Moving through time: How we escaped Big Bang
"I begin by breaking the rules of physics, which is rather bold I have to admit, but I wanted to understand time better and conventional physics can't do that," Dr Vaccaro says.
"I do get conventional physics in the end though. This means that the rules I break are not fundamental. It also means that I can see why the universe has those rules. And I can also see why the universe advances in time."
In her research published in The Royal Society Dr Vaccaro says T violation, or a violation of time reversal (T) symmetry, is forcing the universe and us in it, into the future.
"If T violation wasn't involved we wouldn't advance in time and we'd be stuck at the Big Bang, so this shows how we escaped the Big Bang.
"I found the mechanism that forces us to go to the future, the reason why you get old and the reason why we advance in time." "The universe must be symmetric in time and space overall. But we know that there appears to be a preferred direction in time because we are incessantly getting older not younger."
The anomaly Vaccaro solves involves two things not accounted for in in conventional physical theories - the direction of time, and the behaviour of the mesons (which decay differently if time went in the opposite direction).
Experiments show that the behaviour of mesons depends on the direction of time; in particular, if the direction of time was changed then their behaviour would also," she says.
"Conventional physical theories can accommodate only one direction of time and one kind of meson behaviour, and so they are asymmetric in this regard. But the problem is that the universe cannot be asymmetric overall.
"This means that physical theories must be symmetric in time. To be symmetric in time they would need to accommodate both directions of time and both meson behaviours. This is the anomaly in physics that I am attempting to solve." ■