Researchers with Google’s quantum computing division just published a study claiming to have created physics-defying “time crystals,” and it’s honestly impossible to say how big of a deal this might turn out to be.
As Quanta Magazine explains, a time crystal is both stable and yet constantly in a state of change. The crystal has distinct states repeating at predictable intervals, and those states do not ever become completely random.
Without getting too bogged down in jargon, what Google claims to have done is essentially taken a checkers board with all the red pieces on one side and all the black pieces on the other and metaphorically struck the table in such a way as to perfectly switch the two sides — without expending any energy.
The second law of thermodynamics says that this simply can’t happen, but time crystals don’t seem to give a hoot. Now Google is saying that it’s not only seen one in action, but that the process which produced it is adaptable – and the implications of that could be huge.