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
JUL 23, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Lab Tests Show Levels of THC Can Rise in CBD Oil During Storage
JUL 23, 2020
Lab Tests Show Levels of THC Can Rise in CBD Oil During Storage
To be federally legal in all states CBD (cannabidiol) oil must contain less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive ingredi ...
JUL 29, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Molecular Footloose: Carbon Monoxide Molecules "Square Dance" with Each Other
JUL 29, 2020
Molecular Footloose: Carbon Monoxide Molecules "Square Dance" with Each Other
The act of "dancing" is not limited to humans, as scientists recently discovered. According to a group of Holl ...
AUG 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Excipients: "Inactive" Drug Components Could Be Functioning Beyond Their Scopes
AUG 07, 2020
Excipients: "Inactive" Drug Components Could Be Functioning Beyond Their Scopes
Excipients are chemical additives to medications. They are incorporated into all kinds of pharmaceuticals to fulfil ...
AUG 22, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
A New Way to Describe Enzyme Kinetics
AUG 22, 2020
A New Way to Describe Enzyme Kinetics
The  Michaelis-Menten equation is classic, but it may not be sufficient to describe all enzymatic reactions, new wo ...
OCT 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
COVID-19 transmitted in a fractal nature
OCT 09, 2020
COVID-19 transmitted in a fractal nature
New research published under the title “Fractal signatures of the COVID-19 spread” in the journal Chaos ...
OCT 10, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Imagining the sunspots of other solar systems
OCT 10, 2020
Imagining the sunspots of other solar systems
A recent study published in the Astrophysical Journal takes a new look at sunspots in order to understand stellar activi ...
Loading Comments...