Oct 8 – 10, 2019
Europe/Rome timezone

The quantum theory of time: from formalism to experimental test

Oct 8, 2019, 5:05 PM


Monday, 23 Sept. * Aula Magna, Dip. di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Via Accademia Albertina, 13 * Tuesday, 24 Sept.- Wednesday, 25 Sept. * Aula Magna, Palazzo del Rettorato, Via Verdi, 8 * @Università degli Studi di Torino


Prof. Joan A. Vaccaro (Griffith University)


The violation of the discrete symmetries of charge conjugation (C), parity inversion (P), and time reversal (T) observed in high energy physics are clearly fundamental aspects of nature. A new quantum theory [1,2] has been introduced to demonstrate the possibility that the violations have large-scale physical effects. The new theory does not assume any conservation laws or equations of motion. In particular, if T violation is turned off, matter is represented in terms of virtual particles that exist momentarily only. However, with T violation turned on, what was the mathematical structure of a virtual particle now traces out an unbounded world line that satisfies conservation laws and an equation of motion. The theory is then analogous to the 5 dimensional "proper time" formalism introduced by Feynman [3], extended by Nambu [4] in the 1950's, and developed as "parameterized relativistic quantum theories" [5]. The important point here is that time evolution and conservation laws are not built into the new theory, but rather they emerge phenomenologically from T violation. In other words, the new theory proposes that T violation is the origin of dynamics and conservations laws. It has experimentally testable predictions and offers new insight into the quantum nature of time.

The talk will include an analysis of the nature of the T violation from known and expected sources such as mesons, neutrinos, and a Higgs-like scalar field. In appropriate parameter regimes, the commutator of the time-reversed versions of the associated T violating Hamiltonian, $\hat{H}_F$ and $\hat{H}_B$, is found to approach the canonical form $[\hat{H}_F,\hat{H}_B]=i\lambda \hat{1}$ where $\hat{H}_B=\hat{T}\hat{H}_F\hat{T}^{-1}$, $\hat{T}$ is Wigner's time reversal operator, $\hat{1}$ is the identity operator, and $\lambda=\langle i[\hat{H}_F,\hat{H}_B]\rangle$ represents the amount of T violation.

[1] J.A. Vaccaro, Quantum asymmetry between time and space, Proc. R. Soc. A 472, 20150670 (2016).

[2] J.A. Vaccaro, The quantum theory of time, the block universe, and human experience, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A 376, 20170316 (2018). https://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2017.0316

[3] R.P. Feynman, Mathematical Formulation of the Quantum Theory of Electromagnetic Interaction, Phys. Rev. 80, 440-457 (1950), Appendix A. https://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.80.440

[4] Y. Nambu, The Use of the Proper Time in Quantum Electrodynamics I, Prog. Theor. Phys. 5, 82 (1950). https://dx.doi.org/10.1143/ptp/5.1.82

[5] J.R. Fanchi, Review of invariant time formulations of relativistic quantum theories, Found. Phys. 23, 487-548 (1993). https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01883726

Presentation materials