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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Is time continuous?

While working on physics simulation software, I noticed that I had implemented discrete time (the only type possible on computers). By that I mean that I had an update mechanism that advanced the ...
34
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7answers
6k views

If we suddenly lost track of time, how would we know what time is now? [duplicate]

If we hypothetically lost all watches and all devices that keep track of time, how would we say what is the current time? Or we actually don't and time is just a convention?
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9answers
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Is anti-matter matter going backwards in time?

Or: can it be proved that anti-matter definitely is nót matter going backwards in time? From wikipedia: There is considerable speculation as to why the observable universe is apparently almost ...
21
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2answers
1k views

The age of the universe

Many times I have read statements like, "the age of the universe is 14 billion years" . For example this wikipedia page Big Bang. Now, my question is, which observers' are these time intervals? ...
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3answers
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What is the difference between implicit and explicit time dependence e.g. $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}$ and $\frac{d \rho} {dt}$?

What is the difference between implicit and explicit time dependence e.g. $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}$ and $\frac{d \rho} {dt}$? I know one is a partial derivative and the other is a total ...
18
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3answers
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Would computers accelerated to high speeds compute “faster” from our point of view?

I woke up to this thought yesterday: Lets say Computers A and B have exactly the same specifications and at time T both are set to process an algorith that would normally take exactly 1 year and ...
18
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7answers
2k views

What grounds the difference between space and time?

We experience space and time very differently. From the point of view of physics, what fundamentally grounds this difference? Dimensionality (the fact that there are three spatial dimensions but only ...
17
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5answers
3k views

How is the classical twin paradox resolved?

I read a lot about the classical twin paradox recently. What confuses me is that some authors claim that it can be resolved within SRT, others say that you need GRT. Now, what is true (and why)?
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3answers
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What is the length of 1 second in meters

If time is treated as a fourth dimension of spacetime, what is relation between length and time units? Or in other words, how can I convert time units to length units, for instance seconds to meters? ...
16
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2answers
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Inflation and the Meaning of Time

I'm not quite sure how to ask this so that it can be answered in layman's terms, but I have lately seen, in several places, that with cosmological inflation, there was a point where the universe ...
15
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9answers
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Is the flow of time regular?

Is the flow of time regular? How would we come to know if the our galaxy along with everything in it stops for a while(may be a century) w.r.t to the galaxies far beyond our reach. Is there a way to ...
15
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2answers
756 views

Symmetrical twin paradox

Take the following gedankenexperiment in which two astronauts meet each other again and again in a perfectly symmetrical setting - a hyperspherical (3-manifold) universe in which the 3 dimensions are ...
14
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2answers
1k views

Has everything we see happened in the past?

Whatever we see is basically based on the light that hits our eyes, right? When we look at the Moon we are looking at the Moon as it was couple of seconds ago, as the light takes some seconds (~2 ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Time as a Hermitian operator in QM?

In non-relativistic QM, on one hand we have the following relations: $$\langle x | P | \psi \rangle ~=~ -i \hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \psi(x),$$ $$\langle p | X | \psi \rangle ~=~ i \hbar ...
14
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1answer
200 views

Is period of rotation relative?

My question is inspired by the following answer by voix to another problem: "There is a real object with relativistic speed of surface - millisecond pulsar. The swiftest spinning pulsar currently ...
13
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6answers
16k views

How exactly does time slow down near a black hole?

How exactly does time slow down near a black hole? I have heard this as a possible way of time traveling, and I do understand that it is due in some way to the massive gravity around a black hole, but ...
13
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7answers
3k views

Is time travel possible? Is it possible to go back in time?

I read somewhere that according to relativity, black holes and other space related stuff it is possible to jump into past. Is it possible for anything to go back in time either continuously or by ...
13
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9answers
550 views

How to explain (pedagogically) why there is 4 spacetime dimensions while we see only the 3 spatial dimesions?

I have been asked this question by a student, but I was able and in the same time incapable to give a good answer for this without equations, so do you have ideas how one can explain this in a simple ...
13
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1answer
184 views

If time isn't continuous, what is the best-known upper bound on the length of time intervals?

There have been several questions about whether time is continuous or not and it seems like the answer isn't currently known. I know quantum mechanics treats time as continuous and any mathematics ...
13
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3answers
229 views

What makes now special?

I recently came across the paper Relation between the psychological and thermodynamic arrows of time (arXiv). Their argument makes sense to me, however their concept doesn't seem to address what ...
12
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14answers
2k views

What are the mechanics by which Time Dilation and Length Contraction occur?

What are the mechanics of time dilation and length contraction? Going beyond the mathematical equations involving light and the "speed limit of the universe", what is observed is merely a phenomenon ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Is the future already determined?

I've always wondered (and was re-inspired to explore further from these two videos) that if at a single point of time we know about the complete state (position, momentum, spins, everything.) of every ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Does the future already exist? If so, which one?

In the NOVA Fabric of the Cosmos program, Brian Greene explains a theory in which there is no "now", or more specifically, now is relative. He describes an alien riding a bicycle on a far off planet ...
12
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4answers
7k views

The meaning of imaginary time

What is imaginary (or complex) time? I was reading about Hawking's wave function of the universe and this topic came up. If imaginary mass and similar imaginary quantities do not make sense in ...
12
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4answers
889 views

Energy is actually the momentum in the direction of time?

By comparatively examining the operators a student concludes that `Energy is actually the momentum in the direction of time.' Is this student right? Could he be wrong?
12
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4answers
978 views

Can black holes form in a finite amount of time?

One thing I know about black holes is that an object gets closer to the event horizon, gravitation time dilation make it move more slower from an outside perspective, so that it looks like it take an ...
12
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2answers
446 views

What accounts for the discrepancies in my calculations of year lengths?

A common exercise in many introductory astronomy texts is to use the lengths of various kinds days to calculate the approximate length of the corresponding year. For example, ratio $k$ of the length ...
12
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1answer
299 views

How can two time theories be compactified to 3+1 without any Kaluza-Klein remnants

I have recently been looking into the two-time theories and the implied concepts. For me this seems slightly hard to grasp. How can I see the basic concept in this theory in a fundamental way based ...
11
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5answers
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What is $\Delta t$ in the time-energy uncertainty principle?

In non-relativistic QM, the $\Delta E$ in the time-energy uncertainty principle is the limiting standard deviation of the set of energy measurements of $n$ identically prepared systems as $n$ goes to ...
11
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1answer
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What could explain the measurements that the Methuselah star is older than the universe?

So there has been talk in the news of a star named Methuselah that is "older than the universe". Moreover, this star happens to belong to our very own Milky Way. The article mentions that Methuselah ...
11
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4answers
3k views

Did time exist before the creation of matter in the universe?

Does time stretch all the way back for infinity or was there a point when time appears to start in the universe? I remember reading long ago somewhere that according to one theory time began shortly ...
10
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2answers
412 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 ...
10
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5answers
476 views

Clocks in special relativity

One book on special relativity says: Any observer at rest relative to his own timepiece will see that other clocks moving with respect to him run fast - the greater their speed, the faster they ...
9
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3answers
423 views

If time standard clocks and any memories about the time standard are destroyed, can we recover the time standard again?

Assume the time standard clocks and any memories about the time standard are destroyed. Can we recover the time standard again exactly? Recovering the time standard again means we can determine the ...
9
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3answers
98 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
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4answers
754 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the speed of time

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? Is time really has speed? Thanks in advance.
9
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4answers
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Is a 1D vector also a scalar?

A vector in one dimension has only one component. Can we consider it as a scalar at the same time? Why time is not a vector, although it can be negative and positive (when solving for time the ...
9
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3answers
883 views

Can black holes actually merge?

If time stops at the event horizon, can we ever detect two black holes merging? In other words, if you are a short distance away, would you encounter a spherically symmetric gravitational field, or a ...
9
votes
2answers
689 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
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1answer
636 views

Intuition for multiple temporal dimensions

It’s easy, relatively speaking, to develop an intuition for higher spatial dimensions, usually by induction on familiar lower-dimensional spaces. But I’m having difficulty envisioning a universe with ...
8
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5answers
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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 ...
8
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1answer
212 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
545 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
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2answers
111 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 ...
8
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4answers
271 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
135 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
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6answers
511 views

More than one time dimension

We know that space-time dimensions are 3+1 macroscopically, but what if 2+2? Obviously it is tough to imagine two time dimensions, but mathematically we can always imagine as either having two ...
7
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4answers
852 views

Time dilation all messed up!

Okay! There is a problem with my logic and i cannot seem to point out where. There's a rocket ship travelling at close-to-c speed v without any acceleration (hypothetically), and there is an observer ...
7
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2answers
815 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 ...