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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44
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9answers
4k views

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 ...
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? ...
18
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3answers
2k views

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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7answers
1k 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 ...
16
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3answers
1k views

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? ...
15
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9answers
3k views

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
1k views

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 ...
14
votes
4answers
2k 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)?
14
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2answers
895 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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2answers
696 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
votes
1answer
189 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
votes
6answers
14k 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
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
13answers
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
votes
9answers
529 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
2k 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
votes
4answers
813 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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2answers
440 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
864 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
282 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
934 views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
957 views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
87 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
1k views

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
votes
3answers
831 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
352 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
620 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
378 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
722 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
199 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
1answer
568 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
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
699 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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.
7
votes
3answers
4k 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! ...
7
votes
2answers
162 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
4answers
3k 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?
7
votes
7answers
732 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
510 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empircially 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
334 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
2answers
236 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
214 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
5answers
475 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 ...
6
votes
8answers
2k 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
291 views

If the entire universe is the same age, can one assume that any potential life elsewhere is at the same stage of development as us?

There was some discussion in another question regarding whether you can consider all parts of the universe to have existed for the same length of time, and the conclusion seemed to be that, because of ...