Science Seen

Time One author Colin Gillespie helps you understand the physics of your world.

Understanding time travel . . . and travel time

Albert Einstein predicted time travel in 1905. It was demonstrated in 1971 and many times since. The twin paradox provides a dramatic illustration of time travel: You travel to a distant star and return to find you are far into your twin’s future. No-one has done this; but it is a real effect. It has […]

Physics has long been confused about the concept of ‘now’. New insights show that it is fundamental.

A sense of Now is the universal human experience. Yet modern physics cannot handle the concept of the present moment. Indeed relativity—our great theory of space and time—insisted on embedding it within a time dimension and then crossbreeding this dimension with three space dimensions to make spacetime. This was a blunder. It blocks progress. Physics […]

Are we alone? Winston Churchill penned a scientific answer almost 80 years ago. New discoveries show he was right.

Is there life out there? has long been an issue. Recently the issue has been shifting to: How many planets harbour life? Winston Churchill (with whom I’m proud to share a publisher) was among the first to ask this question. In 1939—shortly before he became Prime Minister of Britain—he penned an unpublished work of careful […]

This universal principle created all space and matter from the beginning of time. Today, it’s still creating strange phenomena around the world.

Emergence is the source of all the laws of physics. Strange spots called fairy circles illustrate the way emergence brings new fundamental properties into the world, including space and matter. There are millions of them. Bare patches in grasslands, remarkably well-defined, regular in shape and spacing, and ordered in a roughly-hexagonal array over long distances, […]

A mysterious new shape seems to say something fundamental about the nature of the universe. Can we understand its message?

Plato set out to explain everything with five perfect shapes. His theory died centuries ago. But in 2013 a shape called the amplituhedron burst upon the science scene. Physicists find it performs a miracle. But they don’t know how. The answer may hold a deep truth physics can sense but can’t quite find. Understanding the […]