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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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A Brief History Of Quantized Time

The poet Stephen Spender once observed that time is "larger than our purpose." Perhaps he should have written "times", for the various portions of the universe we can see through our telescopes may be moving along different "time lines" -- on different schedules, so to speak. According to W.G. Tifft, we may have to replace our concept of one-dimensional time with three-dimensional time if we are to explain some pressing cosmological anomalies.

Redshift differences of double galaxies
Redshift differences of double galaxies. The horizontal axis is the redshift difference in kilometers/second. The vertical axis is the number of pairs having a given redshift difference.
It all began about 1970 OTL (Our Time Line!), when Tifft showed that the redshifts of galaxies are quantized. To illustrate, the diagram indicates that the redshifts of binary galaxies tend strongly to cluster at 72 and 72/3 kilometers/ second. One would certainly not expect ponderous galaxies to orbit one another in a quantized fashion. It is almost as if binary galaxies emulate those dumbbell-shaped molecules that can spin around only at specific frequencies! Can the mechanics of the very large (galaxies) be quantized like the very small (atoms and molecules)? Tifft obviously thinks so:

"Quantization, it seems, is a basic cosmological phenomenon. It must reflect some master plan."

The Finnish physicist, A. Lehto, has proposed such a plan.

"The new cosmology pictures the uni-verse as a set of timelines splaying outwards from a common origin in three-dimensional time. The "time" that we measure is related to our own line. Time along distinct lines is quantized and can even run at different rates."

If you feel as if you are walking on a conceptual quicksand, you are not alone. (Beware, the quicksand may be quantized, too!)

Tifft believes that this new sort of cosmology can explain: (1) the observed quantized redshifts; (2) the "missing mass" of the universe; (3) "discordant" redshifts (where objects apparently at the same distance from us have grossly different redshifts); and (4) the dichotomy between quantum physics and conventional dynamics.

(Tifft, William G.; "A Brief History of Quantized Time," Mercury, 24:13, September-October 1995)

Comment. While the quantization of time is speculative, the quantization of red-shifts has considerable observational support. (SF#84) For other types of quantization on a cosmological scale, see SF#32.

Redshift quantization is also cataloged in AWF8 in our catalog Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. Described here.

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987