computing definitive wisdom formulating calibrated forecasts forecasting precise understanding computing definitive understanding formulating accurate forecasts mapping the future aggregating predictive predictions forecasting contingent understanding mapping definitive forecasts forecasting precise predictions aggregating definitive contingencies forecasting accurate predictions assembling precise understanding assembling calibrated predictions


Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

How important are "time crystals"?

A hypothetical object called a time crystal was first proposed by Frank Wilczek in 2012. Once just a mathematical curiosity, its existence may have been experimentally confirmed by a team of physicists who observed predicted time crystal behavior in an interacting spin chain of trapped atomic ions. The work is reported in a pre-print submitted to arXiv in September 2016.

Initially, many doubted that such quantum systems could exist for the unusual property of periodic motion in the ground state. Like ordinary crystals which form repeating patterns in the crystal structure created by spontaneous translational symmetry breaking in three dimensions, time crystals extend to the fourth dimension: time. Observing time crystals would imply observing the breaking of time translation symmetry. Time crystals exhibit repetition (crystalline behavior) in both space and time, and the growth of repeating lattices in time does not consume nor produce any energy despite of perpetual motion in the ground state.

But the required spontaneously broken time translation symmetry had not been observed before, and the lack of a precise definition for time crystals created difficulty in the past for realizing such a physical system. Previously, researchers showed that when they considered both the ground state and states in thermal equilibrium, time translation symmetry could not be broken.

Later, another team, using the idea of a non-equilibrium driven system, showed time translation symmetry can be spontaneously broken in a large class of many-body-localized driven systems with discrete time translation symmetry. A paper on this work titled Floquet Time Crystals was published on August 2016 in Phys. Rev. Lett. The preprint version on arXiv has been cited 9 times as of question writing, as reported by Google Scholar.

Will this paper have at least 9 more citations, by the end of 2016?

Certainly, the discovery has large implications in the understanding of states of matter in both equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems. It also implies observing time translation symmetry being spontaneously broken for the first time.

More citations mean that the paper is achieving greater scientific impact, and this is part of an ongoing small-scale experiment to look at predictions of paper citation rates on various timescales.

For the question to resolve positively, a Google Scholar search must report a minimum of 18 citations of the paper Floquet Time Crystals on or before Dec 31st, 2016.


Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.