Foundations of Physics

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1165–1185

The Universal Arrow of Time


DOI: 10.1007/s10701-012-9662-8

Cite this article as:
Kupervasser, O., Nikolić, H. & Zlatić, V. Found Phys (2012) 42: 1165. doi:10.1007/s10701-012-9662-8


Statistical physics cannot explain why a thermodynamic arrow of time exists, unless one postulates very special and unnatural initial conditions. Yet, we argue that statistical physics can explain why the thermodynamic arrow of time is universal, i.e., why the arrow points in the same direction everywhere. Namely, if two subsystems have opposite arrow-directions at a particular time, the interaction between them makes the configuration statistically unstable and causes a decay towards a system with a universal direction of the arrow of time. We present general qualitative arguments for that claim and support them by a detailed analysis of a toy model based on the baker’s map.


Time arrowEntropy increaseBaker’s map

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oleg Kupervasser
    • 1
  • Hrvoje Nikolić
    • 2
  • Vinko Zlatić
    • 2
  1. 1.Scientific Research Computer CenterMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Theoretical Physics DivisionRudjer Bošković InstituteZagrebCroatia