On the other hand, Hawking’s imaginary time is a geometrical construction to turn the singularity at the beginning of the Universe into a smooth surface. He’s using some methods drawn from quantum field theory, but I don’t think his tricks are particularly satisfying – though in his defense, I think he’s abandoned that avenue of investigation.

For the experts, if I understand Hawking’s work properly (he is *not* a clear thinker), he’s performing a Wick rotation to turn the real-number-valued time into an imaginary number, making the Lorentz spacetime of relativity into four-dimensional Euclidean space.

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