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

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Why is time special?

In Special Relativity, the spacetime interval between two events is $s^2 = -(c{\Delta}t)^2+({\Delta}x)^2+({\Delta}y)^2+({\Delta}z)^2$ giving the Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}=\text{diag}(-1, 1, 1, ...
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Speed of light in general relativity

My question has a few parts concerning the speed of light in general relativity. Firstly, time changes in response to gravity and speed. Therefore, as gravity effects time in an area of space, should ...
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156 views

Is there any scientific evidence that demonstrates why time passes?

Is there any scientific evidence that demonstrates why time passes? Or is it just an opened question?
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How can we know, today, that there's something from 100 light-years from here?

In my understanding, to take a picture of something that is 100 light-years from here, our "camera" would have to travel 100 years at light speed, take the picture, send to us, and 100 years later we ...
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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 $a(x)= \frac{x}{s^2}$.
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Is isotropy a fundamental/invariant feature of our universe, or is it merely a convenient, albeit arbitrary, feature of some reference frames?

This is related to a previous post. Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empircially privileged reference frame? What I am trying to ...
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281 views

Imaginary time in QFT

I'm reading chapter 4 of Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Peskin & Schroeder. In the $\phi^4$ theory, the authors state that the ground state of the interaction theory $|\Omega\rangle$ can ...
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983 views

The analogy between temperature and imaginary time

There are many statements about the relation between time and temperature in statistical physics and quantum field theory, the basic idea is to interpret (inverse) temperature in statistics as "time" ...
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871 views

Is time fundamentally different from space?

Note: This is a rewrite of the original question, which was titled What would time be for 2D beings? In my current, non-physicist's understanding, every instant of our three‑dimensional world ...
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Regarding time dilation and particle entanglement

I have a question regarding time dilation and particle entanglement. As I have read a few forums and questions here, I am aware both aspects do not contradict each other. Still, a question that I am ...
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180 views

Does length contraction affect travel time?

If an astronaut leaves planet $A$ for planet $B$ at speed $v$, will the time (measured by the astronaut's clock) that it takes for the astronaut to reach planet $B$ be less than the distance between ...
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146 views

Understanding how the rate of time changes

The rate at which time passes is relative depending on speed and the gravity as predicted in general relativity. This theory has been tested by scientists by comparing two identical atomic clocks, one ...
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618 views

Big bang and time

I heard Carl Sagan talking about the Universe 15 Billion years ago, and the Big Bang. He made the statement that it was the biggest explosion of all time (at first I thought this a subtle pun). This ...
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217 views

Energy time complementarity from unitary evolution

I am looking for a well posed experimental situation that illustrates energy time complementarity. I know of Einsteins box, which is discussed quite nicely in Bohr's article Discussions with Einstein ...
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165 views

How is the direction of time determined in general relativity?

In special relativity every frame has its own unique time axis, represented in Minkowski diagrams by a fan-out of time vectors that grows infinitely dense as you approach the surface of the light cone ...
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204 views

In the calculation of sunrise, where do the magic numbers come from?

In this question about how to calculate sunrise, there is a link to a page that describes a algorithm to calculate sunrise sunset. But when I start to follow the instructions I find that there is a ...
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651 views

The nature of time, according to quantum field theory

I will try my best to ask the question that best fits something I have been pondering on for a few days. Are virtual particles really constantly popping in and out of existence? Or are they ...
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SciFi Stasis Field and the Quantum Zeno Effect

The Quantum Zeno Effect concerns the use of repeated measurement of a particle to prevent the time evolution of the wave function, and hence "freeze" it in the observed state. A Stasis Field is a ...
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Definition of a year

Is there an acceptable definition of a year (in number of days)? Google Calculator: https://www.google.com/search?q=seconds+in+1+year returns 3.15569e7 seconds and then ...
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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 ...
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How can there be really any instantaneous velocity?

I have read about Zeno's arrow paradox that tells us there is no motion of the arrow at a particular instant of its flight. It can be inferred that there can be no velocity at any instant. Moreover we ...
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397 views

What is the duration of a snap?

What is the duration of a snap (of the fingers)? When someone says, "it's ridiculously fast, it's like [snap]" - where [snap] is them snapping their fingers - they would normally mean it is ...
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Why isn't the symmetric twin paradox a paradox?

Two twin sisters synchronize their watches and simultaneously (from the earth frame) depart earth in different directions. Following a predetermined flight plan, each sister accelerates identically to ...
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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 ...
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577 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 ...
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Is 'now' smeared over time?

Conventional physics as is usually presented in textbooks deals with the evolution of states in phase space parameterized by sharp instances in time, a real parameter. However, quantum fluctuations ...
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657 views

Looking out into the universe means looking back in time - how does that work?

This is a question that has been gnawing on me for many years now. Back a long time ago, as I recall in reference to a scene in a popular science show on TV, I was asked the following. The claim is ...
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Is there a mechanism for time symmetry breaking?

Excluding Thermodynamic's arrow of time, all mathematical descriptions of time are symmetric. We know the arrow of time is real and we know the equations describing physics are real so is there any ...
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time difference with airplane travel direction

a fight from east to west, (e.g. Australia melbourne to perth) takes longer than travel backwards. (west to east). What's the reason?
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Time evolution in QFT

Standard quantum mechanics postulates that, for an isolated system, time evolution is ruled by unitary operators, then one can prove Schrodinger equation (SE), which is not Lorentz invariant. If we ...
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Time dilation as an observer in special relativity

I've been having a discussion regarding time dilation relating to special relativity and how it should be observed from the FoR (Frame of Reference) of "the person moving" : I assert- If we have a ...
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Confusion about Length Contraction (ex in Muon decay)

I am a bit confused about the implications of length contractions; For example, in the muon decay problem, we assume that the distance between the muon and the earth is contracted only in the frame ...
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287 views

Twin paradox - observers counter orbiting Earth

Imagine three observers - one (A) stationary on the surface of Earth (latitude 0 deg) and two others orbiting the planet in the same circular equatorial orbit just in the opposite direction. When the ...
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Black hole formation as seen by a distant observer [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can anything ever fall into a black hole as seen from an outside observer? Is black hole formation observable for a distant observer in finite amount of time? ...
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How would we perceive time going backwards? [closed]

I haven't taken Physics in University. Lately, I've been reading about some of the branches of physics through Wikipedia. I read several times that many of the theoretical models do not explain why ...
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Could there be more universes?

In the documentary: "Curiosity - Did God Create the Universe (on YouTube)", theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking states that time did not exist before the big bang. The first ...
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There are plans to develop a better definition of a “second”. How does the current definition fall short?

The current definition of a second is stated here and I found a presentation on the BIPM site which discusses plans to change to a "better" definition of a second. You can find the presentation here. ...
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How long would it take to travel through a wormhole?

Assuming wormholes exist and you put some matter into one, how long would it take to reach the other end versus how far apart the two ends are? Basically, by how much does a wormhole stretch ...
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That 10km/day error predicted if GPS satellite clocks not corrected for relativity

Some authorities have stated publicly and without explanation that if the theories of Special and General Relativity were not taken into account in the design of the GPS (by building the satellite ...
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Time-Energy Uncertainty Principle and Operators

In most of examples, I notice that uncertainty principle for time & energy is given between mass & lifetime. The UP for time and energy is $$ \Delta t\,\Delta E\geq\frac h{4π} $$ where $$Δt ...
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What do you call the period after sunrise when the sky is bright?

At sunrise, the sky isn't actually up in the sky yet. Twilight occurs before sunrise, then at sunrise the leading part of the sun crosses the horizon. But, the sky isn't bright yet. It takes some time ...
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If transported back to the 18th century could you solve the Longitude Problem without an accurate clock?

Seeing an interesting BBC article today at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23514521 about the Longitude Problem, I wondered if it could have been solved, in a way practical at the time ...
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Does the expansion of the universe soon after the Big Bang affect the amount of time that light takes to reach us?

If faster than light travel is impossible, how is it that light emitted from matter so close together in the time soon after the Big Bang is only now just reaching us? I would assume that there would ...
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How much time has passed for Voyager I since it left the Earth, 34 years ago?

34 years have passed since Voyager I took off and it's just crossing the solar system, being approximately at 16.4 light-hours away. How much time have passed for itself, though?
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The Effects of Moving Matter Across Light-Year distances

If I were to stand at one end of a light-year long metal pole, and another person were to stand one light-year away at the other end, and then I were to push on my end of the pole. How long would it ...
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Imaginary time is to inverse temperature what imaginary entropy is to …?

The Wick-Rotation rotates imaginary time into inverse temperature (as can be seen from its "rotating" the Schrödinger equation into the heat equation). Now since entropy is temperature's conjugate, I ...
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What does it mean to “convert energy into time”?

In a recent article about creating electron-positron pairs by colliding photons in a laboratory, Andrei Seryi, director of the John Adams Institute at Oxford University, was quoted to said: It's ...
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Is time quantized? Is there a fundamental time unit that cannot be divided? [duplicate]

Is the present just a sharp line between the past and the future with no time at all, or is the present a short frozen unit of time? Could time be quantized into a fundamental units? Like Planck ...
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Does it make a sense to speak about age of electron or atom?

It's possible that this question is too soft or even quite senseless for this forum, but I will ask nevertheless. Everyday (macroscopic) things, like a grandfather's pendulum clock or the grandfather ...
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Could a bipolar nebula be produced by a time gradient?

M2-9 is an example of a bipolar nebula that resembles two back-to-back rocket nozzles. Is it possible that this shape (somewhat unusual for an explosion) is the result of a time gradient? A rotating ...