Blursday: How physics can shake you out of your pandemic slump

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Jessica DuLong

Published May 13, 2021

Now that we’ve ticked past the one-year mark of Covid-19 safety restrictions, the calendar is scrolling once more through the same holidays that punctuated the early pandemic. Yet again, curtailed Purim and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations teed up a round of socially distant Passover Seders and virtual Nowruz, Easter and Ramadan gatherings.

As the seasons slog on, it’s easy to think of time as an arrow, beginning at birth and launching ever onward until death do us part. But many physicists have long begged to differ with that portrayal. Now, even we nonphysicists who have been stuck in seemingly endless lockdown loops are increasingly aware of a different sort of time.

French respondents reported experiencing a “slowing down of time,” in a survey conducted March 31 to April 12, 2020.

Since then, others have pointed out how days seem to run together in a merging of minutes dubbed “Blursday.” Could it be that quarantine is revealing time’s less linear and more authentic plastic, elastic nature?