Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Nature of Time

The Pangolin’s Science Correspondence Dr P J Whimbrel answers some of the thousands of letters and emails we’ve had about the nature of Time. What is it? Where does it go?

From Barry in Dawlish:
“What’s all this stuff about time running out? They’re always telling us stuff’s running out. Gas, oil, an’ it never does. OK there might be the odd queue but it never runs out does it? It's just there innit.”

And Mrs Jean Flambard MSc, in Bath.
“Surely time is the ultimate barrier linked as it is to the speed of light and velocities humans can never achieve".
Dr Whimbrel writes:

“Whoa Jean! Heavy, heavy! You’ve been watching Beeb 4 haven’t you? Maybe peeking at all that stuff coming out of CERN, yeah? But you’re probably right, OK? Besides, Godwit and Zyrcwzc’s work on time travel suggests that if we DID travel back and forth in time, our natural curiosity would really screw things up. I mean we’d fiddle, right? Who could resist getting Elvis onto a drugs rehabilitation programme or taking Himmler to one side and beating the shit out of him? Or having the final goal disallowed in 1966?”

(Pause here for Dr Whimbrel to have a bit of a lie down).

“And Barry – a practical chap obviously – you’ll be pleased to know that for years scientists have suspected that like gas and oil, this planet has vast reservoirs of time buried somewhere. Occasionally, operating a bit like volcanoes, a bit of time leaks out into the atmosphere through a vent. Some think that our very own Prime Minister is such a vent. Whenever he speaks, time seems to pass very slowly. 

But we’re a long way from being sure about this. Mr Cameron was approached some time ago by Dr Godwit to see if the PM has a vent. Ugly scenes followed with Dr Godwit being called an interfering Pleb and being made to give Mr Cameron his trousers back. Best I can do Baz. Time will tell.”

Wow. Dontcha love that Science! Next time we’ll be talking to Kate Rumble from BBC’s Slimewatch about why slugs crawl up garage walls at night. Can’t wait!


  1. I would like to make a very strongly-worded comment.

    Are you able to help with this, as I haven't got anything bad to say about anything, really.


    Made-up Name, KBE

  2. Look away now. Here are some strong words: ********, ****, **** and ******

  3. My thoughts entirely. Odd that we share the same name.

  4. Hmm, time warp again. Not sure how I came to be here. I trust this beam out gadget functions to specification, I just press


Go on... you want to say SOMETHING, don't you? Post under a made-up name if you're shy!