What’s wrong with the arrow of time?

About irreversible processes…

The everyday experience seems to tell us that time differs from the spatial dimensions on having a direction from the past to the future. Therefore, in the first half of the XX century, Arthur Edington has introduced the concept of the time’s arrow. However, in the scientific knowledge accumulated at that moment, one couldn’t see a reason for the asymmetry of time, though the 4-dimensional space-time has already been recognized and even formalized in the framework of the theory of relativity. Moreover, even 60 years before that, it was known that a system of a large number of elastically interacting particles irreversibly moves towards the maximal disorder, increasing its entropy, which also identifies the direction of time. But this seemed quite inexplicable from the point of view of the classical possibility of the reverse motion of each particle taken separately, which would lead to the restoration of order and is known as the Loschmidt’s paradox. The attempts of Ludwig Boltzmann to rigorously prove the irreversibility of the system’s behavior did not work and had lead him to depression ended in suicide. His explanation of the time asymmetry by just negligible likelihood of turning trajectories of all the particles in the directions needed to restore order did not seem convincing to all for some reason, then and later. In the second half of the XX century, Ilya Prigogine has proposed simply do not relate the arrow of time to deterministic laws of physics, but he was a chemist, so it’s a different story.

The uncertainty of the direction of time movement

The time evolution of a system does not follow so simply from processes in the system on a microscopic level.


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