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This question has arisen from a wish to understand an end-of-universe scenario: heat death.

Are time and mass intrinsically linked?

If so, does time "run slower" (whatever that may mean) in a universe with less mass? And ultimately, in a universe without any mass, just space and energy (photons), then the universal clock stops ticking. I.e. no further aging takes place?

So does time slow down gradually as baryonic mass breaks down?

If this is the case, would the rate at which time slows down also slow down - because time itself as slowed down - leading to an asymptotic decay of time. I.e. it would take forever for all the particles to decay because each particle takes longer and longer to break down due to time slowing down.

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Hi Dave - it's perfectly fine that you don't have a background in physics, but your question isn't really clear as it is. You're going to need to clarify it (don't worry, we'll help) before we can give it any sort of sensible answer. For starters, what did you mean by an "intrinsic link" between time and mass? And what does it mean for time to run slower? Sure, you said that you don't know what you mean by that, but if you don't know what your own question means, how can we ever expect to? (Making your meaning clear is often the biggest part of asking - and answering - a physics question.) –  David Z Dec 23 '10 at 4:59
Agree with David. I'll try to ask further questions to help you reformulate what you are asking for. 1) I have a vague feeling that by running slower you are referring to the concept of slower aging of someone moving with speed close to speed light in SR? In GR this concept is generalized and various observers will have independent definition of time depending on the way they move and interaction they overcome (gravitational red-shift). Are these concepts what your are referring to? –  Marek Dec 23 '10 at 10:26
2) As for the individual particles: no, the microscopic physics (in particular nuclear physics) is always purely local and every process takes the same amount of time from the point of view of said process. Of course, from point of view of different observers it might seem to you that time is slowing down (e.g. you'll never see someone fall down to BH because of infinite time dilation caused by horizon). So, you see, you have to make it clear whose time you are referring to, because there is no universal time in GR anymore. –  Marek Dec 23 '10 at 10:29
I believe you are "rediscovering" the Abian equation: 1/M + 1/log(t) = 1 (Abian) . This was a lunatic idea pushed on USENET by an older fellow named Alexander Abian, who achieved fame for his idea that humanity should blow up the moon in the 1990s. It is not valid physics, but the conceptual idea was that the universe uses up energy (and therefore mass) in order to "push time forward". –  Ron Maimon Dec 31 '11 at 11:14
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closed as not a real question by David Z Dec 23 '10 at 4:53

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.