JUN 09, 2020 7:59 AM PDT

Can Time Flow Backward? Very Unlikely According to a Recent Black Hole Simulation

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

The idea of time in physics is often associated with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the entropy of an isolated system increases over time. Since the world keeps moving forward on the arrow of time, entropy shall never decrease. 

Recently, a group of scientists from Leiden University reported a study that examines the irreversibility of time from an astrophysical perspective. They tapped into the enormous computing power of their supercomputer and a fast, grid-based algorithm to solve the three-body black hole system's temporal dynamics.

The three-body problem is a classical mechanics quest to understand the motions of three massive bodies (e.g., planets and stars) after their initial positions and momenta were given, using Issac Newton's laws of motion and gravitation theory.

What the Netherland astrophysicists discovered was that time is unlikely to move backward because things cannot always return to their initial conditions if even we can dial back the clock. 

Their simulation of the black hole trio showed that after dancing around one another for over tens of millions of years, one would be ejected out of the system while the other two would form a relatively stable relationship. 

By simulating the consequence of the events in reverse, the scientists were surprised to find out that in about 5% of the emulated scenarios, the three black holes failed to return to their original position and traveling velocities. The broken symmetry of time in this study may hint an unknown mechanism that underpins the nature of space-time. 

"Since Newton's equations of motion are time-reversible, a forward integration followed by a backward integration of the same time should recover the initial realization of the system (albeit with a sign difference in the velocities). The outcome of a reversibility test is thus exactly known," the authors commented on their discovery in their paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Source: Seeker via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
OCT 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Using AI to map carbon storage in isolated trees
OCT 16, 2020
Using AI to map carbon storage in isolated trees
Mapping over 1.8 billion trees takes time. But with the help of supercomputers and machine learning algorithms, a team o ...
NOV 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
NOV 02, 2020
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
Astronomers have detected Cyclopropenylidene (C3H2) on Titan, one of Saturn's 53 confirmed moons. While the molecule ...
NOV 13, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Mid-IR Spectroscopy a Convenient, Accurate Means of Cancer Diagnosis
NOV 13, 2020
Mid-IR Spectroscopy a Convenient, Accurate Means of Cancer Diagnosis
Last Sunday, November 8, was the International Day of Radiology (IDoR 2020), an event celebrated by radiologists, techno ...
NOV 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
NOV 24, 2020
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
The ongoing worldwide pandemic places the mental health of many communities on red alert. But there may be a remedy to e ...
DEC 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
DEC 11, 2020
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
Physicists believe that we exist in an expanding universe. But what does that mean? Do our habitats, bodies, and atoms & ...
DEC 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Coolest Molecules of 2020
DEC 27, 2020
The Coolest Molecules of 2020
2020 was a chaotic, stressful year for most, but it did not stop innovative ideas and creative scientific thinking from ...
Loading Comments...