A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9sbdrPVfOQ
(By the way, the lovely optical illusion at the top of this blog was posted in the comments area for a Gizmodo article about this MinutePhysics video. If this optical illusion works as well for you as it does for me then you may be surprised to learn that this is not an animation, it's just a still image. Any motion you might see is being imparted by your observation of the still image - what a wonderful visual metaphor for the quantum observer! I wish I could give credit to the creator but that information is too difficult to see in this copy of the image.)
Here's the comment I sent to the Minute Physics channel, if they ever respond I'll be sure to add what they say to this blog entry.
Then, as a further interesting coincidence, my friend Lee Price sent me a link to this new article written by Lisa Zyga and posted at phys.org. It's entitled "Physicists Continue Work to Abolish Time as Fourth Dimension of Space". Here's the opening paragraphs from that article:Dear Minute Physics,Congratulations on the success of this channel! Scientific American published a blog last summer asking why there weren't more viral science channels on YouTube (and at that time identified my channel as one of the few). Clearly you have moved into that space, good for you. I have some comments about your latest video.
Larry and Moe. Who is the third stooge? Curly.
Moe and Curly. Who is the third stooge? Larry.
Length and width. What is the third dimension? Depth.
Depth and length. What is the third dimension? Width.
Saying there's no fourth dimension is the same as saying there's no third stooge or there's no third dimension. At best it's a semantics discussion: yes, you can't say who the third stooge is unless you also first identify who the other two stooges are. But at worst this video has the danger of leading people to conclusions such as this: wasn't Einstein wrong then when he agreed with Kaluza about our universe's field equations being resolved at the fifth dimension? Surely, some people will say, if this video's claim that "there's no fourth dimension" is correct, then there must also be no fifth dimension or no tenth dimension as well.
I agree that it's important for people to realize that you can't have a fifth dimension without acknowledging the other four dimensions that are included within. But saying there's no fourth dimension seems like a dangerous oversimplification to me. Your thoughts?
Philosophers have debated the nature of time long before Einstein and modern physics. But in the 106 years since Einstein, the prevailing view in physics has been that time serves as the fourth dimension of space, an arena represented mathematically as 4D Minkowski spacetime. However, some scientists, including Amrit Sorli and Davide Fiscaletti, founders of the Space Life Institute in Slovenia, argue that time exists completely independent from space. In a new study, Sorli and Fiscaletti have shown that two phenomena of special relativity - time dilation and length contraction - can be better described within the framework of a 3D space with time as the quantity used to measure change (i.e., photon motion) in this space.
The scientists have published their article in a recent issue of Physics Essays. The work builds on their previous articles, in which they have investigated the definition of time as a “numerical order of material change.”
So is it really possible to say "time is independent from space" (Sorli and Fiscaletti's viewpoint) while still acknowledging the existence of extra dimensions? As I've said in entries like Imagining the Third Dimension, visualizing the third dimension as timeless is the approach that physicists like Julian Barbour ask us to use, and accepting the need for some additional degree of freedom to change from state to state is how I describe the direction of time no matter what dimension we're discussing. It would be nice to say both of the above examples are just semantics, that a rose is a rose, and no matter what you call the additional degree of freedom the third dimension uses for change from state to state doesn't change the fact of its existence. But Sorli and Fiscaletti are talking about a change which is more fundamental than that, and ultimately may not require the existence of extra dimensions at all. As I said most recently in Connecting Zero to Ten, "the idea that there are really no dimensions, that there are just infinite vectors within one underlying fabric which is dimensionless, actually resonates more strongly for me..." because that's another way of describing this timeless ultimate ensemble my approach reaches with the tenth dimension.
One final note: as long as both of the examples we've looked at here (from Minute Physics and the work of Sorli and Fiscaletti) are willing to acknowledge the existence of the multiple outcomes predicted by Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, then I believe we really are talking about different ways of describing the same thing. On the other hand, if either of these are intended to encourage us all to believe that there is only one possible set of outcomes for our universe from its beginning to its end, then that's where my project would have to part ways.
Even if time is an illusion, free will is not. Enjoy the journey!
P.S. - here's my video for Imagining the Fourth Dimension, which works very nicely as a response to the Minute Physics video.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN4KC_zlW4g
Next: New Video - Timelessness and the Ultimate Ensemble