# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?  (Read 20078 times)

#### yor_on

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #25 on: 07/01/2009 19:19:16 »
Well I agree on what you wrote:)
The flashlight of time will broaden its inspection as it lights up the fossils left by at the way from 'then' to 'this'.
But I don't think we can move backward to rearrange it.
Not coming back to the same 'spacetime' we left to do so, anyway.

The strangest thing to me is not 'time' in itself.
For any change there has to be 'time'.
The 'arrow' imposing that 'order' though?

Where did it come from and why.
Is it a direct result of mass, as I believe space to be?
If it is, what hinders it from being an 'elastic'
Like ah, a 'field':)

It did allow for an inflation before mass, did it not?
Time I mean, allowing for an speed in a '???' surpassing 'c'.
Or should I define mass as 'matter' instead?

Where would we be without it?
The inflation I mean:)
And time too.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2009 19:32:53 by yor_on »

#### LeeE

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #26 on: 08/01/2009 12:45:56 »
Mass, or at least rest mass, is a property of matter, so you would seem to need matter to have (rest) mass.

#### yor_on

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #27 on: 08/01/2009 14:35:28 »
The question I have here is about 'time' and pre-inflation.

That is, assuming that 'time' is a field just as space seems to be.
We say that the Inflation allowed for a uniform space at a speed faster than 'c' in a vacuum.

But how can that be, faster than 'c'?
What if :) Time is a field, and, just as space, bound to 'matter', you know that thingy we call 'invariant mass'.

If 'time' is something coming in existence as a single 'arrow in time' only at a 'mass' bigger than QM sized.

And if what we had before the inflation fulfilled those demands in being 'smaller'.
Kind of interesting to me :)

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/33185/title/Before_the_beginning
http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0806.0377
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

« Last Edit: 08/01/2009 14:40:25 by yor_on »

#### LeeE

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #28 on: 08/01/2009 16:00:31 »
I wouldn't regard time or space as 'fields', at least not in the same sense as a gravitational or electromagnetic field.  I'm guessing that your first language is not english, so this might just be down to an unfortunate choice of words.

Other than that, I don't think I could add anything more to what is said in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_inflation

This seems to be the specific area that you're interested in.

#### yor_on

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #29 on: 08/01/2009 18:27:30 »
No I'm not meaning electromagnetic fields.
Just that i don't know any better word for it?
'Dimension' just phreaks it up:).

I see it as a 'condition' in where you have both space and time as something so related to our concept of 'invariant mass' that they will not exist without it.

And I also see a geometric difference between 'matter' as seen from QM versus from our macroscopic reality.
That will allow time a different direction before and under its inflation.

If you know different:) you're welcome to correct me LeeE
It's not like it's written in stone.

« Last Edit: 08/01/2009 18:29:10 by yor_on »

#### Mr. Scientist

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #30 on: 08/01/2009 19:37:11 »
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?

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?

So let's say then we both agree time does not move. Last year though, i learned that conceptually-speaking, that time could move relative to the observer, but it is impossible to appreciate whether it is a factor of consciousness and psychological experience, than an actual occurance outside of the human mind.

#### LeeE

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #31 on: 10/01/2009 19:16:29 »
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.

A bit late on this, but it recently occurred to me that this is actually implied by the fact of motion induced time dilation.

Although we can move through three spatial dimensions, at any point in time the movement vectors for all three spatial directions can be summed to a single vector.  Thus movement is essentially in a single direction and can be expressed by a single value, just as when we drive heading North-West we don't say we are driving West at x mph and North at y mph; we just use the summed vector.

With movement induced time dilation, the same thing is happening, except this time the two vectors being summed are the summed spatial movement vector and the temporal movement vector.  The reason we get time dilation is because it is the sum of these two vectors, spatial and temporal, which cannot exceed 'c', so as the spatial movement vector increases, the temporal vector must decrease.  With zero spatial movement then, we move temporally at 'c', which in turn implies we have zero length in that direction.

#### A Davis

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #32 on: 11/01/2009 19:09:59 »
Time is spin
« Last Edit: 12/01/2009 22:58:26 by A Davis »

#### Ron Hughes

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #33 on: 20/03/2010 16:24:01 »
I would ask this. Is there a minimum amount of force I can apply to a charged particle before it begins to accelerate? I would say no. Any force, no mater how small, will cause some acceleration of the particle. This would suggest that time can come in any increment larger than zero and that events can occur in less than Planck time.

#### LeeE

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #34 on: 21/03/2010 11:38:39 »
That subluminal acceleration occurs suggests that movement must happen over less than the Planck Distance, or in less than the Planck Time, for traveling one Planck Distance in one Planck Time period = 'c'.

Just to complicate things though, quantum phenomena effectively result in a 'background noise' and beneath the level of that noise it's not possible to tell if an action is occurring because the magnitude of the 'noise' is greater than the magnitude of the action.

However, another aspect of subluminal acceleration is that the acceleration is not, and cannot be, precisely defined because the particle is 'smeared' over both space and time, occupying an indefinite and size and position in both.

#### Ron Hughes

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #35 on: 21/03/2010 21:05:27 »
Lee, the problem I see with quoting information supplied by QM about this issue is that QM can not and will not describe the electrons design, why does it have charge and mass. Calling it a point particle is the only way to avoid destruction of the standard model. You know we could apply a force of 10^-1000 newtons to an electron and not be able to detect it's change in position with any equipment now available but we know it moved.

#### yor_on

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #36 on: 25/03/2010 21:37:23 »
How about this then. Ron and me seems to think similar thoughts there. If 'time' is 'event based', discreet happenings that is, then all other relations should be so too, shouldn't they. And as with interference, would it be some way to observe this fact?

Like by the combination of effects building up to a proof of it then being events? Don't really know how to express it but there should be a difference between the phenomena created by a flow as compared to the phenomena created by discrete 'events'?

Or is this just gibberish :)

#### LeeE

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #37 on: 26/03/2010 01:57:54 »
No, I don't think it's gibberish, but at the same time, I don't think it's possible to say that it's definitely one or the other.  It seems to me, to be both (or either), depending upon your own properties i.e. how you look at it, and where you look at it from.

Imagine that I give you an apple, and then another apple.  Before I gave you any apples you had no apples, and after I gave you one apple you had one apple, and then when I gave you the second apple you had two apples.  At no point though, did you ever have a fraction of an apple; you either had no apples, one apple, or two apples.

So you are now holding an apple in each of your hands, and then you drop one.  Under the force of gravity, the apple starts to accelerate down towards the Earth and will continue to do so until it finally hits the ground, bounces and stops.  It was stationary, while you were holding it, as is the apple still clasped in your other hand, but the dropped apple, now it has left your hand is now moving.  Moreover, it is moving at a constantly changing speed, momentarily traveling at every possible speed in the infinite range of possible speeds between zero, whilst you were still holding it, and whatever speed it achieves before it hits the ground.

So, you receive the apples, when I give them to you, in discrete steps, but when you drop them they move smoothly and continuously.

Coming back to movement through space and time, we've seen that the dropped apple does not appear to move in discrete steps but moves smoothly and continuously while it accelerates.  However light, as far as we can tell, does not seem to accelerate but immediately starts moving at 'c' and this is analogous to me giving you apples, one apple at a time.  Note that it's not the speed with which I give you the apples that I'm referring to here but the number of apples you end up holding; you start with none, but then have 1, 2, 3, 4... and so on...  But there is only ever one apple difference between the number of apples I've given you; you never have half an apple and so there is no acceleration or change in that rate.

Hmm... probably not the best of explanations, but it is a bit late here, and I have had a bit to drink.  There's also a more explicit and specific explanation of the possible whys and wherefores but it would be a bit too lengthy for a forum reply.  I hope though, that you might be able to see how what may seem to be two mutually exclusive phenomena/explanations/reasons can actually, and indeed need to, co-exist.

#### JP

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #38 on: 26/03/2010 08:04:49 »
Between apples and acceleration and fractional apples and light I got lost somewhere...

#### yor_on

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #39 on: 26/03/2010 11:32:35 »
LeeE you better use that lengthy one too :)

But I do like apples, they work like coffee in the morning. Try fresh pressed apple juice as a 'pick me up' in the morning. I learned it in India, and for me it really worked, the power of suggestion perhaps?

Anyway, hit us with the long one too LeeE, so I can see your thoughts there more fully.

#### LeeE

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #40 on: 26/03/2010 15:05:57 »
Hmm... yup, it's definitely not the best of explanations.

When I get around to writing it up I'll post a link to it.

#### Geezer

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##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #41 on: 26/03/2010 22:13:32 »
No, I don't think it's gibberish, but at the same time, I don't think it's possible to say that it's definitely one or the other.  It seems to me, to be both (or either), depending upon your own properties i.e. how you look at it, and where you look at it from.

Imagine that I give you an apple, and then another apple.  Before I gave you any apples you had no apples, and after I gave you one apple you had one apple, and then when I gave you the second apple you had two apples.  At no point though, did you ever have a fraction of an apple; you either had no apples, one apple, or two apples.

So you are now holding an apple in each of your hands, and then you drop one.  Under the force of gravity, the apple starts to accelerate down towards the Earth and will continue to do so until it finally hits the ground, bounces and stops.  It was stationary, while you were holding it, as is the apple still clasped in your other hand, but the dropped apple, now it has left your hand is now moving.  Moreover, it is moving at a constantly changing speed, momentarily traveling at every possible speed in the infinite range of possible speeds between zero, whilst you were still holding it, and whatever speed it achieves before it hits the ground.

So, you receive the apples, when I give them to you, in discrete steps, but when you drop them they move smoothly and continuously.

Coming back to movement through space and time, we've seen that the dropped apple does not appear to move in discrete steps but moves smoothly and continuously while it accelerates.  However light, as far as we can tell, does not seem to accelerate but immediately starts moving at 'c' and this is analogous to me giving you apples, one apple at a time.  Note that it's not the speed with which I give you the apples that I'm referring to here but the number of apples you end up holding; you start with none, but then have 1, 2, 3, 4... and so on...  But there is only ever one apple difference between the number of apples I've given you; you never have half an apple and so there is no acceleration or change in that rate.

Hmm... probably not the best of explanations, but it is a bit late here, and I have had a bit to drink.  There's also a more explicit and specific explanation of the possible whys and wherefores but it would be a bit too lengthy for a forum reply.  I hope though, that you might be able to see how what may seem to be two mutually exclusive phenomena/explanations/reasons can actually, and indeed need to, co-exist.

LOL! I really enjoyed it though. It reminded of a Tommy Cooper act.

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#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Is there a minimum-sized unit of time?
« Reply #41 on: 26/03/2010 22:13:32 »