Public Lecture


Chris Essex, Applied Mathematics, Western University


Slow Time

Humans experience a narrow window of timescales. Events on short timescales (fast time) appear nearly simultaneous and become blurred. Too quick tends to be too small also: think of atoms colliding. Ultra-long timescales (slow time) reflect events that we don't see either: think geologic time. We are naturally biased toward happenings within our narrow window. We get distracted by faster events, get bored, or don’t live long enough to develop good intuition beyond the slow time limit. What if we could expand our window beyond and explore the mathematics of the nanoscale and the megascale? What would it be like? Many things we are used to disappear, while other new dynamics and structures emerge. Just as the physics of “nanoscales” is different from our everyday world, so too will the physics and mathematics of “megascales” be different.  Through images, videos, and calculations, we will visit worlds where people and wind disappear, water drifts like snow, and the Sun becomes sparkling arches that no human eyes will ever see.