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I came up with what might be considered a strange conclusion when thinking about time dilation, and more specifically the Hafele and Keating experiment from 1971. It was shown that time either went faster or slower depending on which direction the plane was traveling in. Since time was measured using an atomic clock where a second is measured from the impact of a particle between two plates, time went slower when the plates moved away from each other thus creating a larger distance for the particle to travel. (Vice versa when the plane was traveling in the opposite direction).

Time dialation can also occur due to gravity, i.e. when in a stronger gravity field, time passes more slowly. But isn't this the same as the Hafele and Keating experiment? Imagine placing an atomic clock in a larger gravitational field compared to Earth. Time would pass more slowly because of the gravitational impact on the particle pulling it in one direction, causing the distance traversed to increase and thus making a second pass more slowly.

My conclusion is then that time does not exist and time dilation is represented as the change in position between two inertial frames (as explained by classical mechanics). Because there is no change in time itself, it is the distance that changes. Time is more like a measure of change itself, a derivative property not a physical. Does this makes sense or have I missed something?

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  • $\begingroup$ But wouldn't the effect you are discussing be affected by the orientation of the clock as well? I suspect that if you put the actual numbers into the effect you are describing you will find they support standard theory. $\endgroup$ – Peter May 13 at 12:03
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Since time was measured using an atomic clock where a second is measured from the impact of a particle between two plates

This is not a correct description of how an atomic clock works. In an atomic clock there are atoms which undergo a specific atomic transition and in that transition they emit or absorb radiation of a specific frequency. The frequency of that radiation defines the second.

In particular there are no relevant particle impacts nor is it necessary for the atoms to move from one location to another within the clock.

when in a stronger gravity field, time passes more slow.

This is also incorrect. Gravitational time dilation depends on the gravitational potential, not the gravitational field strength.

In the HK experiment you reference the gravitational acceleration is essentially the same on an aircraft in flight or on the ground. What differs is the gravitational potential. The duration of some impact, even if it were relevant, depends on the acceleration and not the potential. So it cannot explain the observed behavior.

My conclusion is then that time does not exist and time dialation is represented as the change in position between two inertial frames (as explained by classical mechanics)

Unfortunately, your conclusion is founded on faulty premises. Atomic clocks do not behave as you have assumed and gravitational time dilation does not work the way you describe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great! Thanks, this is what I wanted to understand. Regarding the atomic clocks, doesn't it have to include some kind of measuring device to register the emission of radiation? Since radiation is the emission of particles, defined by the type of radiation, the only way to know that the radiation is occuring, is if the mass of emissing isotope is measured or the radiation particle itself. Either by passing an electromagnetic field or (as I thought) by hitting a plate. But even if it doesn't hit a plate, it still moves through a field. $\endgroup$ – loStraniero May 13 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ Risk of being stubborn, I still think time is heavily dependent on the motion of a particle through space, leaving time to be just a rate of change. I might just be going in circles proving 1=1 or completly wrong. $\endgroup$ – loStraniero May 13 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @IoStraniero yes, there is radiation emitted or absorbed from the atoms in an atomic clock. But it is EM radiation so its speed is the same regardless of the motion of the clock. Furthermore, the time between emission and reception is not important in an actual atomic clock, all that matters is the frequency of the radiation, particularly for atomic clocks that operate by absorption rather than emission. $\endgroup$ – Dale May 13 at 18:35

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