“Time of Our Lives” unravels mysteries of philosophy

TEMP ORARY November 18, 2011 0

Time, particularly to the average college student, can be a cruel mistress. It flies when fun is had and crawls with every minute spent staring blankly at a textbook. It cannot be stopped or rewritten as it passes. We have our ways to measure its passage, formally with clocks and calendars, and informally through cups of coffee or the progression of status updates. But what is time? Can we even stop to explain it, this so-called simple concept, this basic phenomenon? Few stop to think about the greater implications of what is, arguably, the driving force of life.

In the upcoming lecture, “The Time of Our Lives,” Elizabethtown College faculty members Dr. Michael Silberstein, professor of philosophy, and Dr. Mark Stuckey, professor of physics, aim to put all preconceived notions concerning the nature of time (and therefore, essentially, everything) to the test. The idea of time has plagued scholars for centuries, and has left even the brightest minds at a loss for a definitive answer.

In their presentation, Silberstein and Stuckey hope to create a narrative intertwining the history of our understanding of time with their findings on the subject. Is time anything more than an illusion created by our own minds, or is it truly something we experience? What is the place of time in physics; does it even have bearing in physical reality?

“What we wanted to accomplish with the lecture is to get people to appreciate the different perspectives on reality,” Stuckey explained. “I will be looking at how forces move relative to time. The way we view time is very different from how it applies in physics. Silberstein will be looking at what this view means and how the different perspectives bear on philosophy.”

The questions raised are not for the faint of mind, for those unwilling to expand and admit to that which we do not know. It is a vast, intimidating topic, but the professors are passionate and will illustrate their findings with a set of fascinating “quantum experiments.”

The lecture will be held Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Bowers Writers House and is free to students and the community alike, although space is limited. Whether you are a physics or a philosophy major, or simply a curious student, the lecture is sure to be an interesting one. It is exciting to contemplate the nature of something so familiar yet so foreign as time. As our understanding of the subject grows, so too will our understanding of the world around us. So if, post-lecture, you find that the time there was an illusion, take solace in the fact that it was time well spent.

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