What is time? Is our perception of time passing an illusion which hides a deeper, timeless reality? Or is it real, indeed, the most real aspect of our experience of the world? Einstein said that "the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion," and many contemporary theorists agree that time emerges from a more fundamental timeless quantum universe. But, in recent cosmological speculation, this timeless picture of nature seems to have reached a dead end, populated by infinite numbers of imagined unobservable universes.
In his talk, Lee Smolin explains why he changed his mind about the nature of time. Like many fellow theorists, he used to believe time is an illusion, but he now embraces the view that time is real and everything else, including the laws of nature, evolves. Drawing from his new book, Time Reborn, Smolin explains how the great unsolved problems in physics and cosmology may be solved by adopting the view of a real time. then he will go beyond physics to explain how our view of time affects how we think of everything from our personal and family lives to how we face major problems such as climate change and economic crisis. In a world in which time is real, the future is open and there is an essential role for human agency and imagination in envisioning and shaping a good future.