Thinkers: No Time Like The Present

STREAMLINING PHYSICS

Albert Einstein stood common sense on its head when he proclaimed time to be just another dimension, like height, width and depth, and went on to declare that it can be stretched and warped like taffy. But that notion is much too mundane for Julian Barbour. According to the 64-year-old British physicist, there's no point in trying to describe time, because it simply doesn't exist. "The passage of time," he says, "is simply an illusion created by our brains."

This unconventional theory comes from an equally unconventional man. After completing his doctorate in physics in 1968, Barbour balked at working in...

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