Professor Ian Morison discusses time, one of the most mysterious concepts in our Universe. It is easy to describe how we define its passage and how we can make exceedingly accurate clocks but questions as to what determines the arrow of time and whether time travel is possible can tax the most brilliant minds!
Gresham Professor of Astronomy Ian Morison made his first telescope at the age of 12 with lenses given to him by his optician. Having studied Physics, Maths and Astronomy at Oxford, he became a radio astronomer at the Jodrell Bank Observatory and teaches Astronomy and Cosmology at the University of Manchester.
Over 25 years he has also taught Observational Astronomy to many hundreds of adult students in the North West of England. An active amateur optical astronomer, he is a council member and past president of the Society for Popular Astronomy in the United Kingdom.
At Jodrell Bank he was a designer of the 217 KM MERLIN array and has coordinated the Project Phoenix SETI Observations using the Lovell Radio Telescope. He contributes astronomy articles and reviews for New Scientist and Astronomy Now, and produces a monthly sky guide on the Observatory's website.
Measured or measurable period. More broadly, it is a continuum that lacks spatial dimensions. Philosophers have sought an understanding of time by focusing on the broad questions of the relation between time and the physical world and the relation between time and consciousness. Those who adopt an absolutist theory of time regard it as a kind of container within which the universe exists and change takes place, and believe that its existence and properties are independent of the physical universe. According to the rival relationist theory, time is nothing over and above change in the physical universe. Largely because of Albert Einstein, it is now held that time cannot be treated in isolation from space (seespace-time). Some argue that Einstein's theories of relativity vindicate relationist theories, others that they vindicate the absolutist theory. The primary issue concerning the relation between time and consciousness is the extent, if any, to which time or aspects of time depend on the existence of conscious beings. Events in time are normally thought of in terms of notions of past, present, and future, which some philosophers treat as mind-dependent; others believe that time is independent of perception and hold that past, present, and future are objective features of the world. See alsogeologic time, Greenwich Mean Time, standard time, Universal Time.