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Author Topic: Does time have the jitters?  (Read 2080 times)

Offline Geezer

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Does time have the jitters?
« on: 25/03/2010 01:28:56 »
I tend to assume that time progresses in a more or less uniform fashion. Of course, its progression can be relatively different at different locations. It would seem unlikely that on macroscopic scales time jitters (relatively)

Is it possible that time "jitters" at very small scales - atomic and subatomic? Is there any evidence for or against this and could there be a connection between (relative) time jitter and quantum effects?

(I realize this may be paradoxical, because, time is time, so any non-uniformity could only be observed from a different frame of reference.)


 

Offline JP

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Does time have the jitters?
« Reply #1 on: 25/03/2010 07:10:39 »
Someone else may be able to answer this in more detail, but I think it's an open-ended question.  The current theories (even quantum theories) I know of treat time as smooth.  Since time is part of space-time, and a quantum theory of gravity is required to describe the behavior of space-time on a very small time, I think it's an open question to be addressed by whatever theory of quantum gravity comes out as the winner. 

But I really don't know the field of quantum gravity research and string theory very well at all, so I'm just making educated guesses there.
 

Offline LeeE

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Does time have the jitters?
« Reply #2 on: 25/03/2010 17:18:52 »
Saying that "time progresses" in the sense that time is something that flows past something that is essentially stationary is like saying that when you move it is everything else that moves past you, and that you are actually stationary.  Rather, it is not time that is moving, or flowing, but that you are moving along/through the time axis/dimension.

Furthermore, you can't really separate space from time and the phenomenon of relativistic time-dilation, which appears to be a proven fact, as far as we can establish, implies that we are constantly moving at the speed of light 'c' through space-time; as we move more quickly through one it results in us moving more slowly through the other, and visa-versa, to maintain that constant absolute speed through the single/combined space-time.

As to whether there's a 'jitter' to the rate at which we move, well, I don't think we can really say that, for a 'jitter' would mean a deviation from a precisely known value whereas the result of quantum effects is to actually make it impossible for that value to be precisely known.  It's not so much of there being a 'jitter' then, but that everything is very slightly blurred (and the actual degree of blurring of any specific object may even extend to the ever expanding limits of the universe) and so can't be said to have a specific precise value from which a deviation due to 'jitter' could be established.
 

Offline Geezer

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Does time have the jitters?
« Reply #3 on: 25/03/2010 17:29:33 »
Thanks JP and Lee.

My spurious thought on this was, could "time jitter" be the reason for any of the quantum effects we observe, like, for example, electron "smearing"? (I realize it's a rather "off the wall" notion  :D)
 

Offline yor_on

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Does time have the jitters?
« Reply #4 on: 25/03/2010 19:08:41 »
Geezer, as I understands it we have tested the idea down to 'attoseconds' (One quintillionth (10^-18) of a second) without being able to see any proof for it (time) being 'events'. I think you will like this one. It's a little old but cool. What is Time.

And as coupled to distance, as time and distance seems to 'tick' together to me :). Extreme gravity  And he wrote this one too, that I think is nice. Basic gravity 

 

Offline Geezer

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Does time have the jitters?
« Reply #5 on: 25/04/2010 18:57:13 »
Reading an article on neutrinos in SciAm (May 2010) I came across this statement:

"In certain quantum theories of gravity, the very fabric of spacetime undulates on microscopic scales."

It's not exactly jitter of course, but can anyone shed more light on this?
 

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Does time have the jitters?
« Reply #5 on: 25/04/2010 18:57:13 »

 

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