Time plays a fundamental role in our ability to make sense of the physical laws in the world around us. The nature of time has puzzled people –- from the ancient Greeks to the present day -– resulting in a long running debate between philosophers and physicists alike to whether time needs change to exist (the so-called relatival theory), or whether time flows regardless of change (the so-called substantival theory). One way to decide between the two is to attempt to measure the flow of time with a stationary clock, since if time were substantival, the flow of time would manifest itself in the experiment. Alas, conventional wisdom suggests that in order for a clock to function, it cannot be a static object, thus rendering this experiment seemingly impossible. We show that counter-intuitively, a quantum clock can measure the passage of time, even while being switched off, lending support for the substantival theory of time.


Talk Number 21060103
Speaker Profile Mischa Woods
Collection Quantizing Time
Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive
Subject Quantum Physics