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Author Topic: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?  (Read 20428 times)

Offline Ultima

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« on: 04/09/2004 18:58:46 »
I don’t know if this has been asked before but is there a minimum instance of time for something to happen in? It just seems strange that everything appears to be quanta-sized except for time… If time is treated as a dimension… why isn’t it quanta-sized also like the plank length???? I have no idea about QM but it always appeared odd to me that time tends to just be continuous and used in physics to represent change in something??? Or is time more of something humans perceive but has no actual realisation within any framework of the universe? I was reading how a lot of how we perceive time... such as it "moving forward" is to help our brain deal with increasingly complex changing events such as catching a butterfly or something, but may hold no real insight as to the nature of time...

wOw the world spins?
« Last Edit: 05/01/2009 23:24:07 by chris »


 

Offline Observer101

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #1 on: 04/09/2004 21:08:04 »
How about the TIME required to go plank length at V=c?

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Offline gsmollin

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #2 on: 05/09/2004 03:58:19 »
Here is a link that develops Planck length, time, mass, temperature, and density.

http://www.fact-index.com/n/na/natural_units.html
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #3 on: 05/09/2004 15:41:41 »
Thanks for the link :D

wOw the world spins?
 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #4 on: 14/09/2004 10:12:01 »
Quick, someone derive the formula for the Planck mole.



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Offline tweener

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #5 on: 15/09/2004 02:43:14 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ylide

Quick, someone derive the formula for the Planck mole.



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Is that the smallest mole living in my back yard eating the rose roots????

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Offline qpan

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #6 on: 17/09/2004 11:08:22 »
Hmm- it strikes me that the Planck mass is actually pretty large, at least compared with the others.
Planck mass = 0.000021 grams.
Compared with the rest (which are all 10^-35 ish), that is quite a significant size!

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« Last Edit: 17/09/2004 11:09:15 by qpan »
 

Offline Observer101

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #7 on: 18/09/2004 06:17:03 »
This should confuse things a bit...

newbielink:http://www.cpt.univ-mrs.fr/~rovelli/rovelli.html [nonactive]

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Offline Mr. Scientist

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #8 on: 04/01/2009 15:43:07 »
The Planck Time may i add which is something like 10^-44 which a particle can make a quantum action under, MUST also occur in an equally infinitesimal space called the Planck Space which is 10^-33.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #9 on: 04/01/2009 16:10:52 »
Hmm- it strikes me that the Planck mass is actually pretty large, at least compared with the others.
Planck mass = 0.000021 grams.
Compared with the rest (which are all 10^-35 ish), that is quite a significant size!

"I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."
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And there you have it - the hierarchy problem!
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #10 on: 04/01/2009 16:19:05 »
I have a theory, that the hierarchy problem is merely a universe undergoing the most simplest structures which to us seem complex at best. We have limited means therego, of our ability to reduce such complex systems to simple understanding, so maybe the complexity of the universe is in fact ourselves reflecting our inabilities to describe it fully.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #11 on: 04/01/2009 18:01:49 »
I have a theory, that the hierarchy problem is merely a universe undergoing the most simplest structures which to us seem complex at best. We have limited means therego, of our ability to reduce such complex systems to simple understanding, so maybe the complexity of the universe is in fact ourselves reflecting our inabilities to describe it fully.

I think I agree with you. I have often wondered if our theories are over-complicated and that there is something basic that we have not got quite right that would make everything a lot simpler.
 

Offline LeeE

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #12 on: 04/01/2009 18:51:17 »
I have a theory, that the hierarchy problem is merely a universe undergoing the most simplest structures which to us seem complex at best. We have limited means therego, of our ability to reduce such complex systems to simple understanding, so maybe the complexity of the universe is in fact ourselves reflecting our inabilities to describe it fully.

I think I agree with you. I have often wondered if our theories are over-complicated and that there is something basic that we have not got quite right that would make everything a lot simpler.

Same here too.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #13 on: 05/01/2009 08:28:19 »
Time is a flow?
Forget about 'Planck time'

Time is events?
Hola Planck:)

http://www.thekeyboard.org.uk/What%20is%20Time.htm
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #14 on: 05/01/2009 16:24:15 »
Time is however, not really a flow at all. Only psychologically can it have a flow. Outside of psychology of the mind, time is fast instants of flashes and stops.
 

Offline LeeE

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #15 on: 05/01/2009 19:50:39 »
Time is however, not really a flow at all. Only psychologically can it have a flow. Outside of psychology of the mind, time is fast instants of flashes and stops.

Weeell...  that's debatable.  Either: we could occupy just a point in time, or we could occupy a region in time.  Relativity is happy with occupying a point but QM doesn't like zeros and would favour a region.  I would agree though, that if we occupy a point in time then our movement through it would be in discrete steps, and what is more, at a constant apparent speed within that time-frame, equivalent to 'c'.
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #16 on: 05/01/2009 20:06:56 »
Time is however, not really a flow at all. Only psychologically can it have a flow. Outside of psychology of the mind, time is fast instants of flashes and stops.

Weeell...  that's debatable.  Either: we could occupy just a point in time, or we could occupy a region in time.  Relativity is happy with occupying a point but QM doesn't like zeros and would favour a region.  I would agree though, that if we occupy a point in time then our movement through it would be in discrete steps, and what is more, at a constant apparent speed within that time-frame, equivalent to 'c'.

Well, you more or less answered this yourself. Do you know how?
 

Offline LeeE

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Re: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #17 on: 05/01/2009 20:58:21 »
Logically, any object that has zero length in the direction that it is traveling in can only move in discrete steps because any movement away from it's original location must be greater than zero.  Regardless of how small the distance is, it must, even if infinitely small, be > 0 for it to have moved at all.  Conversely, an object with non-zero length can move while occupying, for a period of time, the same point in space.  It really comes down to how precisely you can locate something; the entirety of a zero length object can be located by a single precise coordinate but the entirety an object with length cannot because it occupies a region.  Now you could choose to pick a particular datum point along the length of the object, and work with that, but that would not describe the entire object.
 

Offline yor_on

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #18 on: 06/01/2009 00:27:25 »
That would be correct if considered an expression by our other three dimensions (in time:)

But time itself?
It seems to me that you can see 'time' as a 'field' if you like, like gravity, like space?
And what would this way of looking do to 'distance' and 'motion'?

At times 'shrunk', as when looking at spacetime from being at rest with the frame of an accelerating object.
But seen like I describe it still a field, experienced as a 'flow' when described from any frame of reference.
And never 'uniform' except when you're 'at rest' with what you're comparing too.
Always a 'relation'.

Yep, now I'm deep ::))
I do need to go to bed...

And that's what we do, isn't it:)
Ah, not go to bed, even if we do..

But 'observing' from inside 'reference frames'?
We do have an 'arrow of time' though.
And that's mighty confusing, and interesting.





« Last Edit: 06/01/2009 00:40:41 by yor_on »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #19 on: 06/01/2009 10:06:35 »
Logically, any object that has zero length in the direction that it is traveling in can only move in discrete steps because any movement away from it's original location must be greater than zero.

That's the sort of thing I hate about physics - zeros (and infinities). My little brain can't wrap itself around something having zero length.
 

Offline LeeE

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #20 on: 06/01/2009 14:41:15 »
I wouldn't claim that this is actually the case in real life, just that it seems to be logically correct and that if you pursue it further quite a few other things seem to fall in to place.  It does seem counter-intuitive though, but then EMR is clearly different to matter; we cannot hold it in our hands but it exists nevertheless.

I also find it very suggestive that 'c' is squared in e=mc^2.  In fact, a lot (although see the final sentence) of maths in physics seems to be implicitly multi-dimensional.  Every time the values of two different qualities are multiplied, as in p=mv just for example, we seem to be defining an area that is m long by v wide.  In this respect, and going ever further, geometry/dimensionality seems to be implicit in all mathematics.
 

Offline LeeE

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #21 on: 06/01/2009 14:52:26 »
Yor_on:

Yes, we can treat time differently, but not too differently.  It's not too difficult to see the similarity between objects that move at 'c' through our three spatial dimensions and our movement through the temporal dimension.  Things that move at 'c' through space do so in a straight line (through space-time that may be curved) without speeding up, slowing down or changing direction (within their own space-time frame and unless they interact with something).  This doesn't seem too different to the way that we seem to move through time i.e. at a constant rate (within our own space-time frame) and without changing direction.  One does wonder though, about collisions/interactions within the time dimension - if it can happen with light-speed objects in the spatial dimensions it would seem to be possible in the temporal dimension too.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2009 15:17:29 by LeeE »
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #22 on: 06/01/2009 17:58:36 »
Logically, any object that has zero length in the direction that it is traveling in can only move in discrete steps because any movement away from it's original location must be greater than zero.  Regardless of how small the distance is, it must, even if infinitely small, be > 0 for it to have moved at all.  Conversely, an object with non-zero length can move while occupying, for a period of time, the same point in space.  It really comes down to how precisely you can locate something; the entirety of a zero length object can be located by a single precise coordinate but the entirety an object with length cannot because it occupies a region.  Now you could choose to pick a particular datum point along the length of the object, and work with that, but that would not describe the entire object.

Look at it this way, if time is not stops and starts, it would suggest it has a flow. What would time move relative to? If you can answer that, you may have a working theory of an actual river of time.
 

Offline yor_on

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #23 on: 07/01/2009 11:33:12 »
Yor_on:

Yes, we can treat time differently, but not too differently.  It's not too difficult to see the similarity between objects that move at 'c' through our three spatial dimensions and our movement through the temporal dimension.  Things that move at 'c' through space do so in a straight line (through space-time that may be curved) without speeding up, slowing down or changing direction (within their own space-time frame and unless they interact with something).  This doesn't seem too different to the way that we seem to move through time i.e. at a constant rate (within our own space-time frame) and without changing direction.  One does wonder though, about collisions/interactions within the time dimension - if it can happen with light-speed objects in the spatial dimensions it would seem to be possible in the temporal dimension too.

That's definitely deeper than me LeeE :)

"One does wonder though, about collisions/interactions within the time dimension - if it can happen with light-speed objects in the spatial dimensions it would seem to be possible in the temporal dimension too."

do you have another description of how you think here?
It sounds intriguing.

But the question of a flow or 'events' seems very important to physicists.
If you look at a Feynman diagram time can go backwards, right?

If time was events then it seems to me that the arrow of time has to be some sort of additional 'construct' to that.
But if time is an 'unbroken' flow? That has an arrow macroscopically, but not on a QM scale.

What does that make 'time'?
 

Offline LeeE

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #24 on: 07/01/2009 18:04:12 »
Quote
What would time move relative to?

I don't think you can say that time moves.  It's a direction, in which objects can move, but is not an object itself, which can move.  The only frame of reference that makes consistent sense is the object's own frame of reference; it moves relative to itself.  That is, within it's own frame of reference, and having moved, it now occupies different coordinates to what it did before it moved.  Heh - invoking 'did' and 'before' brings us back to the difference with time.  There seems to be a clear two-level hierarchy in the way that dimensions are organised, with time occupying the root level and the spatial dimensions occupying the level below it.  Regardless of how many spatial dimensions you work with, you need a temporal dimension for any change to occur.  Hypothetically, you can even get away with no spatial dimensions at all and still have change, for an object might just consist of a value, and that value could change without moving spatially.  However, if you try to get change without time, what you actually end up with is several different values existing simultaneously; it's like the difference between a single object moving from location A to location B, and an object that exists both at A and B.  In the first case there is a single object, but in the second there are two.

Quote
"One does wonder though, about collisions/interactions within the time dimension - if it can happen with light-speed objects in the spatial dimensions it would seem to be possible in the temporal dimension too."

do you have another description of how you think here?
It sounds intriguing.

Nope - I'm afraid not - it seems weird to me too.

Quote
But the question of a flow or 'events' seems very important to physicists.
If you look at a Feynman diagram time can go backwards, right?

Well, if time is a direction, it doesn't mean that that direction no longer exists behind you, just as the road you drive along doesn't vanish behind you as you pass.  The start of the road is still there, but you're not.  The obvious difference is that you can turn around and drive back to the start of the road to prove it still exists.  Or at least that's how it seems.  In fact, when you turn around and drive back to the start of the road, it is no longer exactly the same road because it will have changed as a consequence of your journey along it.  With roads, the difference is virtually imperceptible - there'll be a tiny bit of rubber from your tyres deposited on it, there'll be a little more wear of the road surface, and some of the dust and dirt will have moved, or even been washed away if it has rained.  Now this is because although you have reversed your direction in space, you haven't reversed your direction in time, so both you and the road are now in different time locations.  Were it possible for you to reverse your direction in time though, then you would be able to get back to the same location in time, where the road would be unchanged.

There might be a problem with this however; movement through space affects the rate of time and because you were moving and the road was not, the rate of time for you will be different to the rate of time for the road.  Also, if movement through space affects the rate of movement through time, and movement through space can be considered equivalent to movement in time, does movement through time also cause time dilation, bearing in mind the hierarchical relationship between time and space?
 

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Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #24 on: 07/01/2009 18:04:12 »

 

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