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Time Loops and Space Twists: How God Created the Universe

Time Loops and Space Twists: How God Created the Universe

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Time Loops and Space Twists: How God Created the Universe

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Mar 1, 2011


In his most important book since Taking the Quantum Leap, Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., explains how our understanding of time, space, and matter have changed in just the last few years, and how with these new ideas we have a glimpse into the "mind of God."

Making comparisons to Hindu Vedic and Judeo-Christian cosmology, Dr. Wolf explains how the universal command of the Deity "Let there be light" now takes on a new scientific meaning: Everything is literally made of light and the reader will learn how quantum physics proves this is so. Contains 70 b&w illustrations.

Mar 1, 2011

Informazioni sull'autore

Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. works as a physicist, writer, and lecturer. His work in quantum physics and consciousness is well known through his popular and scientific writing. He is the author of fourteen books, including Taking the Quantum Leap, which was the recipient of the prestigious National Book Award for Science.

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  • For light, there is no time or space. This turns out to be a very important clue into a new understanding of both space and time.

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Anteprima del libro

Time Loops and Space Twists - Fred Alan Wolf

Quantum physics could be daunting to the layperson, but Fred Alan Wolf has simplified and made these abstract concepts very comprehensible. In his new book, Time Loops and Space Twists: How God Created the Universe, he uses the wisdom from science and challenges our thoughts on religion while reminding us of true spirituality. His approach leads us in a new view of how consciousness and science are related.

—Deepak Chopra author of Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul

I very much enjoyed reading Fred Alan Wolf's Time Loops and Space Twists . . . His use of barber poles to illustrate spinning particles is really great (what a lovely and clever idea), and he really does stick to his word and uses only high-school level math even when introducing difficult ideas about propagators, analytic continuation into the complex plane, and so on. That is quite a feat! I also think he does a nice job of telling readers when he is about to advance an idea or interpretation that might not command universal assent (or even majority opinion) among physicists. Overall the manuscript was a pleasure to read. . . . Using patience, pictures, and a healthy dose of good humor, Wolf walks readers through Feynman's wonderland, offering an accessible introduction to some of the most interesting and unexpected ideas at the heart of modern quantum theory.

—David Kaiser, associate professor and lecturer, Department of Physics, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT, and author of Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics

Copyright 2010

by Fred Alan Wolf

All rights reserved including the right to reproduce this work in any form whatsoever, without permission in writing from the publisher, except for brief passages in connection with a review.

Cover design by Adrian Morgan

Cover art by iStockphoto

Author photo by Lord of the Wind Film, LLC

Hierophant Publishing

Library of Congress Control Number: 2010934672

ISBN 978-0-9818771-3-6

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Printed in the United States




Chapter 1


Chapter 2

What Is Time? What Is Space?

Chapter 3

’Til the Cows Come Home

Chapter 4

What Is Matter?

Barber Poles, Phases, Hands, and Twists—It's All Done with Mirrors

Chapter 5

Space Twists, Zigzags, Time Reversals, and Negative Energy

Chapter 6

Keeping Track of Twists and Loops

Where's the Action?

Chapter 7

What Is a Twisted History?

Chapter 8

Propagators and Energy Poles

What Goes around Comes Around

Chapter 9

Following the Yellow Brick Road to No Free Lunches

Why We Say Bye-bye to Causality in Quantum Field Theory

Chapter 10

Propagators without Spin

First Signs That You Are on the Right Path

Chapter 11

Half-Spin Propagators, Time Loops, and Space Twists

Chapter 12

Shadows of Time, Space, Matter, and Mind—A Conclusion






In this book, I am trying an experiment. I wish to communicate some high-level quantum physics concepts, especially quantum field theoretical notions, to you, a lay reader, whom I assume has no more mathematical sophistication than what you got in high school. So instead of using just words and metaphors, I introduce some math thinking in a new and, I hope, simple way. You don't need to have had the math courses that teach these concepts. You just need to follow the steps I outline in the boxes in the text; those who wish to go further can read the notes at the end of the book, which fill in more of the math details. If you are stuck on a particular concept, don't despair, just read on. If you are like me, however, you will probably spend more time pondering the places where you got stuck. You can also write me via email at or, and I will respond to your questions with as much clarification as I can.

In this book, you will learn some amazing new current views of time, space, and matter. In the final chapter, I offer some admittedly far-out notions about how a Mind field—a Mind of God—may be found in the current musings of quantum field theory. All that you find in the first eleven chapters, as far as I know, accurately portrays our current understanding of the subjects, even though, as I admit at the start, these ideas perhaps seem crazy. I have based them on the currently accepted thinking about how matter came into existence in the first place. In the final chapter, I offer a résumé of the concepts found in the previous eleven chapters and then present some speculations about them that is not the currently accepted thinking but may lead to a new view of just what mind has to do with all this science. Hint: mind and time are related. If my ideas prove valid, perhaps the ancient division between the so-called sacred and profane or spirituality and science will be erased.


My initial acknowledgment might seem a little strange because I wish to recognize someone no longer among us who continues to inspire me, frustrate me, and keep me fascinated with quantum physics and marveling at its mysteries. Although I never had any social interaction with Richard Phillips Feynman, he has nevertheless been a prime influence on all my work. As I mention in this book, though I was not a student at Cal Tech during his teaching days, I was a Howard Hughes Fellow at Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City in the late 1950s and early 1960s, while earning my advanced degrees (master's and doctorate in theoretical physics) at UCLA, and Professor Feynman, who went on to win the Nobel Prize, came once a week to Hughes to teach physics to us. I was immediately taken with his style of teaching and offhand sense of humor. But most of all, I was impressed by his intuition. When I got out of class each week, I studied whatever he had taught to figure out how what had seemed nearly incomprehensible to me before a Feynman intuitive romper-room class now seemed to make sense. Enough sense that I have devoted myself to teaching quantum physics to nonscientists and even attempting to explain in an intuitive, à la Feynman, way the weird jumble of theories that make up the field. I continue in this task to this day. Thank you, Richard Feynman, wherever you may be.

I also wish to thank Anthony Zee (who is still with us), even though we never met, for his important book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell. It was a great teaching tool for me and got me interested in quantum field theory, a topic that I had dismissed early in my career as a physicist because I thought it too difficult to learn. I recommend it to all of you who wish to grasp the remarkable feats that make up the current theory.

Next I want to thank some people at Fermilab who were kind enough to grant me a whole day's visit with a number of physicists, both theoretical and experimental. Many thanks to: Elizabeth Clements, senior science communicator; Paddy Fox, theorist; William Wester and Aaron Chou, physicists; and Don Lincoln, a physicist on the DZero experiment at Fermilab. I especially enjoyed my talk with Paddy Fox regarding my crazy idea that possibly the Higgs boson won't be discovered because the Higgs field generates temporal zigzagging luxons appearing as tachyons. (For more on what all this means, see the last chapter.)

I also wish to thank my editor, John Loudon, for his careful editing, critical comments, and helpful suggestions, and Professor David Kaiser for reading the manuscript and making several important suggestions, corrections, and clarifications.

Finally, I wish to thank all of you, my readers, listeners, and viewers who, throughout my career as a writer, sometime TV and movie personality (à la my alter ego Dr. Quantum), seminar leader, and speaker, have been very supportive.

Chapter 1


If I say they behave like particles, I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own imitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have ever seen before.

—Richard P. Feynman¹

I want to tell you a story. It is one on which we have come to rely, yet it is based on a number of persistent illusions. Maybe we learned it as children when our parents read to us. The story, like most children's stories, begins once upon a time . . . We don't have to go much further, for we are already seeing life through the illusion that there are such things as time was and now and time will be. Skip ahead to Chapter 7 to see what Einstein had to say about this illusion.

Although it may not seem so, our story about time cannot be complete without also including our story of space and matter. For it turns out that space, time, and matter are intimately related. The ongoing discussion of how they are related is itself a story with many turns and twists along the way. Research into this story was and is today being carried out by physicists. We call this story quantum field theory, and the details of the story are called the standard model.

The story is far from complete, the details are ever changing, and, as we shall see, time has been singled out as perhaps the most important character in the ever-unfolding tale. We cannot talk about time without talking about space, however, and then these concepts beg the question: what fills time and space? The answer is matter, and so we face the braided triplet of time, space, and matter in telling the story. But first things first; so let me begin with an ancient view of time—a look at what we call mythic time.

Mythic Time and Quantum Physics

According to the Vedic version in Indian philosophy, Lord Brahma, the four-headed cosmic engineer of this universe, lives in a subtle body made primarily of intelligence, and he lives for the duration of our own universe, the equivalent of 311 trillion (one thousand billion) of our years, which seem to him to be only one hundred of his years. From our viewpoint, 311 trillion years is an eternity, given that our present universe is only around fifteen or so billion years old. But from the point of view of Over-Lord Vishnu—the original cause of the material creation and even Lord Brahma—that's the time it takes Him to exhale one breath. When Vishnu exhales, all the universes come out of the pores of His skin in seedlike forms, then they develop, and when He inhales, all the universes merge within Him. He breathes slowly, even for Him. Hence, with every breath Vishnu exhales, an infinite number of Parallel Universes appear as big bangs to those who inhabit them, and every time He inhales, they all return to Him in the form of big implosions.²

Although this story sounds bizarre to our Western-trained way of thinking, it matches a story that quantum physicists have come up with: our universe wasn't the only one to spring into existence in the all or nothing event called the big bang; many such universes, perhaps an infinite number, were called into being.

Why should anything like this ever occur? One story is that the purpose of the cosmic creation is to accommodate those souls wishing to assume Krishna's position as the supreme enjoyer and proprietor. He does it to satisfy all of us on ego trips! Since everyone is less than God, however, it is impossible to compete with Him. So Krishna makes the impossible a possibility, by creating a temporary illusion called the material world, where we may forget Him and enjoy being illusory controllers for some time. In brief, the universe of universes was created so that each of us could have an experience of being like the creator.

Here again we run into quantum physics, as we shall soon see. It too views the universe of matter as an illusion made so as to give individuals a sense of controlling it. If it is an illusion, how so? Matter is not made of real stuff, according to our present quantum field theory story. It now appears that matter is made of light in different forms, but light nevertheless.³ And to make matters worse, this light goes nowhere and takes no time doing it! Yet it fills the vast universe we see around us and appears to take its time doing so while traveling vast distances to show us how big the universe is. But even this gigantic lightshow in the huge circus tent of the universe never took place and, if it did, it ended as soon as it began.

Time I am, declares the Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, the great destroyer of the worlds. Under my influence and presence as eternal time, the cosmic manifestation you see about you is created, maintained, and annihilated at regular intervals at my whim. Krishna is telling us that time, creation, and annihilation are intimate partners in the production of the cosmic lightshow. And yes, quantum physics tells us that this ancient insight into the nature of time on a cosmic scale of 300 trillions of years turns out to play a similar role on a much smaller time scale of 1,280 trillionths of a trillionth of a second.

Time passes differently according to one's situation in the cosmos. Lord Brahma lives for one hundred years, but twelve of his hours consist of one thousand cycles of four ages called Yugas: Satya, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali. A single cycle of Kali, the shortest Yuga, corresponds to 4,320,000 solar years.

The duration of human life is roughly one hundred years in the present Kali age; one thousand years in Dwapara-yuga; ten thousand in Treta-yuga; and one hundred thousand years in Satya-yuga. Time is relative to the kind of body one occupies. While Brahma's one hundred years equal 311 trillion of our years, an insect's one hundred years might come to no more than one of our days. And on the heavenly planets ruled by Lord Indra, one day equals six of our months.

For electrons and positrons,⁶ life is even more fleeting indeed when they do their dance of creation and annihilation, keeping rhythm with a tiny metronome; just a thousand trillions of a trillionth of a second makes one beat. Does this story make any scientific sense? Indeed it does, for in the special theory of relativity, we learn that time and space are no longer absolutely separated and that a new arena for this lightshow must co-join the separate places into one called spacetime. In spacetime, all time is relative, and, indeed, we can scientifically prove (that is, offer a convincing theory that appears to be consistent with all measurements so far performed) that the interval separating observed events can be as long or as short as one might imagine, depending on how the observers of these events are moving relative to the speed of light and to each other.

Time controls and subdues all embodied beings. We all can easily recognize that our material bodies undergo six changes: birth, growth, maintenance, reproduction, decay, and death. Whether we like it or not, every rising and setting of the sun brings us closer to what appears as our inevitable death. The rise and fall of civilizations follow the same pattern, and their Taj Mahals, Parthenons, Chateaus de Versailles, and Pyramids stand as pathetic reminders that time and tide wait for no man, as we all became painfully aware with the rapid destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11/01. Even if we ourselves don't destroy our creations, time will do so; as the song goes, The Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they're only made of clay . . .

The four ages are fully under the corrupting influence of time. Whereas Satya-yuga is characterized by virtue, wisdom, and religion, these qualities deteriorate with the passing of time, and when Kaliyuga rolls around, we experience mostly strife, vice, ignorance, and irreligion, true virtue being practically nonexistent.

Speaking to Arjuna, Lord Krishna further said, This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciple succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost. The Lord then explained that same science again to Arjuna five thousand years ago, and it has been brought to us through an unbroken chain of self-realized spiritual masters continuing today.

Arjuna raised a doubt concerning the point that Krishna had spoken millions of years ago to Vivasvan. How could Krishna have instructed him? Lord Krishna replied: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot. Krishna remembered acts He had performed millions of years before, but Arjuna could not remember anything, despite the fact that both Krishna and Arjuna are eternal in nature. This is due to the fact that whenever the Lord appears, He appears in His original transcendental form, which never deteriorates. An ordinary person, however, transmigrates from one body to another. And from one life to the next, he forgets his former identity. But Krishna, the very principle of subduing time, is never under the control of time, and thus He remembers everything at all times. O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but no one knows Me.

The Srimad Bhagavatam compares time to the deadly sharp blade of a razor. Because time imperceptibly devours the duration of life of everyone, one must use one's life carefully and properly. Since time represents Krishna, using time to search for the Absolute Truth is the best practical use of time. The Narada Pancaratra advises: "By concentrating one's attention on the transcendental form of Krishna, who is all-pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in thinking of Krishna and then attains the happy state of transcendental association with Him.

Lord Krishna grants Arjuna divine vision and reveals His spectacular unlimited form as the cosmic universe. Thus He conclusively establishes His divinity. Krishna explains that His own all-beautiful humanlike form is the original form of Godhead. One can perceive this form only by pure devotional service.

Seeing beyond Time

In the Bhagavad Gita, a story is told of King Arjuna having to fight a great battle involving friends and relatives of the great king on both sides of the war. On the eve of the battle, Krishna appears to Arjuna in disguise as his chariot driver and tells the king not to worry, that He is indeed the Krishna, that all this is a great illusion, and, in spite of all that is about to be, all will be well. Arjuna, being skeptical, asks Krishna to show him His universal form, not with any personal desire to see it but primarily to establish Krishna's divinity. Krishna reveals that, except for Arjuna, all the soldiers on both sides will be slain. He therefore exhorts Arjuna to get up and prepare to fight as His instrument and He promises that he will conquer his enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom.

Lord Krishna gave Arjuna divine sight to see the brilliant and glaring universal form, which contained hundreds of thousands of forms such as the demigods, sages, and planetary systems. Arjuna trembles as he offers obeisance with folded hands and glorifies the Lord in ecstasy. But finally he requests Krishna to withdraw this fearful vision and reveal His original form.

The Lord then shows His four-armed form and at last He manifests His two-armed form. Upon seeing this beautiful, humanlike form, Arjuna becomes pacified. Krishna's original, two-handed form is more difficult to behold than Krishna's universal form because it is only possible to see the Lord in this way by engaging in pure devotional service.

Seeing into Space, Time, and Matter

Though I can't promise to show you the glory of time as Krishna did for Arjuna, maybe I can give you an insight into space, time, and matter that you may believe is beyond your reach, especially if you haven't studied modern physics. In essence, this is what I propose to do in this book. Time is the first of the triplet we shall explore. Time is the simplest and yet the most mysterious of all.

Time for a Change

In this book, we will look at how the nature of time, space, and matter—even what we mean by these terms—has changed in just the last few decades. This takes us into the world of fundamental particles and shows how they can appear and disappear and, as a result, move through time-loops and twist in space, going forward and backward in time and space. The result is the appearance of matter as we experience it—resistant to our efforts to move it around and inert for all of our practical intents and purposes, but nevertheless made of wispy light-like particles that in themselves have no mass or resistance.

The book is written in a popular style with short, readable chapters (with a few longer, more detailed chapters), many catchy subtitles, and lots of graphic illustration. This is the style I used with effect in my earlier books Taking the Quantum Leap and Parallel Universes. Illustrations using cartoon characters to illustrate the ideas presented are scattered through the text. I have found that people who begin to learn about quantum physics after college or who are just starting out on this educational expedition are usually greatly aided by pictures and drawings, especially since our journey into the ingredients of the universe has many loops and twists that can confound and delight the mind.

I do not go into the subject of gravity to any extent here and will defer this to perhaps another book. Here I confine myself to what we call the standard model of physics, which doesn't include gravity. Models attempting to include gravity, such as string theory (which posits that what comes into existence are vibrating strings not point particles), are appearing, and frankly I don't understand them well enough to explain them. In spite of its seemingly unexciting title, the standard model is full of its own awesome mysteries and dazzling insights that keep laboratories such as the Fermilab outside Chicago and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland quite busy.

New theories abound these days, and mysteries such as what dark matter and dark energy in the ever-expanding universe really are still remain open questions. It turns out that dark matter and dark energy appear to constitute nearly 90 to 95 percent of all of the universe's mass; dark energy seems to fuel the ever-accelerating universe's expansion.⁹ Just what is going on here remains a mystery, and this book aims to help you, the nonscientist, grasp these mysteries with a greater comprehension.

Do I Need Math?

I present some basic math concepts in this book. It is not that I want to teach you higher math, but it is very useful in understanding our present view of spacetime and matter. I don't expect you to know any new math other than a few simple concepts from high school algebra and geometry, such as the Pythagorean theorem relating the sides of a right triangle a and b to its hypotenuse c (a² + b² = c²) or if you see the equation 2x + 5 = 3, you can figure out that x = -1. If you know such basic math, you already have nearly all the math you will need in this book.

Oh, perhaps one more math concept will be helpful for you to understand the physics in this book—something we call imaginary numbers. They play a key role in quantum physics. Here is a quick lesson. It is not really hard and can be thought of as a kind of math trick. Pick a number—any number. Let's say you choose 5. Now multiply it by itself, 5 × 5. You know the answer is 25, yes? Now take the square root of 25. You, of course, get the same number 5. Oh, by the way, the square root of 25 is also -5. Nothing to that: it simply defines what we mean by taking a square root—it is the opposite of squaring. So when you multiply 5 × 5 or (-5) × (-5) you get the same answer. It turns out that this property of numbers is quite important in quantum field theory: the square root of any number can be either positive or negative.

Now consider the negative number -25. Take the square root of it. But wait a minute, you say, how can you do that? The answer can't be 5 again and it can't be -5 either since either of these numbers squared is a positive 25. What number can we use that when multiplied by itself will produce a negative 25? We call such numbers imaginary numbers and we use a symbol, i, to make sure we remember they are imaginary. We simply say the answer is i5. Then we remember that i5 × i5 = -25. That is, we remember that i × i = i² = -1. Keep this trick in mind as we proceed. There will be a few other math boxes that will be helpful as we continue through the book.

Chapter 2

What Is Time? What Is Space?

Hey man, give me some space.

Sorry bro, I ain't got the time.

—overheard on a Geary Blvd.

bus in San Francisco

What is time? Saint Augustine of Hippo, the great philosopher and theologian, once asked himself. He replied, If no one asks me, I know; but if any person should require me to tell him, I cannot.

For many of us, if we thought about it at all, our answer would be Don't ask! It doesn't help to appeal to experts because they likewise don't know. Noted physicist John Wheeler was quoted as saying: Should we be prepared to see some day a new structure for the foundations of physics that does away with time? . . . Yes, because ‘time’ is in trouble.

Albert Einstein pointed out: The distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one.

To which Saint Augustine might have responded (even though he said these words hundreds of years before Einstein was born): How can the past and the future be when the past no longer is and the future is not yet? As for the present, if it were always present and never moved on to become the past, it would not be time but eternity.

Drawing a Line in the Sands of Time

Perhaps we have always wondered, What is time? Well, as you can see, no one really knows what time is. No one can explain what it is in terms of anything that is itself not related to time. For example, we all have clocks, whether digital or the old-fashioned clock face with minute and hour hands and possibly a sweep second hand. We refer to our clock whenever we want to know what time it is. But what does What time is it? really mean? It means we want to compare the position of the hands of the clock or the digital indications with some events that are happening, have happened, or we believe will happen. It means we want to set up a referral between the clock indicator and our experiences in the world—those that have occurred, are occurring, or we believe will occur.

You see the impossible knot I tie myself into when talking about time. I can't do so without using the concept itself, and I already find myself in a time-loop of circular language. To get out of that loop, physicists pictured time as a dimension of space. That idea caught on after a while, and we all soon learned to think about time in the same way. In brief, linear or arrow time became the commonsensical view of modern science and life.

Uncommon Sense about Facts and Time Being Space

Is time really an arrow? In daily life, we divide time into three parts: past, present, and future. The grammatical structure of our language revolves around this fundamental distinction. We conjugate verbs accordingly, as in: I had, I have, and I will have, or I was, I am, and I will be.

Our simple experience of life tells us that reality is associated with the present moment. Perhaps better said, what we mean by the present moment is marked by the occurrence of a conscious event, one usually accompanied by a perceived act of consciousness called a fact of knowledge. I refer to such an act as a "fundamental act of conscious tabulating," which I label a fact. I insert the word tabulating to mean putting into the form of a table or putting into a mappable order.

To be conscious of something, we need not only to have sensory input, but also to perceive what our sensory input was. To have a perception of a thing, we need, in turn, to have a memory of the thing with which to compare it. We then tabulate or put into a time order the sensory input and the remembered thing. In brief, there cannot be an objective fact unless there is a subjective fact.

We usually put the facts of our lives into

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