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Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, “the new Stephen Hawking”

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 13 jul 2021, 13:04 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 26 ago 2021, 8:24 ]
Since the times of ancient Greece, physicists have tried to come up with theories and test their hypotheses to explain how the world and the Universe work.
Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, winner of several awards and the author of several books for the general public.
In more contemporary times, names like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking have stood out for their famous theories of Relativity and the Big Bang, and technological advance has allowed interesting experiments at the level of quantum mechanics, which is what describes the microscopic world.

And it is in this field that for several years the figure of Italian-born physicist Carlo Rovelli, author of several books, has stood out and who has caused surprise by uttering phrases during his lectures such as “time does not exist.”

In an article titled Rock star physicist Carlo Rovelli on why time is an illusion and published in the New Statesman magazine, George Eaton wrote that “the determination of Rovelli for making quantum physics accessible and his prodigious book sales have led him to be called ‘the new Stephen Hawking.’”

According to the scientist born in Verona, Italy, in 1956, the concept of time as we know it, as past, present and future, does not really work like that at the quantum level.

“These are not speculative, weird dream ideas of physicists. These are facts that we measure in the laboratory, with instruments and that can be verified,” he claims.

Complex universe

After becoming interested in science during his period as a young rebel in Italy, Rovelli resolved to devote his life to trying to reconcile the theory of quantum mechanics with that of Einstein’s general relativity.

While developing his theories, Rovelli was one of the founders of the loop theory of quantum gravity, or “loop theory,” which posits a fine, granular structure of space. It is like a network of quantized loops of gravitational fields. That theory has applications in different fields, for example, to study the Big Bang or to address the properties of black holes.

During his brilliant career, Rovelli has received several awards and published several books. One of them, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, has been translated into 41 languages and has sold more than one million copies.

The prominent scientist has also taught in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, and is a researcher at the Center for Theoretical Physics in Marseille.

Fascinating time

The editor of BBC News Mundo Margarita Rodríguez interviewed this physicist, questioning him on different topics, including time.

Here we reproduce some of the questions aimed at discovering the reflections of this man of science.

Editor: What did you find when you asked yourself: why can we only know the past and not the future?

Rovelli: The reason we have information from the past and not from the future is statistics. It has to do with the fact that we don’t see the details of things. We have a very vague view of the details. We don’t see the individual molecules that make up the air in the room we’re in.

But in the microscopic world, there is no similar distinction between the past and the future.

Editor: You have talked about the elasticity of time and about a day when “we directly experience things like meeting our older children on our way home.” That is fascinating. How could it happen?

Rovelli: The correct question is the opposite: why when we part and meet again, your watch and my watch measure the same time interval? There is no reason why they should.

Our experience tells us that’s only because our measurements are not accurate enough. If they were, we would see that time runs at different speeds for different people, depending on where they are and how they are moving.

Therefore, I could separate from my children and meet again with them in a time that is a year for me and 50 years for them. I am still young and they have aged. This is surely possible.

The reason why we don’t experience that in a usual way is that our life on Earth moves at slow speeds between us andin that case the time differences are small.

“The clearest example of the relativity of time is the so-called paradox of the twins, although there is nothing paradoxical about it. If one of the twins travels at high speed away from the other, and then returns, when they meet they will have different ages: the one that has never changed speed will be the oldest.”

“Time is not an absolute ‘continent’ in which objects evolve; time is specific to each object and depends on their movement.”

“There have been concrete experiments (not with twins, but with very precise identical clocks on board fast planes) and each time it has been found that the world works exactly as Einstein understood it: the two clocks mark different times when they meet again.”

Source: BBC Mundo.