

Basically, the 2nd Law is statistical, it doesn't say entropy must increase, it says that there are many more possible high entropy states than low entropy states so a system tends to move to higher entropy. It certainly doesn't have to do that.

I'm not the best one to explain the 2nd Law to you, so here's physicist Sean Carroll to explain it.



So, of course there will be exceptions. Statistically, the 2nd Law predicts that, too.

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Response to longship (Reply #20)

Fri May 3, 2013, 05:18 PM

22. Thanks for posting.

A similar argument can be drawn to explain how life (low entropy) emerged from non-life (high entropy). It's just a matter of statistics, time and chemical reaction-kinetics.

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Response to montex (Reply #15)

Sun May 5, 2013, 10:51 PM

26. The Universe AS WE UNDERSTAND IT RIGHT NOW forbids time travel and perpetual motion.

You write as if we understand everything. That is very, VERY improbable, from our ant-like point of view of the Universe, and considering how recently scientists began to understand even the most basic concepts--really just in the last hundred years or so.

It is a very dangerous--and I would say, unscientific--thing to say that something "applies to everything - no exceptions." Truly, we are at the edge of an ocean of knowledge, like ants on a leaf floating on a wavelet. We barely know "what's out there." We only barely understand our own DNA. As for subatomic particles, they do such strange, inexplicable things, that physicists plainly admit that they are mystified, and no one has yet come up with a 'unified theory.'

It's NOT a time to be dogmatic, to pretend that there are fixed "verities" that no one--not even a Nobel prize winner--dare challenge. That kind of thinking dumbs people down. Considering the breadth of the ferment in numerous sciences right now, I would advise you not to use words like "never" and "impossible" without that caveat "as far as we know now."

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Response to montex (Reply #15)

Sun May 5, 2013, 10:57 PM

27. You're right. This guy obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. Ask for the Nobel

prize to be returned!

I'm guessing you have one, too, seeing as how you're smarter than this group.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu May 2, 2013, 08:24 PM

19. Time Travel was proved possible by these guys...





Case closed.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2013, 10:34 AM

21. Oooo star trek neener neener

 

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2013, 05:42 PM

23. Energy is the generator of temporal alterations.

If you want to change a system over the course of time, you need energy.
If you want to change a system over the course of space, you need momentum.
The more energy and the more momentum, the bigger changes are possible.

I was shocked to read in the article that a quantum-physicist claims that a ground-state were equal to zero energy. It just means, you can't get any more energy out of the system, but that doesn't necessarily mean zero:
The quantum harmonic oscillator has a ground-state of 1/2*hbar*omega.
And there have been claims of states with fractional quantum-numbers below the ground-state of an atom. (Personally, I don't trust this theory.)



Btw, anyons are a hypothetical classification of particles that would exist in a world with two spatial dimensions, replacing fermions and bosons.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun May 5, 2013, 10:24 PM

25. Blinx No!!!!!!, Planet B1Q64 is done for!!!

See, I knew it all along.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun May 5, 2013, 11:05 PM

28. I wonder how many time crystals can dance on the head of a pin......

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