Ever feel like a particular year went by faster than previous ones in your life? That things seem to be going quicker the older you get? Sometimes it’s in your head and sometimes time really is weird. Time is relative. We don’t just mean that in the sense that time flies when you’re having fun. It really is relative, just ask Einstein.
Here are our top 8 facts about time that make our heads spin. Some of these facts are about the nature of time itself while others are simply related to how we imagine time and the misconceptions most of us share.
8. T. rex lived closer in time to us than to Stegosaurus
7. Cleopatra lived closer in time to the moon landing than the building of the great pyramids
6. Many people witnessed both the Wright Brothers’ first flight and the Apollo 11 moon landing
5. We never really experience the present
4. The length of days is always changing
3. The higher you are, the faster time is for you
2. The faster you move, the slower time passes
1. It could be possible to influence the past
The double-slit experiment shows the weirdness of quantum mechanics and how we perceive time. Something that’s almost as weird as time is light, which is both a wave and a particle. The bizarre thing about the double-slit experiment is that light passes through a slit either as a particle or a wave depending on whether you observe it happen or not. This is the Observer’s Effect.
There’s a variation of the double-split experiment called the delayed choice quantum eraser and it’s even weirder. The actual observation takes place after the light has passed through the double-slit but before it hits the wall and reveals whether it’s a wave or a particle. This means that when the observation happens, after the light has passed through the slit, it determines what state the light was in back when it passed through the slit. If we built this experiment at an interstellar scale, we could make decisions now that would affect events millions of years in the past!