Why our time dimension is about to become space-like

It don’t get much weirder than this. The universe is about to lose its dimension of time says a group of theoretical astrobods at the University of Salamanca in Spain. And they got the evidence to prove it.

The idea comes from the study of braneworlds: the thinking that the universe we see around us is a 4-dimensional cosmos called a braneworld embedded in a multidimensional universe. The “signature” of our universe is the number of space and time-like dimensions it has: in our case we got 3 space-like dimensions and one time-like dimension. It’s what astrobods call a Lorentzian universe. So far so good: lots of astronutters think the same thing.

But our universe may not always have been like this. Some theorists think it may once have had a Euclidean signature meaning that all the dimensions were space-like. Now Marc “Bars” Mars and a few pals in Spain say that the Universe’s signature might be about to flip from Lorentzian to Euclidean. In other words, our dimension of time is about turn space-like. Gulp!

This ain’t entirely bonkers and here’s why. Bars Mars has calculated what it’s like to be an observer in a universe that is about to flip and get this: it would look as if it were expanding and accelerating away from us. Sound familiar?

Yep, it’s exactly what astrobods have been observin over the last few years, a phenomenon they attribute to dark energy. If Bars Mars is right, dark energy ain’t got nothing to do with it and we’re all starin’ down the barrel of a cosmic catastrophe.

Still, maybe four space-like dimensions will be better than three. Who needs time anyway?

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0710.0820: Is the Accelerated Expansion Evidence of a Forthcoming change of Signature?

106 Responses to “Why our time dimension is about to become space-like”

  1. manga-Dude says:

    hi i from onemanga is nice blog

  2. […] truth of it, according to new research from the University of Salamanca in Spain, is that the time dimension of our braneworld is about to […]

  3. surph3r says:

    Great. So we get a new spatial dimension, but we can’t do anything with it because without time, all motion, all action, all thought stops.

  4. David Harmon says:

    My casual guess is that when these guys say “about to…”, they’re talking in supra-cosmological terms, as in “as soon as the universe we’re used to has finished expanding”. As far as no, or two, timelike dimensions, count me as boggled, but I note that in our current environment, there are a couple cases where the time dimension starts to “lean” toward a spacelike dimension — that is, would be at relativistic speeds, and in the close vicinity of a black hole. From our usual point of view, both of those represent seriously exotic environments!

  5. ego says:

    unless of course, the rank conjecture (“theory”) the alleged “thinking” is based upon, is as fallacious as the total and complete lack of evidence, suggests.

    we wont even get INTO what the phrase “about to” means to a cosmologist. i mean actual cosmologists, not cranks.

  6. It means that we’ll be angels dancing on the head of a pin. People like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers will just disappear up their own assholes.


  7. patrick says:

    Time is a construct of man. We do don’t have to wait for the universe to “take it” from us. We gave it to ourselves, and if anything, the universe looks at as with a queer smile on her face as we go along interacting with it. Plus, there’s such an obvious paradox within this theory that no one has mentioned yet. This phenomenon occurring relies on time to have gotten to this point. HOW ABSURD! If time didn’t exist, and some day won’t exist than it never existed. Funny how time began to occur with our appearance. Seems like this model simply shows the disappearance of us, or our abandonment from time, which would create a much different reality than one where you even consider things like Monday, or the IRS.

  8. contemplator says:

    Hector….you are already an eternal being with creative control. Nothing happens to you that you did not create. If you are going to be eternal one day??/ Then what are you now. Eternity is just that eternal…there is no beginning and no end. Time is an illusion created by your own sense that there is another moment to follow…..but it is the same moment. Our conciosness is tuned into the 4 dimensions around us……period. When you change your frequency you change the channel you see or hear. Keep up the good work brother, soooo much to learn. ENJOY LIFE!!! Peace

  9. […] the recent news about the time dimension, I’ve been questioning the nature of our universe. There’s an end to everything. […]

  10. g says:

    Well. I hope I’m debt free by the time this happens! Or I’m really screwed.

  11. Thorsten says:

    I’m afraid my dog would go utterly nuts. He’d start running from breakfast straight to supper, and from there to breakfast again. Because of all the running, he’d not get that fat I’d hope, but he’d sure get a lot of exercise. Not sure what happen (can’t say “what will”, can I) where the dog food runs out. Maybe he figure it out and reverse direction to where there is still dog food, but given his current track record of tracking down thrown tennis balls – erratic, at best – I’d not bet large amounts of currency on that.

    The mind, it boggles. Or bawgles, as they say here in the NorthEast.

  12. mlbpro22 says:

    I agree the 2012 thing if this is when it’s going to happen. It would be too ironic. Why the 21 Terrence?

  13. doug b says:

    I didnt see 2012 referenced in the article, but it seems to be a target date of some sort with the readers. Is this a christian fundamentalist phenomena of some sort? Believe that the world will end before the 2012 election?

  14. […] again – So I caught this article a few weeks ago about the possibility that our dimension of time might collapse into a dimension of […]

  15. zed says:

    Would it mean that you would be able to see the future, ie live your life knowing what you will be doing in the next moment, in the next hour, thus taking the stress out of life –

  16. Aidan Jarvis says:

    i was wondering would it be possible?…and how expensive, to create a vacuum in a prtition wall?

  17. Llewellyn says:

    Quote: In the book of Revelation of the Bible, it states that in the end of “time” the heavens will “roll back like a scroll.” []

    Ok, interesting, I’ve never read or heard it like that before.

    This rolling back like a scroll has to be the turning of the earth’s precession, in other words the starting to move back of the zodiac (the “heavens”). One full precession of the earth takes about 26000 years (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession). After one circle the sky at night must look the same as before. Here you have your Maya connection. Put very shortly…

  18. Llewellyn says:

    One addition, to keep with the topic of the discussion… Since any object that speeds up (in an “elliptical curve” for my part) can be imagined to slow down when curving (having to gain new speed after a changed direction). If we imagine this to happen with time, which in the experience of many of us has been speeding up ever more lately, if that curves and slows down, it might appear as if it is no longer there, as if all is space. Thanks, it’s inspirational to have this new idea.

  19. Llewellyn says:

    And one more, for all who are interested (maybe I tell nothing new! these are only associations I make from what I’ve read, who has themselves for longer looked at tke sky?): the last time this “standing still” of time occurred must have been half an ellipse ago, about 13.000 years ago, the end of the last ice age. Although maybe we have to say about 11,000 years (see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sunspots_11000_years.svg), in which 5.125 years ago fits as about half that period and corresponds to things like the start of the Sumerian civilization, construction of the Pyramids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_pyramid#Construction_Dates) and the ‘age’ of the world as said by some Christians (and maybe others).

  20. Andrew H says:

    Time is just another way we perceive space. Since in our universe there is distance between multiple objects, we can sense the ‘time’ it takes for 2 objects to collide. But if everything was all one big thing, then there would be no time, or it would have no meaning. Time and space are the same thing.

  21. Neels says:

    I have a theory that since time will disappear from our braneworld, it might not cause any harmful effects other than the freezing of what we perceive as time. Likewise we might not be able to observe time in other braneworlds. One possibiity is that everybody on earth is about to get immortal . . . I can sure look forward to that.

  22. […] It is doubtful that we can ever perceive a time-less cosmos, and what would happen to the universe should time go space-like is beyond our comprehension. So, enjoy your four dimensions while they last, time could soon be running out. Source: arXiv blog […]

  23. […] original de Arxiv. Autor: Ian O’Neill Fecha Original: January 24th, 2008 Enlace Original Articulos […]

  24. […] nunca necesitaremos contestar más allá de este artículo." Artículo original (inglés) en arxivblog.com/?p=71 sin comentarios en: cultura, divulgación karma: 8 etiquetas: tiempo, dimensión, futuro votos […]

  25. Bob Brown says:

    Grammar Violation: Fine $38.75.

    Please make an attempt to speak proper English. Your abuse of the language causes any attempt at portraying scientific information as valid to fail.

  26. Burntfinger says:

    Nope. It’s Hopi. Do some research on the gathering of the elders (what white people call medicine men) a few years ago.

    For a real interesting interpretation I think Art Bell’s did a show or several on the year 2012.

  27. […] End of time nigh the physics arXiv blog » Blog Archive » Why our time dimension is about to become space-like […]

  28. Zephir says:

    Aether Wave Theory is explaining the relation between time and space by simple model of water surface, which can serve as a local spacetime for energy spreading in form of surface waves. The space is the direction parallel with water surface and the time dimension is normal to this surface. Note the analogy between optics of water surface (Fermat principle) and the Hamiltonian flow of matter through spacetime along geodesics.


    From this point of view, the branes can be considered as a density fluctuations of foamy environment, which are forming the vacuum, simmilar to those, which appears during condensation of supercritical vapor.


  29. Rachel says:

    Wow, someone’s feeling a little Aspergers-y today.

  30. Zephir says:

    Well, repetition is the mother of wisdom.

  31. forgiste says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! I was thinking 2012 the whole time. I have a feeling we’re going to survive this switch, but the universe will be much different.

  32. Mawg says:

    Anyone read Kant…the only way to loose time in a rational being is to some how “turn it off” in that rational being.

  33. Mawg says:

    Anyone read Kant…the only way to loose time in a rational being is to some how “turn it off” in that rational being. Time is something that a rational being can’t loose, think about it…can you think in a way which time wouldn’t be injected into…no…the fact that we would refer to the point at which time stopped would also suggest a continuation of time…therefore time won’t go away…unless Kant is wrong…

  34. Bill says:

    If time is quantized, can we be multiplexed?

  35. Catfish says:

    The “flip” they are referring to must be the slow down of objects from the big bang and then the reverse acceleration back to the single point. As Einstein’s theory states the closer to the speed of light the faster we travel through time. We are travelling away from the Big Bang epicentre and when all the other stars change to blue shifting from red shifting then we will start travelling back to the epicentre. Don’t hold your breath… that will take a few billion more years. AFTER the million or so years it takes for us to slow down and change direction.

  36. Chloe says:

    So nice to see you in the public sphere!

  37. gsears says:

    Hmm. Chemical reactions take time to occur. Our senses rely on chemical reactions. Does that mean if you aren’t moving you don’t exist? Kind of takes Heisenberg to a whole new level.

  38. KarasWannaBe says:

    …this must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays….

  39. thatsteve says:

    Something that might not be obvious… If time flipped to a spatial dimension, suddenly wouldn’t all of your insides simply fall out into it? To give an example, we as 3d+1t beings look at a plane with 2d+1t beings and can see their insides completely. We could even kill them without any external evidence, (to them), by poking something into their brain heart or whatever. Now, if you suddenly remove the constraint of being in a 2d plane, what hold their internals in? Of course now that I think about it, that would be a change which requires time to occur, so I guess it’d be a big freeze. Of course even more fun for us is if we didn’t die or freeze instantly, we could turn ourselves in that additional dimension in such a way that our left hand would become our right hand. I can see it now:

    “Look! I can do a cartwheel!”

    “Cartwheel? I can change my *chirality*…”

  40. Diggers says:

    Don’t know much, but that sign on the time dimension I’m pretty sure is what makes it like time. If it flipped, seems like you’d be able to walk around in the t direction like you could in x,y,z.

  41. […] physics arXiv blog writes Why our time dimension is about to become space-like Now Marc ‘Bars’ Mars and a few pals in Spain say that the Universe’s signature might be […]

  42. Saurabh says:

    People will catching a train to visit Sunday, and planes will fly off from today to day before yesterday. What will be the duration of the flight?

  43. oxymorons says:

    it’ll never happen

  44. Franklin says:

    I agree with Diggers. We perceive time in a particular way simply because of our position in relation to the rest of the universe. After the “great shift” (whatever it means), we will simply occupy a different position. The universe will not change, only our perception of it, like a fish taken out of water and discovering a whole new world (ahem…with newly discovered lungs). Call it ‘ascension’, ‘salvation’, ‘dimensional shift’, or what have you. The religious connection to this scientific phenomenon is because, allegedly, higher dimensions only allow higher vibrations, i.e. Unconditional Love. If you’re stuck in lower vibrational patterns, i.e. anger, jealousy, possessiveness, etc., you’ll be SOL when the shift happens.

  45. Norhafidz says:

    So, What would happen to us if Bars Mars is right?

  46. Dan Fresman says:

    Ouspensky, time for a snail is space for a dog, time for a dog, is space for a human,

    ME, time for a human is like underwear at a nudist colony.

  47. Eugene says:

    Reminds me of the movie “Donnie Darko” where time became a spacial dimension, and he observed the strangeness of people leaving trails dragging behind them, as they moved around the house… Sort of like when you set Windows to “Mouse Trails” and the mouse leaves eerie trails of cursors behind it as you drag the cursor around the screen.

    Worse than the Donnie Darko scenario, consider that Earth is hurling at thousands of miles per hour through space. Now imaging the direction AWAY from which the Earth is moving, there’s a tunnel effect as the room you’re in trails away… like the effect of two mirrors facing one another.

    I doubt many people realize the truly nightmarish implications of the change in physics laws proposed in this article. The title “Why our time dimension is about to become space-like” immediately sent chills through my spine because time is simply motion. I’m in the kitchen one minute, the hallway the next, the bedroom the next… but there’s not a visible trail of images of me “snaking” from the kitchen to the bedroom that I can look back and see!

    Now is anybody scared?

  48. imho this just means time will exist, but not as duration. what it will resemble may be nothing, or it may be radically different in a way(s) determined by the same process as wave function collapse. the big bang may have just been the collapse of the wave function of a universe that attained self-awareness on some level. or, it’s just an artifact of the continual change of the quantum universe.

    i just think it will make the conscious experience all the more dreamlike for however long it lasts, and i intend to have some fun with that. bear in mind this might include our bodies and identities as we perceive them now changing or even vanishing when it happens.

  49. Karl JS says:

    Time is just a made-up concept so we can talk about motion. Time cannot end since motion cannot end. If there is one thing certain about nature it is that it has always been and always will be in motion.