Culture, history and society
Explore time with the IOP
Time is a fundamental part of the human condition – we live from second to second, day to day, with our past seemingly behind us and our future ahead, but what does this actually mean?
The concept of time was the IOP’s public engagement theme for 2018, culminating in a video installation by Grace Weir, Time Tries All Things, which ran from January to March 2019.
But why time?
IOP President Dame Julia Higgins: “The concept of time spans the entire discipline of physics, from using the latest generation of space telescopes to peer back in time and space to the dawn of the universe, to ultra-fast lasers which enable us to view chemical reactions in real time.
“Almost everything that we do in physics is about understanding how things have changed, or will change, over time; or about capturing a snapshot and freezing an instant in time.”
Interested in exploring time but couldn't make it to the IOP building to see the exhibition? Take a minute or two to explore time with the IOP:
- Download the audio transcript from Time Tries All Things (PDF, 170KB)
- What is time? Adam Frank believes this will remain a mystery.
- In one of the most popular Physics World articles of 2018, Sidney Perkowitz looks at how scientists and philosophers alike are seeking to grasp the mysterious and ever-present concept of time.
- For those who enjoy a comic, siblings Eugenia Viti and Ivan Viti take a wry look at the physics and metaphysics of time.
- For younger audiences and those interested in some basic units of time, here’s a factsheet on atomic timekeeping from the National Physical Laboratory.