“Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less”…
Time crystals– crystals that break both spacial and temporal symmetry– were first predicted by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek in 2012… and were widely deemed amusing, but impossible (e.g., here). Now researchers have created time crystals for the first time and say they could one day be used as quantum memories… and might help reconcile Quantum Mechanics with the Theory of Relativity.
As we ponder Einstein’s insistence that time is an illusion, we might send well-structured birthday greetings to Pierre-Gilles de Gennes; he was born on this date in 1932. A French physicist, he was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize for Physics for “discovering that methods developed for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter, in particular to liquid crystals and polymers.” He described mathematically how, for example, magnetic dipoles, long molecules or molecule chains can under certain conditions form ordered states, and what happens when they pass from an ordered to a disordered state. Such changes of order occur when, for example, a heated magnet changes from a state in which all the small atomic magnets are lined up in parallel to a disordered state in which the magnets are randomly oriented. Later, he was concerned with the physical chemistry of adhesion.