An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Is the Universe Two-Timing us?

Itzhak Bars, a physicist at USC College is recommending two dimensions of time and space. He is saying that adding another dimension of time can help relate the Theory of Relativity to Quantum Theory.. and also help do away with the issues with String Theory.

Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory don’t fit together. Some piece is missing in the picture puzzle of physical reality.

Bars thinks one of the missing pieces is a hidden dimension of time.

Bizarre is not a powerful enough word to describe this idea, but it is a powerful idea nevertheless. With two times, Bars believes, many of the mysteries of today’s laws of physics may disappear.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that. An extra dimension of time is not enough. You also need an additional dimension of space.

Here are some more details on Bars theory:

Bars’ math suggests that the familiar world of four dimensions — three of space, one of time — is merely a shadow of a richer six-dimensional reality. In this view the ordinary world is like a two-dimensional wall displaying shadows of the objects in a three-dimensional room.

In a similar way, the observable universe of ordinary space and time may reflect the physics of a bigger space with an extra dimension of time. In ordinary life nobody notices the second time dimension, just as nobody sees the third dimension of an object’s two-dimensional shadow on a wall.

This viewpoint has implications for understanding many problems in physics. For one thing, current theory suggests the existence of a lightweight particle called the axion, needed to explain an anomaly in the equations of the standard model of particles and forces. If it exists, the axion could make up the mysterious “dark matter” that astronomers say affects the motions of galaxies. But two decades of searching has failed to find proof that axions exist. Two-time physics removes the original anomaly without the need for an axion, Bars has shown, possibly explaining why it has not been found.

On a grander level, two-time physics may assist in the quest to merge quantum theory with Einstein’s relativity in a single unified theory. The most popular approach to that problem today, superstring theory, also invokes extra dimensions of space, but only a single dimension of time. Many believe that a variant on string theory, known as M theory, will be the ultimate winner in the quantum-relativity unification game, and M theory requires 10 dimensions of space and one of time.

Efforts to formulate a clear and complete version of M theory have so far failed. “Nobody has yet told us what the fundamental form of M theory is,” Bars said. “We just have clues — we don’t know what it is.”

Adopting the more symmetric two-time approach may help. Describing the 11 dimensions of M theory in the language of two-time physics would require adding one time dimension plus one space dimension, giving nature 11 space and two time dimensions. “The two-time version of M theory would have a total of 13 dimensions,” Bars said.

For some people, that might be considered unlucky. But for Bars, it’s a reason for optimism.

“My hope,” he says, “is that this path that I am following will actually bring me to the right place.”

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