Philosophers have been pondering the nature of time for at least the last 2500 years. The key question boil down to: is time real or is it a mental construct?

We often equate time with change, such as sand flowing through an hourglass. However, imagine if there were no change. Would time still exist? To address this question, let us take an example from Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries (2012), by Louis A. Del Monte (available at Amazon.com). The example will be a thought experiment. We do not currently have technology that permits us to perform this example in a lab, but performing it in our minds will illustrate the point.

Consider an atom frozen at absolute zero. All motion in the atom would stop. I am aware that this thought experiment violates the laws of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. However, please remember it is a thought experiment to illustrate point. The purpose of this thought experiment is to allow us, conceptually, to separate existence from change. From the standpoint of the atom, there is no change. All motion has stopped. Yet, the atom continues to exist.

This raises the question: what does it mean to exist? One possible scenario is to equate existence to movement in the fourth dimension. If the atom were to move in any of the typical three-dimensional spatial coordinates, the atom would have kinetic energy associated with that movement. Similarly, one could argue that an atom moving in the fourth dimension would also have kinetic energy.

In Einstein’s special theory of relativity, the typical three-dimensional spatial coordinates are what we experience in everyday life, namely height, width, and length. The fourth dimension is also a spatial coordinate, but is equal to ict, where i = , c is the speed of light in empty space, and t is time, representing the numerical order of physical events measured with clocks.

If we want to express movement in the fourth dimension, we would need to use the mathematical discipline of calculus. If we want to calculate the kinetic energy associated with that movement, we would use the relativistic equation for kinetic energy. These calculations have been performed and are documented in aforementioned book, Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries. For the sake of brevity, I will only present the result here. The kinetic energy associated with moving in the fourth dimension is:

KEX4 = -.3mc2

Where KEX4is the energy associated with an object’s movement in in the fourth dimension X4, m is the rest mass of an object, and c is the speed of light in a vacuum. I have termed this equation the Existence Equation Conjecture.

What does it mean? My interpretation is that existence requires negative energy. In fact, even for a small object like a cupcake, the negative energy would be enormous, typically about equal to an atomic bomb, only negative.

In my book, Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries, I used the equation to explain the physics behind time dilation. I will just briefly describe here that I compare the kinetic energy required to extend the life of a muon (a negatively charged fundamental particle about 200 times heavier than an electron) to the energy required to satisfy the Existence Equation Conjecture for that extended life. Correlation of the experimental results of accelerating a muon (i.e. adding kinetic energy to the muon) to increase its existence (known as time dilation) are within 2% predicted by the Existence Equation Conjecture.

Many of you may wonder why I added the word “Conjecture.” I have only one solid data point and feel the scientific community should weigh in on the validity of the equation. Therefore, I consider it a conjecture at this point.

If the equation continues to hold up under scientific scrutiny, then we have a new insight into the nature of existence.

It is hard to believe or even imagine that the simple state of being (existence) requires negative energy. Welcome to the edge of science, where physics and metaphysics blur.