TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Will time ever come to an end?

I have been reading a few different articles discussing the "end of time". They mostly talk about how modern physics suggests that at a certain point, all activity in the universe will cease, and there will be no renewal or recovery. My question is basically asking, if this were to happen, wouldn't time theoretically continue? Is time only a measurement of activity, or can it exist without any interaction of matter?

Here are some of the articles I have read:




  • thumb
    Nov 7 2012: Actually, i don't know, but there are some indicators which suggest, that time may come to an end one day.

    This is my hypothesis:

    If you ever waited in line for something, you may have noticed, that time dramatically slows down that very moment you line up at the very end of it. At first sight there seem only two influencing mechanism involved in this deceleration process - 'length of line' and 'necessity to line up for' - but there are more to it, like 'heavy feet', 'urgend appointments', 'need for a restroom', etc...

    So as more reasons we find for time to slow down, and if we would carefully combine all of them, hypothetically time should finally come to an end, at least for the very last person in a very long line.

    Of course one could argue, that we have never seen single individuals standing somewhere alone and 'frozen in time' (even though its original waiting line has long vanished), but this fact alone does not disproof this hypothesis. As much a duck can not swim in a pond without water, a person on final 'time hold' would cease out of our perception... This not only helps to avoid time-paradoxon, it would also free the original walking space...

    We probably all heard this stories about men telling their wifes those famose last words: 'I just go to get some cigarettes, honey' and they never ever returned. So what if at those cigarette machines were other husbands already waiting in line, in long lines? Maybe hundreds of men, carefully wrapped in closed 'time bubbles' are piling up in some higher dimension somewhere... ?

    And not all of them have to be smokers! Did anyone actually count how many people get lost when a new iPhone gets out? A new blockbuster movie or at open air concerts?

    If this, my hypothesis is true, we then know three things for certain: Time can stop, there is an effective way to quit smoking and 'early birds' are an endangered species ...

    This hypothesis now comes to an end and it was a fun time, while writing it.

    • thumb

      . . 100+

      • 0
      Nov 7 2012: Keep on with your writings Lejan..... quite fun to read ..I especially like the time-cigarette hypothesis: "Time can stop and there is a way to finally quit smoking...thumbs up :-):-)
      • thumb
        Nov 7 2012: Thank you Juliette for your encouragement and your feedback, which makes it even more fun to loose the remaining bits of my reputation and seriousness here on TED Conversations... :o)

        And if the day comes were I am not posting here anymore, I may have finally put myself into self-experiment and succeeded! My lungs would probably be happy and so would the 'scientist' within me. But the rest... ? I already get bored just thinking of those lines ... just imagine those 'bubbles' and a mind still working within - ageless, timeless - would that be torture? :o)
  • thumb
    Nov 7 2012: Time does not exist. Therefore it can not end or begin. Once science takes time out of the equation, you will then start to see progress. I'd talk about it in detail, but I'm out of time.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2012: There is so much that is unknown to us about this matter that I don't think anyone could positively answer that question today, it's beyond our grasp. However, all this theorizing might eventually help us get to the truth someday...or maybe not.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2012: Matter is condensed energy, tine is a measurement of the change of matter and energy. The only way time will come to an end is if matter comes to an end.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2012: For all I know it's stopped already, or accelerating madly. If only my brains were not synched with space-time, I'd surely realize this.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2012: Time is concept. Energy on the other hand cannot be created or destroyed.
  • thumb

    . . 100+

    • +1
    Nov 5 2012: Dear Matthew,

    When posting " I have been reading a few different articles discussing the "end of time". They mostly talk about how modern physics suggests that at a certain point, all activity in the universe will cease," it is imperative to include your source articles:-)

    Modern Physics thinks different: I find Sean Carroll's lectures exceptionally valuable and glad to offer you these links;
    http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_on_the_arrow_of_time.html ( part 1 )
    http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_on_the_arrow_of_time_part_2.html ( part 2)
    Hope this is helpful..

    All / any answers to your question are hypothetical.
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2012: Apart from human constructs intended to explain such things as Time, Eternity, Consciousness, Love, etc. we are unable to formulate a Law of Time. I think Time is "a measurement of activity" as you say. After all, if nothing changed what purpose would Time serve? If temperature never changed what purpose would temperature measurement serve? If the force of gravity never changed (which it doesn't) why would there be a need for a measurement system of the force of gravity? So long as there is change there is a need for Time to measure it. Will there be a point in human history where all change will cease? Natural science has no answer so we must look to the supernatural realm. I believe the Holy Bible answers your question in the affirmative. Time shall be no more.
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2012: Time requires mass, or perhaps the gravitational force produced by mass. I don't think we really know what gravity is; however logic would dictate that it requires energy. At the death of the universe all energy is exhausted, so it seems logical that tIme would cease.

    That said :-

    Revelation 21:1 (KJV)
    And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

    Looks like things will wind up a bit earlier than that.

    • thumb
      Nov 5 2012: "time requires mass"

      according to which theory?
      • thumb
        Nov 5 2012: Isn't that what Einstein discovered. At the event horizon, time slows, faster movement slows time etc. Am I wrong ? I'm no scientist.

        • thumb
          Nov 5 2012: yeah, but what is the connection? creating and slowing down are two very different things.

          there is a class of solutions to the einstein equations called vacuum solutions. it basically means that there is no mass involved. these solutions of course does not describe our real world, but they can quite well describe a space far away from any matter, like a small patch in the middle of the intergalactic nothingness. in these solutions, of course there is the usual space-time, as we know it. in fact, it is more like we know it, has less weird properties.

          but this is about general relativity. it is just a model, and we know it is not perfect. what about quantum theories? most of them don't describe mass at all. yet, they all have a concept of time. and even those that attempts to explain gravity, don't rely on gravity. gravity is something that is either present or not present at a certain location. you can imagine worlds without mass at all. but time is always a part of these models.

          in fact, we don't have any models in physics that does not have an ever present time parameter.

          but we are still talking about models. the OP asked about reality. so the correct answer would be: our theories have different concept of time. but we don't yet know which of them, if any, is an accurate representation of reality.
      • thumb
        Nov 6 2012: I bow to your more informed opinion. I guess time can be affected by gravity etc., but probably not eradicated. Deep subject.

  • thumb
    Nov 5 2012: Time is no real thing just our reflection on memory.
  • Nov 8 2012: We think about eternity as if it is something that lasts infinitely long, but it is how we try to perceive it.
    Eternity has no duration at all, it is where time stops.
  • Nov 6 2012: I like the first Wiki definition:

    Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future.

    Time only seems relevant to things that change form. Matter and energy seem to fit in this category.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2012: Does time really exist?

    It only exists "now". Past is our memories, future is to be known.
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2012: time is not related to change. we can imagine a system which slowly stops changing but time is open in the future direction. we can also imagine universes with a bounded time dimension. in the latter case, the "end of time" does not coincide with a stationary point. quite the opposite, just like the big bang is characterized by violent and fast changes, there can be a big crash at the end, which is equally drastic. the time might end in a crescendo.

    which one of these is the reality? we don't know.
  • Nov 5 2012: If no one or sentient being cares? Not a bad definition of the end of time.