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Why the Flow of Time Is an Illusion

In his book Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of, Max Tegmark writes that “time is not an illusion, but the flow of time is.” In this month’s issue of , which looks at the concept of flow through various portals in science, we revisited our 2014 video interview with Tegmark (transcribed below for the first time), in which the professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explains why the feeling of time is one thing and the math quite another. That Tegmark, also the author of 2017’s , takes the keenest pleasure from peering into the world through the kaleidoscope of his physics toolbox is amply clear. During our interview, leaning out of his chair, waving his arms, pouring his water bottle onto the carpeted hotel floor to drive home a point, he was in a constant state of animation, much like the objects (both microscopic and gargantuan) that he studies.

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