Time is defined operationally to be that which is measured by clocks. The SI unit of time is the second, which is defined to be

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

11
votes
4answers
4k views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula ...
11
votes
2answers
642 views

What is the closest general-relativistic equivalent of a “time slice”?

In a newtonian universe, one can talk of a "time slice", that is, the state of the universe at a given point in (global) time. In a "typical" classical universe, a time slice would contain enough ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How fast can time flow? A question of time dilation

(I would describe myself as an illiterate physics enthusiast, so I hope you'll forgive me if my ignorance is borderline offensive.) If I've understood anything of the concept of time dilation, your ...
11
votes
3answers
650 views

Space is expanding so what is time doing? [duplicate]

Space is expanding and as we know space and time are intrinsically linked to be now known as spacetime. What is happening to time during expansion? Is there more time, longer time or is the time part ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do we remember the past but not the future?

The question is sometimes referred to as the "psychological arrow of time" (Hawking, 1985). Here the past is understood as a moment or time when the entropy of the universe was lower, and contrarily ...
10
votes
3answers
530 views

Age of the universe versus absolute time [duplicate]

In Wikipedia, the age of the universe is defined as the "time elapsed since the Big Bang" while "time" links to "the cosmological time parameter of comoving coordinates" which itself links to "the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the second the SI base unit for time?

Specifically, during the moves towards Le Système international d'unités in the 18th and 19th centuries, why didn't anyone attempt to move us away from the definition of there being 24 hours in a day? ...
9
votes
3answers
9k views

How is a second measured? And why is it measured that way?

The earth's rotation around the sun isn't exactly 24 hours. It off by some seconds which becomes somewhere around 6 hours per year and 1 day in 4 years(leap year), which brings the question why didn't ...
9
votes
5answers
8k views

The Time That 2 Masses Will Collide Due To Newtonian Gravity

My friend and I have been wracking our heads with this one for the past 3 hours... We have 2 point masses, $m$ and $M$ in a perfect world separated by radius r. Starting from rest, they both begin to ...
9
votes
3answers
186 views

Seeing cosmic activity now, really means it happens millions/billions of years ago?

A Recent report about a cosmic burst 3.8 billion light years away. It is written as though it is happening now. However, my question is, if the event is 3.8 billion light years away, doesn't that mean ...
9
votes
4answers
20k views

How can gravitational forces influence time?

How does it work that gravitational forces can affect time and what usable applications could arise from this?
9
votes
3answers
12k views

What is the speed of time? [closed]

When we measure the speed of a moving element we do it with the help of a reference frame. Now if we need to measure the speed of time, is it possible? Does time actually have a speed?
9
votes
3answers
915 views

How do we know that the cesium-beam frequency used in atomic clocks is always the same?

Atomic clocks use cesium-beam frequency to determine the length of a second. This has shown that the period of orbit of the earth is decreasing. But what experiment showed that cesium-beam's period ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

How fast will the sun become a red giant?

I've read many accounts of our sun's distant fate, but what I've never heard is on what time scale these events occur. For instance, when the sun runs out of hydrogen, I presume it doesn't just WHAM! ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a constant/baseline for how fast time passes?

Say we have an object completely unaffected by the effects of gravity/velocity. Is there a way to measure the passing of time for this object? Since time moves slightly slower for us on or near ...
9
votes
7answers
1k views

Time, what is it? [closed]

If you ask any person about time, she/he will give you some answer. I suspect that it is extremely difficult, (if not impossible) to define time. Is there a definition of what it is in physics? Is it ...
9
votes
3answers
778 views

Is quantum tunneling related to imaginary time?

I was studying for my exam and looking at the chapter which talks about Potential-energy graphs. Let's take this as an example: My book states that: "If the object is in $B$ and has a total energy ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Question about proper time in general relativity

I think I may have some fundamental misunderstanding about what $dt, dx$ are in general relativity. As I understand it, in special relativity, $ds^2=dt^2-dx^2$, we call this the length because it is ...
9
votes
2answers
678 views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empirically privileged reference frame?

OK...before everyone blasts this with references to the relativistic invariance of the physical laws, time dilation, etc let me add some context. Also, I am an amateur with an interest in physics, so ...
9
votes
2answers
427 views

Is reflection instantaneous?

I was wondering while reading "On the Electrodynamics of moving bodies" by Albert Einstein (1905) (Translated to English). In the paper, he describes the time as being: by definition that the ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Does time exist in a vacuum?

Imagine a perfect vacuum devoid of all matter and radiation. Irrespective of whether such a space can even exist, my intuition tells me that time would not exist within such a space. What this thought ...
9
votes
11answers
2k views

understanding time: Is time simply the rate change?

Is time simply the rate of change? If this is the case and time was created during the big bang would it be the case that the closer you get to the start of the big bang the "slower" things change ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What's the difference between space and time?

I'm having a hard time understanding how changing space means changing time. In books I've read people are saying "space and time" or "space-time" but never explain what the difference is between the ...
8
votes
8answers
6k views

Can you completely explain acceleration to me?

I understand what acceleration is, and I know the formula, and I understand it's a vector. I just don't understand how the equation works exactly. I'm kind of picky, I know, but bear with me. ...
8
votes
9answers
3k views

Did relativity make Newtonian mechanics obsolete?

Did Einstein completely prove Newton wrong? If so, why we apply Newtonian mechanics even today? Because Newton said that time is absolute and Einstein suggested it relative? So, if fundamentals are ...
8
votes
6answers
6k views

Why are objects at rest in motion through spacetime at the speed of light?

I read that an object at rest has such a stupendous amount of energy, $E=mc^2$ because it's effectively in motion through space-time at the speed of light and it's traveling through the time dimension ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Do residents of the Hudson Bay area have more time?

Apparently there is a gravity anomaly in the Hudson Bay Area in Canada: gravity is "missing" or it is slightly less than it is in the rest of the world. Does that mean that things in the Hudson Bay ...
8
votes
8answers
38k views

How does velocity cause time dilation?

I've been trying to learn about the speed of light and time dilation, but I'm at an impasse. The presented facts say that if I travel around the solar system at 50% the speed of light and then come ...
8
votes
1answer
407 views

Cancelling special & general relativistic effects

We know that for a GPS we need to make a correction for both general and special relativity: general relativity predicts that clocks go slower in a higher gravitational field (the clock aboard a GPS ...
8
votes
2answers
654 views

What is the fastest process or shortest time in nature?

We know about some events that happen very quickly. For example, the dielectric relaxation time is about $10^{-14}\, \mathrm{seconds}$. I'm interested in other processes that switch extremely fast ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Anti-matter as matter going backwards in time? (requesting further clarification upon a previous post)

I understand this question has already been asked here, however, I don't have enough reputation points to place a comment (I suppose that's the reason) on a specific answer to request a reference. A ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is space infinitely divisible?

As a child I remember hearing the popular paradox presented by Zeno proposing that Achilles could never catch a tortoise in a race since he would have to traverse the infinite space between himself ...
8
votes
1answer
182 views

Different age of universe

According to general relativity time runs slowly near a massive body. So, I have a question bothering me from some time, that if time for every body/object in universe runs at a different rate, then ...
8
votes
2answers
389 views

Time crystals : fake or revolution?

This article about "crystals of time" just appeared on the PRL website. Viewpoint: Crystals of Time (http://physics.aps.org/articles/v5/116) The authors (including famous Frank Wilczek) claim that ...
7
votes
6answers
14k views

How many colors exist?

How many "colors" do exist? Our perception: As far as I know, colors are just different frequencies of light. According to wikipedia, we can see wavelengths from about 380 nm und 740 nm. This means ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is considered now over astronomical distances?

For the sake of discussion, let's say that Mars is exactly 5 light-minutes away and that Earth and Mars are moving with the exact same velocity so that special relativistic effects are irrelevant. ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

Why does time stop in black holes?

Everyone says that time stops in the black hole. It's a "fact". However, I have never heard everyone explaining that. Of course, I know that observer in weaker gravitational field sees that something ...
7
votes
3answers
972 views

Connection between $\Delta x \Delta p \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}$ and $\Delta E \Delta t \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}$

Is there a way to derive second equation from the first one? I mean is there a connection between those two uncertainty relations? \begin{align} \Delta x \Delta p &\geq \frac{\hbar}{2}\\ \Delta ...
7
votes
4answers
977 views

Special Relativistic Time Dilation — A computer in a very fast centrifuge

Ok, I've stumbled onto what I think is a bit of a paradox. First off, say you had some computer in a very fast(near light speed) centrifuge. You provide power to this computer via a metal plate on ...
7
votes
2answers
222 views

How to create unusual sundial?

I am considering small "artsy" project. I would like to create sundial by placing gnomon on the window and painting hour lines on the window facing wall. Since this is to be placed in bedroom I am ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

How might clock synchronization work with RSA SecurID tokens?

My workplace uses these things to generate one-time passwords which only work within a short time period. I have always been curious about how the clock synchronisation between the authentication ...
7
votes
3answers
759 views

Why do clocks measure arc-length?

Apologies in advance for the long question. My understanding is that in GR, massive observers move along timelike curves $x^\mu(\lambda)$, and if an observer moves from point $x^\mu(\lambda_a)$ to ...
7
votes
2answers
576 views

Entanglement and simultaneity

According to the special theory of relativity, distant simultaneity depends on the observer's reference frame. And, according to the quantum theory, in the case of two entangled particles, a measure ...
7
votes
4answers
462 views

Why a day is divided by 12/24 hours? Why the number 12?

Why a day is divided by 12/24 hours? Why the number 12? Why not using 10 or 6 or 14, 16? Who invented this? Any physical reasons behind this?
7
votes
3answers
207 views

Physics without time

The structure of physical law as we generally recognize it today is firmly held together by the existence of time. Although physical laws can both predict and retrodict (reversible time does not break ...
7
votes
2answers
613 views

How can photons interact with anything?

I read photons do not age because they move at the speed of light. So when a photon interacts with my eyes, aren't they apart in space-time by the difference of the time in the frame of reference of ...
7
votes
2answers
385 views

Time dilation only on electromagnetic force?

We've seen by experiment that the speed of light c appears to be constant for each observer (leading to all well-known consequences of relativity). I'm wondering if this appearance of constancy of c ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

Convert acceleration as a function of position to acceleration as a function of time?

Suppose I have acceleration defined as a function of position, $a(x)$. How to convert it into a function of time $a(t)$? Please give an example for the case $a(x)= \frac{x}{s^2}$.
7
votes
3answers
309 views

Do velocity and acceleration time dilation factors add?

For a spinning space station such as in 2001, A Space Odyssey, what would be the time slowing in the perimeter of the spinning space station with respect to the center axis of the station? The ...
7
votes
1answer
410 views

Does the collapse of the wave function increase entropy of the atomic system itself?

Does wave-function collapse cause the entropy of the atom (ie. the sub-atomic particle system that makes up the atom) to increase?