Time is relative. This sentence sums up something that physicist Albert Einstein wrote, stating that “the difference between past, present and future is only a persistent illusion”. What he meant by that is that the way each of us interprets time is not the same.
Below we tell you a little more about this theory and other curious facts about the weather!
1. Different cultures experience time in different ways
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
When we talk about time, it is normal to imagine something happening in a straight line, from left to right, affecting the way we understand it. However, many cultures have languages that flow from right to left. For those who live in societies with these languages, the representation of time is also from right to left.
For the Aymara, who live in the Andes Mountains, the future is behind them, while the past is ahead. This is because, in their view, the future is unknown and we walk with our backs to it, while observing the past.
2. Time is (really) relative
There are two different interpretations of the phrase “time is relative”. The first one concerns the way each person perceives time passing. When you’re working on an activity that requires a lot of concentration, or you’re doing something fun, time seems to speed up. When the activity is boring, time seems to drag on longer.
The explanation for this is biological and is related to the release of dopamine in our body. This neurotransmitter is one of those responsible for feeling happy, but a study has also revealed that it can slow down your body’s internal clock, making time seem to be flying by during a pleasurable activity.
3. Weather can affect people in different ways
Scott and Mark Kelly.
The second interpretation of the phrase is physical and has to do with the Theory of Relativity, which demonstrates how time is affected by velocity. This means that for a person who has spent their entire life on Earth, time passes differently than for an astronaut in orbit.
This experiment was proven with astronaut Scott Kelly and his twin brother, Mark. After Scott spent 340 days living on the International Space Station, he returned to Earth about 5 milliseconds younger than when he left, relative to his older brother. The difference is related to the greater speed of the Earth’s orbit. If it were possible to travel close to the speed of light, Scott could come back younger than Mark’s children or grandchildren.
4. Time travel is possible, theoretically
(Source: Lucas Film/Disney/Reproduction)
According to Einstein’s theory, going back in time is possible, just exceed the speed of light. The problem is that for that to happen, it would need to have infinite mass. As this would be impossible, the alternative would be to create a passage that would bend space-time and allow us to “cut a path”.
What theoretical physics suggests, in this case, is to “build” wormholes between two points in spacetime. The problem for this to come to fruition is that we are still far from having the technology to build something like a wormhole.
The second alternative would be to bend space-time by pulling out some cosmic strings, which are thin streams of pure energy that move in opposite directions at a speed very close to the speed of light. Two of these strings could theoretically warp spacetime enough to create a passageway between two different periods in time.