I'll start out with the cliche attempt in a protective shield of my dignity. I am a young highschool kid just eager to learn and understand. If I'm way off or this is already a known idea, or maybe this post is in the wrong area, I would appreciate a nonchalant and informative correction.

When I imagine space-time as a 3D fabric, I see actual threads of fabric, each weave is a certain length that can stretch or shrink. I'd also like to point out that I see space and distance as different things. As in a meter can still be a meter if no space-time fabric exists. So my question is; is time the rate at which one moves through the threads?

I have many reasons for why I thought this, I'll name a few:

  1. The universe (including space-time) is expanding, so if it is stretching and moving then that could be what causes time to flow forward.
  2. When going the speed of light, time stops apparently, with my idea, I figured the speed of light could be = to the speed of the expanding space-time. Therefore if you move at the speed of light and are moving in-sync with space, then the rate at which you move through space is 0, meaning time is 0.
  3. The speed of light could be constant relative to us inside the universe as $x = k/y$ where x = the speed of the expansion of space and y = time.
  4. When approaching a black-hole, time slows down. This could be because it stretches space(the threads stretch out) making the same distance cover less threads, making a slower time.

perhaps: $time = \frac{threads}{distance}$


$(speed of expansion of space) = \frac{(speed of light)(distance)}{(threads)}$

Ultimately my idea (not all here) has come to the conclusion that we live in a black hole.

I really just don't have anyone to discuss my physics questions with, so I would like to know what you all think, why this doesn't work, or really just any input. Thanks

  • $\begingroup$ Related: physics.stackexchange.com/q/15371/2451 and links therein. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Oct 18 '12 at 5:10
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    $\begingroup$ Hi Jay, you say you are a highschool student. Do read the reference question that Qmechanic has given above and links therein. First of all spacetime is four dimensional, not three dimensional. So you are just imagining space. Imagination is very important in physics but it has to be coupled with mathematical tools. These tools need a lot of hard work to master. Once that is done one can study the behavior of spacetime truly. You are constructing a model, but it is a science fiction model. I doubt that anybody will take the time to find the divergence from the accepted mathematical one. $\endgroup$ – anna v Oct 18 '12 at 6:05
  • $\begingroup$ I qualify the "accepted". The accepted mathematical model of physics is based on solid irrefutable data, it is not a theory that mathematicians thought up. A large number of experiments are at its foundations. Any theory is falsified if it is found that it disagrees with experiment, and experiments and observations are still going on. That is what "accepted" means, that no experiment or observation has falsified the mathematical model presently in use. $\endgroup$ – anna v Oct 18 '12 at 6:20

I am happy to know that you are interested in space and the nature of time, Your questions Indicate that you dont have a very clear understanding of what is already understood about the Subject, but show an interested student and potentially a good one. People talk about the expansion of the universe and black holes and all these things, But to talk about them correctly you need to learn how to talk about them. I would Highly recommend Einstein's Paper,"On the electrodynamics of moving bodies".(available online) Please look into it, if you have questions post them on this forum.

Saying that "Is time the rate at which one moves through space" is not correct. One definition that can serves our purposes is that time is what is measured by clocks. To understand the behaviour of moving clocks in relation to stationary clocks, you have to understand this concept called the proper time. The concept of proper time is a generalization of the Distance between 2 points you learn in high school. Implication of the theory of relativity is that Clocks measure proper time.

Definition of proper time is

$$tp = (c^2 dt^2-dx^2)^{1/2}$$

Where dt is the time elapsed and dx is the distance moved.(it must be summed by dividing path into small segments but it doesn't matter if you move with constant velocity). Now we know for something moving at the speed of light


Implies that

$$tp = (c^2t^2 - c^2 t^2)^{1/2} = 0$$

Which is why clocks moving at the speed of light dont show the movement of time. Another way to understand this, is a clock moving at the speed of light shows the same time when you see it.

  • $\begingroup$ As @Drux cannot yet post comments and for some reason his commenting answer has been deleted, I am transferring it here:" John Archibald Wheeler said: "Time is defined so that motion looks simple. "en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Archibald_Wheeler . I also had given a +1, so Drux lost two votes. $\endgroup$ – anna v Oct 18 '12 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ @annav for the record, the answer was deleted because it didn't answer the question, and it didn't make a particularly useful comment. $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 21 '12 at 19:10

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