The concepts of time and matter form the fundamental framework for our perception and understanding of the phenomena that take place in the world around us. These phenomena can be described by interactions between objects with certain properties and the concept of time provides a basis for a quantitative description of the interaction dynamics via the evolution of the relations between physical objects. The concept of matter provides the basis for representing the objects themselves. Matter and time are closely interrelated: matter is represented by a stress energy tensor together with intrinsic properties such as charges and spin as dictated by the standard model of particle physics; the theory of general relativity, given to us by Einstein almost a century ago, describes how this matter creates the same space-time arena in which everything moves and interacts.
However, this simple and apparently intuitive picture remains incomplete with many unanswered questions that are at the forefront of research in almost all branches of physics. We have solid experimental evidence that we are lacking a complete understanding of all possible forms of matter. On the cosmological level this is most evident in ongoing searches for the constituents of dark matter and dark energy with many recent interesting results. On the microscopic level there is a continual probing of the standard model of particle physics with the recent discovery at the LHC of a new particle with properties very similar to those of the Higgs boson, while supersymmetry or other, more exotic, new physics may be also within the reach of current experiments. Is this framework of time and matter truly suitable for a precise and complete description of all possible physical phenomena, or is this description merely an approximation to a more fundamental underlying reality in which time and matter play new and possibly as yet undiscovered roles? The standard model of cosmology proposes that time had its beginning at the Big Bang, but it is not clear in exactly what way this happened and there is also speculation concerning a time ”Before the Big Bang”. The true nature of dark matter and energy and any other new physics beyond the standard model could have profound implications for this question. Another pressing fundamental qusetion is whether time at extremely fine temporal resolution is really continuous, discrete, or is it just an effective parameter in some low energy approximation to the true physics?
The primary aim of the fourth Time and Matter conference to be held in Venice, Italy, during March 2013, is to provide a meeting place for ideas from various fields of physics and philosophy that are committed to a study of the concepts of time and matter. With the recent experimental advances in collider-based particle physics, both at the energy and at the luminosity frontier, we are entering a renaissance for new physics searches at microscopic scales with both direct searches for new particles and rare decay modes and indirect searches for physics beyond the standard model through precision measurements of its parameters. Dramatic recent progress in this direction has been the discovery of a new Higgs-like particle at LHC and we can expect to learn much more about this new particle in the near future. Limits are being imposed on the simplest models of supersymmetry and models of large extra dimensions. A number of presentations of recent and preliminary results of these searches were given at TAM2010, complemented by experimental observations and theoretical treatment of time and matter on macroscopic scales, in astrophysics, cosmology and quantum gravity. We hope that the acquaintances that will be made at the Venice 2013 conference may turn into friendships and/or research collaborations, and that the various aspects of time and matter that will be discussed may provide fruitful and stimulating material for new ideas and approaches, further clarifying the mysteries of the world in which we live.
The presentations at Time and Matter 2013 will be grouped into six sections: high precision timing; origins of mass (dark matter, Higgs); black holes, quantum gravity and cosmology; coherence, de-coherence and entanglement; CP and CPT violation; philosophical perspectives on time and fundamental physics. The contributed papers will be published in procedings by the University of Nova Gorica, as for the previous two TAM conferences Bled (Slovenia) 2007 and Budva (Montenegro) 2010.