Ep. 32 - A New Theory of Time: Physicist Julian Barbour
As we come to the end of a year most of us would be keen to forget, I thought it was time to have a look at…time. Today on the show, I’ve got physicist Julian Barbour, who has a new theory about the Big Bang and time, which he elucidates in his latest book, The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time.
This one gets a little more complex than a typical episode of On the Edge with Andrew Gold, so I’m going to break down a few things I think I’ve learned. Firstly, Julian (official website) posits that the old Newtonian view of time is not entirely right, because it puts us inside a box. Thinking outside the box, Julian believes time is not necessarily a thing on a map like some of us thought…the only thing that time is, is a series of changing shapes of the universe. To differentiate between the past and the future, it’s just a case of seeing things like atoms and particles becoming less simple and structured, until complex things like us are able to exist. One of the most amazing parts of Julian’s theory however, is that time goes back to the Big Bang – and then goes the other way. So before the Big Bang is just another timeline going in the other direction. Bit weird, right?
I always edit down the interviews a fair bit to make them quick and accessible, so I’ve lost some of Julian’s most intriguing – yet complex – material, so if you are interested in more, make sure to get hold of the Janus Point: A New Theory of Time on Amazon. There, you’ll get to the real thermodynamics and theories and historical stuff.
Many of you are going to be fascinated, and I’m proud to have such a remarkable mind on the show. Others of you might find it difficult – I would suggest you stay with it, because we do go into other fun things like aliens, what happens at the end of time, whether it’d be good to live forever, and whether we have free will (or are things all decided for us) in the latter part.
If you enjoy the show, please take a look at my Patreon website and consider signing up to a tier. It takes SO much time to get this ready each week, and I appreciate the support a lot. Lots of cool benefits too! Here's that link again, patreon.com/andrewgold