Time and Spacetime: The Crystallizing Block Universe

  • George F. R. Ellis
  • Tony Rothman


The nature of the future is completely different from the nature of the past. When quantum effects are significant, the future shows all the signs of quantum weirdness, including duality, uncertainty, and entanglement. With the passage of time, after the time-irreversible process of state-vector reduction has taken place, the past emerges, with the previous quantum uncertainty replaced by the classical certainty of definite particle identities and states. The present time is where this transition largely takes place, but the process does not take place uniformly: evidence from delayed choice and related experiments shows that isolated patches of quantum indeterminacy remain, and that their transition from probability to certainty only takes place later. Thus, when quantum effects are significant, the picture of a classical Evolving Block Universe (‘EBU’) cedes place to one of a Crystallizing Block Universe (‘CBU’), which reflects this quantum transition from indeterminacy to certainty, while nevertheless resembling the EBU on large enough scales.


Space-time Quantum uncertainty Arrow of time Block universe 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cape TownCapeSouth Africa
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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