What could be more mysterious, more precious, and more fleeting than time? Heraclitus described time as “a game played beautifully by children,” Albert Einstein declared “time is an illusion,” and Jane Austen wrote that “Time will explain.”
Science has sought to explain time in terms of clocks, space, energy, perception, and convenience. Everyone agrees that we do not have enough of it and that we perceive it to be moving faster year by year.
This panel discusses the challenges of time in physics, biology, and culture. Panelists focus on the idea that time flies forward, like an arrow, as a way of distinguishing what we call “the past” from “the future.” They discuss the latest understanding of the relationship between the arrow of time, entropy, and the second law of thermodynamics as they move from physics fundamentals to time and information in adaptive systems. Along the way, they also reflect on limits to mortality.
The panel is moderated by science writer Jennifer Ouellette. Panelists include cosmologist Sean Carroll (Caltech), physicist James Hartle (UC Santa Barbara), a Santa Fe Institute External Professor, and David Krakauer, President and William H. Miller Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute.
Watch the panel discussion. (1 hour 17 minutes)