Time Reborn: a new theory of time - a new view of the world
21st May 2013; (full recording including audience Q&A)
Throughout history, the idea that time is an illusion and that the laws of physics are fixed or ‘eternal’ has been a religious, philosophical and scientific commonplace. In Time Reborn: the Crisis of Physics and the Future of the Universe, Lee Smolin proposes a radically new hypothesis: that the laws of physics are not fixed, but that they evolve, in real time. This spectacular shift of viewpoint, forced on him by the logic of physics and philosophy, suggests that time and our experience of it passing is truly real. All the laws and everything else evolves within it.
This hypothesis not only opens up the possibility of resolving some of the big open issues in physics today, such as the nature of the quantum world and its unification with spacetime and cosmology. It also places profound importance on human agency, on how our social, political, economic and environmental choices directly affect the range of possible outcomes for the future of this planet.
Smolin argues that through consilience in the natural, social and political sciences around the concept that time is real and the future is open, we can summon the imaginative power to invent the communion of political organizations, technology and natural processes essential if we are to thrive sustainably beyond this century.
Professor Lee Smolin, researcher, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and adjunct professor of Physics , University of Waterloo
Professor A C Grayling, philosopher, Master of New College of the Humanities, London
Dr Gillian Tett, author, and assistant editor, Financial Times
Chair: Bronwen Maddox, editor and chief executive, Prospect Magazine