Running Backwards Time

CIT Prof. (and Villanova Astronomy alum) Sean Carroll poses some interesting questions in Scientific American this month about Life, The Universe and Everything.

The basic laws of physics work equally well forward or backward in time, yet we perceive time to move in one direction only—toward the future. Why?

To get there, he makes the startling observation that in many respects, the universe just isn’t natural. It must have started in an extremely unlikely state to get to where it is today following the laws of physics.

The universe does not look right. That may seem like a strange thing to say, given that cosmologists have very little standard for comparison. How do we know what the universe is supposed to look like? Nevertheless, over the years we have developed a strong intuition for what counts as “natural”—and the universe we see does not qualify.

[Gee. It’s almost as if it was planned that way. Naw… ed.]

It’s a good read, with one of the best explanations of the concept of entropy that I’ve read in years.

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