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Physicists Who Know That Nothing Can Move in Spacetime


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Mark Stuckey
Joe Rosen
Mark William Hopkins
FriedWardt Winterberg
Matej Pavsic
Andrew G. Williams
Chris Hillman
John Baez
Julian Barbour

The amazing thing about the impossibility of motion in spacetime is not that it is true. The amazing thing is that it is a well known fact by many in the physics community. After a quick search on, I was able to compile the following list of quotes from practicing relativists and other physicists who know that nothing can move in spacetime. The list also contains a few names of real physicists I've had the pleasure of corresponding with over the years. I'll add to this page from time to time as more names come to my attention. Click on the links to go to the page from which I obtained the quotes. My comments are bracketed in blue.

Mark Stuckey

Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania

[I first found out that nothing moves in spacetime from a message posted by Professor Stuckey on the astronomy discussion board on AOL back in the early 90s. His post took the resident relativist there at the time completely by surprise, a sight to behold. If I remember correctly, the resident relativity expert (I can't remember his name) immediately began to argue against it and did not shut up until he demanded that Professor Stuckey provides his credentials which he did. It was fun to watch.] 

Joe Rosen

[Professor Joe Rosen is the retired former chair of the physics department at the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. Stuckey was the first to introduce me to Dr. Rosen's work. Dr. Rosen not only rejects the existence of a time dimension in which we are moving in one direction or the other, he also rejects the existence of space. He calls it nonspatiality and nontemporality. I completely agree with Dr. Rosen's views on these issues although we arrived at similar conclusions on space and time via different routes. Anyone interested in the nature of time should read his papers and essays. I especially recommend his "Time, c, and nonlocality: A glimpse beneath the surface?" Physics Essays, vol. 7. ]

Mark William Hopkins

"Nothing moves in spacetime."

[I must caution the reader about Mr. Hopkins. Although he, like Dr. John Baez, professes to believe that nothing can move in spacetime, they nevertheless continue to believe in the existence of a time dimension along which exist infinitely many "nows" (Baez). Hopkins believes he exists in his entire world-line, i.e., an extremely long (time-wise) Mr. Hopkins. Some time dimension crackpots would rather deny the existence of a now than the existence of a time dimension even though there is not a single empirical evidence for the existence of such a dimension. All the while they fail to provide any explanation for how it is that we are moving along our world-lines, given that nothing can move in spacetime. It's like talking through both sides of one's mouth.]

FriedWardt Winterberg

[Professor. Winterberg, a former student of Heisenberg, is a professor of physics at the State University of Nevada. He is widely known for his work in plasma physics and nuclear fusion. In 1979 he was the recipient of the Herrmann Oberth Gold Medal and in 1981 he received a citation from the Nevada legislature. Professor Winterberg recently wrote to me in support of my efforts.]

Matej Pavsic

"Of course, according to the special and general relativity as formulated in textbooks, nothing moves in spacetime."

[Dr. Pavsic of the famous Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia once mailed me copies of his published papers (around 1997 I believe) after reading my arguments on the sci.physics usenet newsgroups (for which I was thoroughly flamed) regarding the impossibility of motion in spacetime and the necessity for four spatial dimensions rather three. I doubt that Dr. Pavsic reads usenet anymore. He also sent me a list of references (I'm looking for it) to the published papers of advanced relativistic quantum physicists who know that time is a mere parameter for expressing change. It is a pity this simple truth is not taught in most physics schools and colleges.]

Robert Geroch

"There is no dynamics within space-time itself: nothing ever moves therein; nothing happens; nothing changes."

[Dr. Robert Geroch is a professor of physics at the University of Chicago. He also taught at the Enrico Fermi Institute. The above excerpt was taken from General Relativity from A to B, (page 20)]

Andrew G Williams

"You should know that, by definition, nothing moves in spacetime."

Chris Hillman

"Are you aware that nothing physical "moves" in spacetime?"

"Another is that if you transport a vector in a loop in spacetime (this is not a physical motion, since nothing physical ever moves in spacetime"

"In Newtonian physics, we can speak of small objects moving in "space" over "time". In spacetime, however, nothing physical "moves" at all! Rather, we represent the entire history of motion of each small object by a curve in spacetime, called the "world line".

[Chris Hillman is a mathematician. He (she?), too, knows that nothing can move in spacetime as seen in the quotes above. However, being a friend of John Baez (see below) and a staunch defender of spacetime physics he'll argue that there is nothing wrong with time travel. He agrees with Hawking and Thorne that  a closed time-like curve means that relativity does not forbid time travel. Go figure! Try to explain to Hillman that, if nothing can move in spacetime, there cannot be such as thing as time travel and you'll quickly discover how prone to self-delusion a religious person can be.]

John Baez

[Dr. Baez knows that nothing moves in spacetime (how could he not know?) but, if cornered, he'll beat around the bush and mumble something about the definition of motion. Rather than discard the time axis, Dr. Baez believes that there are an infinite number of nows. Of course, he fails to explain how one moves from one "now" to the next one so as to perceive motion. He'd be hard pressed to do so since nothing can move in spacetime. But Baez is full of contradictions. While he claims that spacetime is a changeless collection of nows, he  nevertheless continues to talk about motion in spacetime, witness this excerpt from his own site:]

"So when you combine electrodynamics with general relativity, the geometry of spacetime doesn't just affect the motion of light through spacetime - it's also affected by the motion of light through spacetime! More generally, the curvature of spacetime affects the motion of matter, while matter curves spacetime."

[This begs a couple of questions. How can something that is changeless affect anything and 2) How can something that is changeless be affected by anything? I've always found it hard to understand how someone can live with such blatant contradictions and still fool others into believing he has a clue. Note that Dr. Baez dreams of unifying General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. We should all wish him a lot of luck because he's going to need it.]

Julian Barbour

"My ideas about time all developed from the realization that if nothing were to change we could not say that times passes. Change is primary, time, if it exists at all, is something we deduce from it."

[Dr. Barbour not only knows that time is but an evolution parameter derived from change, he denies the existence of a time dimension in which we are moving in one direction or another. I recommend Dr. Barbour's book "The End of Time" to anyone interested in these issues. In my opinion, Dr. Barbour does not go far enough. I hope the title of his next book is "The End of Space and Time."

Also check out his his other book "Absolute or Relative Motion" and A Talk With Julian Barbour.]


2004-2006 Louis Savain

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