# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: What is time?  (Read 5854 times)

#### Alan McDougall

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1285
• Thanked: 14 times
##### What is time?
« on: 16/05/2014 22:13:37 »
The mystery of Time

Does time advance is ever smaller discrete moments?

Does time have a beginning and an end?

Or does time it flow like a continuous river?

Is there a place where time does not exist, like an eternal now?
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Below are some of my ideas about time and I am not sure all these ideas are unique to me but some of them are in my opinion!

Nothing is as it seems to be and all things are subjective realities to
the location of a particular observer. Everything is relative to each person from their particular viewpoint.

There is no absolute or universal time Example time moves/flows differently on the surface one object, relative to an object on the surface of another at a different locations.  Gravity creates a time flow difference on the surfaces between different objects. The greater the force of gravity the slower time flows relative to an object located within a lighter force of gravity.

There is no universal now in our universe! Time cannot exist without space cannot exist without time, entropy cant happen without time, nothing can or will ever happen without the flow of linear time in our particular universe.

To illustrate what I mean, if we set and synchronized two extremely accurate atomic clocks on earth, to the exact some moment in time, and then hypothetically, in an instant moved one of them from earth to the huge planet Jupiter, with its much greater gravity. These two clocks would immediately begin to record time at a different rates if we could compare one to the other. After say a decade the difference between the two atomic clocks would have become measurably large. Of course I have done no calculations as to exactly how much the difference would actually be over time.

Even the slightest movement between two objects has a real effect on the rate that time advances/flows between them. If you stood motionless relative to person walking towards you, the rate of time flow for him, would be slower than it would be for you. Indeed he would become relatively younger to you and you would become relative older than him. Movement increased mass, increased mass slows down time relative to a stationary object.

Time even flows at different rates even at your head and legs, because your head is higher and subject to lesser gravity and your legs are lower and moving differently relative to the rest of your torso.

The effects on the rate of time flow in the two above paragraphs is unimaginable tiny, even almost infinitesimal, but nevertheless real and measurable with the extremely accurate means we now possess.

Another way I also like to imagine time, is to think of time, is that time might be likened to a sort of almost infinitely stretchable elastic band The closer one gets to the speed of light, the greater the elastic band will stretch behind you, causing time behind you to flow/stretch at a faster rate at your rear, and at compress the hypothetical elastic band in front of you causing time to flow at slower rate in front of you. Maybe this idea would also have merit, if I equated my hypothetical elastic band for the fabric of space, after all space and time are interlinked reality of the same cosmic fundamental makeup of the universe.

Start of journey
Time

Band....1 3 4 5....Spaceship....1 3 4 5....Band

Near Light Speed

Band ......1   2   3  4  5....SS....1234....Band

Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, is no longer a theory, but proven fact. Extremely accurate precision atomic clocks on fast moving spacecraft or long haul airplanes have detected the time dilation effect as a true phenomenon and have proven that was correct. He truly was an amazing man! I know this is most likely obvious to members, but I put it down in case a guest reads this thread, who does not posses the knowledge of General Relativity

Movement relative to time

Stop all the time measurements in the universe and all movement will still continue unaffected.

However if we could hypothetically stop all movement in the universe and freeze it at absolute zero would time still be a factor or reality because in a state of absolute zero movement, nothing can happen or will ever happen again?

The twin paradox describes what happens to time at near the speed of light. Identical twins aged 25, one remains on earth, and the other boards a spacecraft and travels at close to the speed of light, on a voyage to the star system Alpha Centauri, and back, some 4 light years from earth. Ten years later he returns to earth to returns having aged only one year (approximate) subjective time but is now 26 years of age biologically, compared to his now 10 years biological older 35 twin brother who had remained on earth.

Although the were born identical twins, the one who went to the stars looks much younger than his brother and is in reality only 26 years of age biologically While his brother twin looks much older and is really now biologically 35 years of age. The nearer you get to the speed of light the greater the affect of the time dilation becomes.

In theory if you could have the unimaginable amount of energy to come within the nearest fraction of the speed of light, and traveled to a very distant galaxy, you might come out of your journey at the dying moments of the universe with our sun and planet you left behind, long gone and just cosmic ashes of the final breakup of the universe.

The physics as far as present knowledge are concerned, only allows for one for travel into the future, going back into the past is impossible, because of some serious paradoxes, such as returning the past and killing your grandfather. Special relativity also limits one to travel only into the future, but extremely high speeds relativity, sort of deceives in that one might suppose, that at your journeys end, that you have jumped into the far future, when in fact all you have done is you advance into the future at a normal biological rate, relative to you and the spaceship. Although people back home are also advancing into the future like you are in your distant spaceship.  However, back home the clocks relative to yours on the spaceship are going much much faster, but both of you are just going into your own relative time zone futures. Time is an odd old thing?

Space and time are different realities of the same thing and one cannot exist without the other and but are meaningless concepts without moment of things from the quantum world right up to the macro realities of the larger universe.

It is hypothetically possible to go to the far future if we had the almost unimaginable amount of enough energy needed to push our space ship to near light speed, but only to the future and sadly you could never return to our own time you left behind at the beginning of our journey.

Another view about time is that it is just an illusion, a purely human construct of mankind, designed for convenience in order to measure a perceived “past”, “present” and “future”. The illusion of “time” on Earth is maintained by means of a scientific measurement of the relative positions of the Earth and the Sun in the physical three dimensional Universe in order to observe the seasons and the time the Earth takes for a complete rotation relative to the Sun in the measurement of ongoing “time”, in turn measured by various physical instruments such as clocks, calendars and charts.

Albert Einstein did say in humor, "that time is an illusion and something we invented to prevent everything from happening at once"

Maybe there is only Now, the Eternal Now where everything that has happened, is happening and ever will happen, relative to the Earth concept of time already exists, always has existed and always will exist?

Since the beginning of the human concept of “time” mankind has sought to live life based around that concept, thereby always thinking in terms of past present and future rather than Now. This tendency to force everything to happen in compliance with a notional concept of “time”

By Alan
« Last Edit: 16/05/2014 23:32:50 by evan_au »

#### petm1

• Full Member
• Posts: 52
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #1 on: 21/05/2014 02:26:36 »
Space and time each as real as the other, discrete in space is centered in time, discrete in time is centered in space.  Opposites yet the same +++-,---+.

#### jeffreyH

• Global Moderator
• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 3914
• Thanked: 53 times
• The graviton sucks
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #2 on: 29/05/2014 22:58:08 »
Rather than thinking of time as a concept think of motion. Energy imparts motion and motion causes change. Nothing is stationary. As things move and cause change we measure this. As a convenience we invented the concept of time which we marked by observing the motions of the celestial bodies and the rotation of the earth. Remove our invention of time and all we are measuring are relative motions and degrees of change relative to one another. Without our invention of time relativity would only be concerned with the measure of change over distance and how fields affect the properties of these changes. Our measure of distance would be part of the changing environment.

#### petm1

• Full Member
• Posts: 52
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #3 on: 30/05/2014 01:02:33 »
Try to describe motion without time for even while at rest you are still dilating in time.

#### Alan McDougall

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1285
• Thanked: 14 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #4 on: 31/05/2014 09:29:50 »
Rather than thinking of time as a concept think of motion. Energy imparts motion and motion causes change. Nothing is stationary. As things move and cause change we measure this. As a convenience we invented the concept of time which we marked by observing the motions of the celestial bodies and the rotation of the earth. Remove our invention of time and all we are measuring are relative motions and degrees of change relative to one another. Without our invention of time relativity would only be concerned with the measure of change over distance and how fields affect the properties of these changes. Our measure of distance would be part of the changing environment.

I did mention movement in my little essay and even underlined it as!

"Movement relative to time'.

#### CliffordK

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 6321
• Thanked: 3 times
• Site Moderator
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #5 on: 31/05/2014 10:51:01 »
As far as discrete time quanta...  I don't believe there is any evidence for it.  However, we measure time with respect to discrete events.  So, the pendulum on your clock may swing once per second, advancing the second hand one notch for every swing.  Or, an electronic clock will have some kind of oscillator circuit that will be counted.

Now, the question is what are we really measuring with "time"?

An "atomic" clock consists of:
Tunable Oscillator (like a quartz crystal oscillator) tied to a microwave or EM generator.
The microwaves then interact with a target atom (the atomic part) near the hyperfine energy transition point of the particular atom (hydrogen, cesium, rubidium, etc), which then is used to calibrate the oscillator.

So, by changing gravity, velocity, etc...  the change you are actually making is in this hyperfine transition point.

Now, tying energy to time isn't necessarily bad.  You survive, and the body ages through the movement of energy within your body.

#### jeffreyH

• Global Moderator
• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 3914
• Thanked: 53 times
• The graviton sucks
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #6 on: 01/06/2014 00:14:49 »
Try to describe motion without time for even while at rest you are still dilating in time.

If you remove time then everything is naturally relative. You cannot measure anything individually. The distance covered by one object has to be related to the distance covered by another to show the magnitude of changes. If one particle spins 1 revolution of 360 degrees and another 180 then the relationship is 2 to 1. Then it all comes down to the quantum scale where differences in change will be most apparent.

If you view things in this way then some things become evident that can not be seen any other way. Relativity is simplified and becomes a natural consequence of change.
« Last Edit: 01/06/2014 00:16:42 by jeffreyH »

#### jccc

• Hero Member
• Posts: 990
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #7 on: 02/06/2014 14:38:27 »
The universe sings an endless song

The sound wave travels at infinity speed

We listen to the song wondering

What the **** is time

#### Bill S

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1805
• Thanked: 11 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #8 on: 03/06/2014 22:42:28 »

Quote
Nothing is as it seems to be and all things are subjective realities to
the location of a particular observer. Everything is relative to each person from their particular viewpoint.

My understanding is that relativity tells us that what I see in my F of R, and what you see in yours may be different but they are both real.  Extending that to say that “Nothing is as it seems to be” is probably venturing into philosophy.

Quote
There is no absolute or universal time

Relativity shows that our measurement of time depends on subjective factors; this is interpreted as saying that there is universal/objective time.  Relativity certainly suggests this, but I understand that QM requires a universal time.

Quote
Time cannot exist without space

To make that a valid statement it would be necessary to define “time”.  Can we be sure that time is anything other than something we invented in order to measure what we perceive as change?

Saying it is impossible for anything to happen without time makes sense, but are we saying more than that we cannot cope with the concept of change unless we “invent” time as a means of measurement?

Quote
To illustrate what I mean, if we set and synchronized two extremely accurate atomic clocks…

The accuracy of atomic clocks tells us something about how we measure time, but what are we actually talking about?  We may talk about a clock being, for example, accurate to some miniscule fraction of a second in 100 years, but what does that mean.  Who/what decides what the “accurate” fraction of a second is.

Quote
Even the slightest movement between two objects has a real effect on the rate that time advances/flows between them.

Let’s not forget that, not only are the effects you are talking about miniscule, they are also a very small part of all the other relative motions that are going on in the Universe.  Is there really anything concrete about the relative times we would be considering, even if we were talking about some futuristic space craft travelling at an appreciable fraction of “c” relative to the Earth?

Quote
Another way I also like to imagine time, is to think of time, is that time might be likened to a sort of almost infinitely stretchable elastic band The closer one gets to the speed of light, the greater the elastic band will stretch behind you, causing time behind you to flow/stretch at a faster rate at your rear,

Are you thinking of time as flowing at different rates, or of objects passing at different rates through static time?

Quote
Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, is no longer a theory, but proven fact.

Actually, the best we can say is that GR has passed all the tests to which it has been subjected so far.  We can never really say that it, or anything in science, is a proven fact.

Quote
Stop all the time measurements in the universe and all movement will still continue unaffected.

You have evidence of that?  Let’s be clear, I’m not arguing with you; I think this is a perfectly reasonable opinion to hold, but as far as I know, it is just an opinion.

Quote
However if we could hypothetically stop all movement in the universe and freeze it at absolute zero would time still be a factor or reality because in a state of absolute zero movement, nothing can happen or will ever happen again?

Quantum theory says you cannot reach 0K, because that, as you say, would stop all motion.  This would mean that it would, in principle, be possible to know the position and momentum of every particle.

Quote
The twin paradox describes what happens to time at near the speed of light.

The twin paradox works well in theory, but do we have any experimental evidence that the twins would notice any difference?  The astronaut who has spent the longest time in space flight is a fraction of a second younger than he would have been had he stayed on Earth, but is he really younger, or is it just that we think he should be?

Quote
In theory if you could have the unimaginable amount of energy to come within the nearest fraction of the speed of light, and traveled to a very distant galaxy, you might come out of your journey at the dying moments of the universe with our sun and planet you left behind, long gone and just cosmic ashes of the final breakup of the universe.

Interesting line of thought.  What would be your perceptions of the Universe as you were travelling?

Quote
The physics as far as present knowledge are concerned, only allows for one for travel into the future, going back into the past is impossible,

I believe opinion in the scientific world is divided between those (e.g. Richard Wolfson) who are adamant that past directed time travel is impossible, and others (e.g. J Richard Gott) who gives detailed instructions on how, in theory, one can travel to the past.  Personally, I’m in the “Wolfson” camp, but I’m not an expert.

Quote
It is hypothetically possible to go to the far future if we had the almost unimaginable amount of enough energy needed to push our space ship to near light speed, but only to the future and sadly you could never return to our own time you left behind at the beginning of our journey.

Have you ever thought of how long it would take to get close to the speed of light without the occupants of the craft being crushed by inertial forces?

Quote
Another view about time is that it is just an illusion, a purely human construct…

What happened before there were humans to construct this illusion; was there no evolution?

Quote
Maybe there is only Now, the Eternal Now where everything that has happened, is happening and ever will happen, relative to the Earth concept of time already exists, always has existed and always will exist?

It makes a change to find someone else proposing that.  I would be fascinated to see where you go with it.

#### jccc

• Hero Member
• Posts: 990
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #9 on: 04/06/2014 05:52:48 »
Time, space and matter/energy/force seems are the 3 must/basic things to make up the universe.

Without all 3, there is no life, no movement.

Space has xyz 3 dimensions, time has past, now and future 3 sections, matter/energy/force has 3 faces.

3x3x3

Is that what he was thinking?

“If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have the key to the universe.”
― Nikola Tesla

« Last Edit: 04/06/2014 18:58:56 by jccc »

#### jccc

• Hero Member
• Posts: 990
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #10 on: 04/06/2014 21:31:02 »
God created time, space and energy then falls asleep.

That is my whole science book. The rest is story.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2014 21:32:46 by jccc »

#### PmbPhy

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 2760
• Thanked: 38 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #11 on: 04/06/2014 22:23:04 »
Quote from: Alan McDougall
The mystery of Time

When you write something so long merely to state facts that most members already know and then don't pose a question only seeking comments then you shouldn't expect very much for a response. Most people don't like reading posts which are that long.

The best treatment on time that I know of is here
http://users.wfu.edu/brehme/time.htm

Quote from: Alan McDougall
Does time advance is ever smaller discrete moments?
That can't be known at this time. However I believe that's related to quantized time which gives quantum foam.

Quote from: Alan McDougall
Does time have a beginning and an end?

Or does time it flow like a continuous river?

Is there a place where time does not exist, like an eternal now?
Answers to such questions can't be given at this point in time and guessing is meaningless.

Quote from: jccc
God created time, space and energy then falls asleep.
Sure. Only if you buy that kind of fairy tale.

Quote from: jccc
That is my whole science book. The rest is story.
I guess you're not much into science then.

The best easily accesible treatment online of what time is can be found here- http://users.wfu.edu/brehme/time.htm

#### jccc

• Hero Member
• Posts: 990
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #12 on: 05/06/2014 03:05:53 »
Good comment! Even you don't like my jokes.

#### jccc

• Hero Member
• Posts: 990
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #13 on: 05/06/2014 03:56:09 »
God farted big bang then falls asleep.

Most potent fart we know of.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2014 04:13:13 by jccc »

#### HchrisRansford

• First timers
• Posts: 1
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #14 on: 29/04/2015 16:58:44 »

I'd be interested in your take on it?
Best
Chris

#### Alan McDougall

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1285
• Thanked: 14 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #15 on: 01/05/2015 20:12:23 »

I'd be interested in your take on it?
Best
Chris

Hello Pete

Followed me to this forum, but blocked me from your tiny one why?

#### PmbPhy

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 2760
• Thanked: 38 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #16 on: 01/05/2015 21:24:27 »

I'd be interested in your take on it?
Best
Chris
Hello Pete

Followed me to this forum, but blocked me from your tiny one why?
I don't understand. Is there another Pete here that you're referring to? That post doesn't appear to be written by anybody other than Chris so why talk to me if I'm the Pete you're referring to? And if I'm the Pete you're talking to then what do you mean by "Followed me to this forum, but blocked me from your tiny one why?" ?

#### Thebox

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 3154
• Thanked: 44 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #17 on: 02/05/2015 10:59:31 »
Time is the inherent property of matter and relative to atomic decay of matter by being submissive to  Em radiation and submissive to the  inherent properties of gravitational fields of matter.
« Last Edit: 02/05/2015 11:05:17 by Thebox »

#### Alan McDougall

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1285
• Thanked: 14 times
##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #18 on: 02/05/2015 16:00:51 »

I'd be interested in your take on it?
Best
Chris
Hello Pete

Followed me to this forum, but blocked me from your tiny one why?
I don't understand. Is there another Pete here that you're referring to? That post doesn't appear to be written by anybody other than Chris so why talk to me if I'm the Pete you're referring to? And if I'm the Pete you're talking to then what do you mean by "Followed me to this forum, but blocked me from your tiny one why?" ?

It not you Pete!! But another Pete in disguise that wants to prove that I am wrong and he is right!

Sorry!

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: What is time?
« Reply #18 on: 02/05/2015 16:00:51 »