A Radical New Theory of Time


| August 20, 2003

A 27-year-old New Zealander who dropped out of college has posited a new theory on time and motion that has stunned the global physics community. Some experts praise the young theorist while others are highly critical. In the paper, published in the August issue of Foundations of Physics Letters, Peter Lynds refutes the assumption -- 2,500 years old -- that time can be understood or thought of in a succession of physical, freezable moments and that objects in motion have determined positions. He claims that the new theory solves Zeno's paradox -- puzzling minds since ancient Greece -- in which Achilles and a tortoise race. Achilles has a head start and is faster than the tortoise so that the tortoise cannot ever catch Achilles. Lynds says that the paradox is based on an incorrect physical assumption about frozen moments of time. The halls of academia are in an uproar over the new theory. John Wheeler, a Princeton physicist who worked with Einstein, says he admires Lynds' 'boldness' while another referee for the paper said that Lynds' 'arguments are based on profound ignorance or misunderstanding of basic analysis and calculus.' Still, Lynds is looking forward to publishing further papers on the cosmology of time, the foundations of assertion, and the basis of consciousness. 'I'm just a young guy from New Zealand,' he says. 'who had some ideas and thinks they're worth chasing through.'
-- Joel Stonington

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