Is your great-grandmother alive according to Einstein’s theory of special relativity?

This is a random question. Sabine Hosenfelder was in a taxi with a young man who said she was a physicist, and he told her: “A shaman told me my grandmother is still alive because of quantum mechanics. Is it true?”. He is the best person to ask that.

The scientist, who now works at the Center for Mathematical Philosophy at the University of Munich in Germany, spends his time searching for answers to these kinds of questions. “That’s what got me interested in physics from the beginning: all the big questions that are hard to answer,” he says. BBC Mundo.

These responses are recorded in newspaper articles and books He failed in mathematics (2018) Y Existential Physics: A Scientist’s Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions (In Spanish it will be “Existential Physics: A Scientists’ Guide to Life’s Big Questions”, 2022). In addition, she is known by her Blog BackRe(action) And his famous Channel on YouTube.

Hundreds of thousands follow her because ““Mysteries attract.”. “I think behind that fascination is a desire to understand how we fit into this universe and what those fundamental laws that we use in physics tell us about it,” he says.

They don’t exactly answer all the big questions, though They give us an indication of what is possible and what is not.”. But back to that question… was what the shaman said true?

“I don’t know what to say, because quantum mechanics doesn’t have much to do with life after death,” he says.

Sabine Hosenfelder tries to answer life’s great mysteries

“But after thinking for a while, I came to the conclusion that it is not entirely false.

“If you put quantum mechanics aside, our theories of space and time, which go mainly to Albert Einstein, tell us about the reality of the past and the future, although the future is much more complicated. That quantum mechanics.

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Following that thread A different answer came. “Einstein taught us, although I think this was a consequence of his theory, it was surprising to him, but you cannot talk about the existence of this present moment without acknowledging the existence of the past. Way. Method”.

You may have noticed: the present is a moment between the past and the future.

If I ask you what you are doing at the moment, you will answer that you are reading this article, but that answer already contains the past tense. “Everything you experience, everything you see, you see as a small period of time in the past,” Hosenfelder described.

“Now” is elusive. And, “What we call this present may be someone else’s future or past. Einstein called this concept observer independence.

To understand it better, let’s recall one of Einstein’s famous thought experiments.

The moment you imagine, Two currents collided: When the Newtonians measured the speed of light, they said it was different depending on how you moved; Maxwellians argued that the speed of light is always the same.

Einstein focused on the main component of speed: time. He realizes that a statement about time is a question of what is simultaneous. For example, if you say that the train arrives at 7:05, it means that it arrives at the platform at the same time as the clock showing 7:05.

He thought that this simultaneous thought depends on how you move. That means The passage of time is not the same for everyone. He filmed himself standing on a railway station platform.

Suddenly, two bolts of lightning strike him on either side, at the same distance. Everyone’s light reaches their eyes at precisely the same time. For him, two rays hit at once.

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But at that precise moment, a train is traveling at near the speed of light with a woman on board. As it emerges from the beams, the train moves toward one and away from the other.

Frontal Ray Light, in the direction it travels, The distance is short and reaches her eyes first. Unlike the man on stage, for the woman, time passed between the two bolts: one fell before the other.

From the point of view of the woman traveling from left to right, the ray on the right strikes a few minutes earlier than the one on the left.

If the speed of light is constant – it is – who is right? Neither is. Both have an equally valid point of view. Physics observes that “all observers have the same rights, so to speak: your truth is no more real than mine.”

This inability to define a concept now that we all agree on is called “simultaneity relativity.” “Einstein said we should think of time as one dimension, and he created an entity called space-time,” he explains.

“Once you do that, you can’t introduce a specific moment now because it won’t work for all audiences.” Following that logic, Hosenfelder points out, if there is no clear concept to define what is happening now. Every moment can be for someone now.

It includes all the moments of your past and your future.

“This leads to the conclusion that the past is the same as the present.” This leads us to think that your great-grandmother’s living past is similar to our present.

Of course, none of this is going to help you if you want to talk to your great-grandmother.… We still don’t know how to do something like that. Those last words caught our attention: What does “yet” mean?

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“At this point I must admit that the following I believe are interesting to me, But they may or may not be correct”. If anything, we were intrigued, especially considering that his ideas were derived from a course in basic physics.

“If you think about it, when someone dies, in a sense, they stay on. “What happens is that all the information that made up your personality—the specific connections of atoms, the synapses in your brain, and so on—falls apart.

“But we know from the way the basic laws of nature work This information is not deleted. “It spreads through subtle interactions in the body’s debris, entangles with other particles, spreads throughout the Earth and, over time, throughout the universe.”

Therefore: The information is still there, but it cannot be retrieved for practical purposes. Still, Hosenfelder wonders, who knows what will happen in a billion years? “The universe is going to be around for a while, so there’s potential for technological development,” says Hosenfelder.

“The information that makes up a person isn’t in one place anymore, so even if we can’t talk to it, someone will figure out how to do it.”

“Or there may be some change in the nature of men; Perhaps some cosmic consciousness will spread and that information will become accessible again.

“It sounds crazy, and I admit it’s hard for me to understand intuitively, but based on what we know about how our current theories work, it appears that our existence transcends time.”There is something timeless about the information that creates us and everything in the universe.”.

As Einstein wrote: “For physicists who believe, The distinction between past, present and future has only an illusory meaningAlthough persistent”.

By Dahlia Ventura

BBC Mundo

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