Can we halt time? is it possible?

ByShehryar Makhdoom | Published date:

Time's relentless march can be frightening. Who hasn't desired to be able to freeze a wonderful moment or perhaps stop a loved one from fading away?

Every time, a book, film, or TV show features characters who can do what we all want: stop time.

However, is such a thing even possible? A thorough dive into the deepest corners of science, philosophy, and man's perception is needed to answer this question.

To begin, we must define time. The California Institute of Technology's theoretical physicist Sean Carroll said,

"To a physicist, it's not that weird. "Time is merely a label applied to various regions of the universe. It notifies us when something occurs."

Many physical equations distinguish little between the past, present and future, added Carroll. Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is one place where time appears.

Clocks, according to Einstein's theory, are used to measure time. Because the components of a watch must move through space, time becomes entangled with space to form the larger concept of space-time, which underpins the universe.

Relativity famously revealed that time could become somewhat weird depending on how quickly an observer moves compared to another observer.

If you're sending a person with a clock on a spacecraft almost lightly, time appears to pass for them slower than it would for a stationary Earth friend. In addition, an astronaut going towards a black hole, whose massive gravity can distort time, might appear to slow down compared to a distant spectator.


However, Carroll stated that this is not a proper way to halt time. Even if the relativity of the two clocks differs, each will nevertheless record the typical passage of time inside their respective reference frame.

If you were approaching a black hole, Carroll explained, "you would notice nothing different." "You'd look at your wristwatch and see that it was ticking away at one second per second."

Talking about time travel makes little sense to him. We know a car is moving because it is at a different location in space at different points in time, he explained. "Because motion is a change concerning time, time itself cannot move."

In other words, if the time came to a halt, all motion would come to a halt as well.

He described "chronostasis," a well-known psychological illusion in which a person puts a clock at the edge of their view and then looks at something else for a brief while.

Returning your gaze to the watch and concentrating on the second hand will cause it to pause. (In high school, it might be a fun way to pass the time during fifth-period math class.)

"The second hand lingers there a little bit," Callender explained. "You may make it appear as if time has stopped."

The illusion is caused by saccades, which are fast eye movements in which your eyeballs rapidly flip back and forth to take in their surroundings.

According to Callender, to avoid perceiving a chaotic muddle, your brain edits what it sees in real-time, giving the impression of a continuous field of view.

What is the relationship between our views of time and the time that physicists are talking about, then? Callender has authored several books that seek to explain the link between the two, but there isn't much agreement on a definitive explanation as of yet.

When it comes to the ultimate flow of time, Callender prefers the image of "nothing flowing, but the tale of yourself flowing."

And what does he think about the concept of time travel? "If we think about our subjective experience of time, we may use chronostasis to pause chunks of it," Callender explained. "However, that's about as near as we can get."