The geometry of time

Alex Mayer (via Slashdot):

Not too long ago, people thought the Earth was flat, which meant they thought that gravity pointed in the same direction everywhere. Today, we think of that as a silly idea, but at the same time, most people today (including most scientists) still think of spacetime as if it were a big box with 3 space dimensions and 1 time dimension. So, like gravity for a flat Earth, the single time dimension for the ‘big box universe’ points in one direction, from the Big-Bang into the future. A lot of lip service is given to the idea of “curved spacetime”, but the simplistic 3+1 ‘box’ remains the dominant concept of what cosmic spacetime is like.

I won’t claim to know enough about the subject to speak about it intelligently; but the idea is reminiscent of the insight which led Einstein to develop relativity. Simple, easily explainable to the layman, beautiful and elegant. As physics should be.


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