Questions tagged [time]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
77
votes
7answers
8k views

What is time, does it flow, and if so what defines its direction?

This is an attempt to gather together the various questions about time that have been asked on this site and provide a single set of hopefully authoritative answers. Specifically we attempt to address ...
86
votes
8answers
27k 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 ...
86
votes
14answers
10k views

What is the proper way to explain the twin paradox?

The paradox in the twin paradox is that the situation appears symmetrical so each twin should think the other has aged less, which is of course impossible. There are a thousand explanations out there ...
61
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
121
votes
14answers
32k views

Is time continuous or discrete?

I was coding a physics simulation, and noticed that I was using discrete time. That is, there was an update mechanism advancing the simulation for a fixed amount of time repeatedly, emulating a ...
23
votes
6answers
6k views

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

I read somewhere that according to relativity, it is possible - involving black holes and other stuff - to jump into the past. Is it possible for anything to go back in time either continuously or by ...
92
votes
10answers
66k views

Is anti-matter matter going backwards in time?

Some sources describe antimatter as just like normal matter, but "going backwards in time". What does that really mean? Is that a good analogy in general, and can it be made mathematically precise? ...
14
votes
5answers
14k views

Why are objects at rest in motion through spacetime at the speed of light?

I read that an object at rest has such a stupendous amount of energy, $E=mc^2$ because it's effectively in motion through space-time at the speed of light and it's traveling through the time dimension ...
18
votes
5answers
28k views

The Time That 2 Masses Will Collide Due To Newtonian Gravity [closed]

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 ...
27
votes
3answers
7k views

Time as a Hermitian operator in quantum mechanics

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 \...
11
votes
13answers
5k views

understanding time: Is time simply the rate change?

Is time simply the rate of change? If this is the case and time was created during the big bang would it be the case that the closer you get to the start of the big bang the "slower" things change ...
43
votes
3answers
17k views

What is the difference between implicit, explicit, and total time dependence, i.e. $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}$ and $\frac{d \rho} {dt}$?

What is the difference between implicit, explicit, and total time dependence, i.e. $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}$ and $\frac{d \rho} {dt}$? I know one is a partial derivative and the other is a ...
28
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
18
votes
9answers
18k views

Is there a proof of existence of time?

It seems to me that there is no such thing as time. There is only movement in the universe and we compare our own movement to a different object to have a sense of time. It can be a clock or a atomic ...
28
votes
3answers
3k views

Symmetrical twin paradox in a closed universe

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 ...
18
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Time dilation all messed up!

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 AA ...
17
votes
6answers
15k views

Did time exist before the Big Bang and the creation of the universe? [duplicate]

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
votes
3answers
7k views

Does time expand with space? (or contract)

Einstein's big revelation was that time and space are inseparable components of the same fabric. Physical observation tells us that distant galaxies are moving away from us at an accelerated rate, and ...
14
votes
7answers
17k views

How can something happen when time does not exist?

I saw this documentary hosted by Stephen Hawkins. And if I didn't get it wrong, it says that there was no time before the big bang, time was created there. So how can anything happen when there is ...
22
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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 $x^...
18
votes
4answers
8k views

Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Quantum Field Theory

While deriving Hamiltonian from Lagrangian density, we use the formula $$\mathcal{H} ~=~ \pi \dot{\phi} - \mathcal{L}.$$ But since we are considering space and time as parameters, why the formula $$\...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

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? Specifically,...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there an observable of time? [duplicate]

In Quantum Mechanics, position is an observable, but time may be not. I think that time is simply a classical parameter associated with the act of measurement, but is there an observable of time? And ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a time operator in quantum mechanics?

The question in the title has been asked many times on this site before, of course. Here's what I found: Time as a Hermitian operator in QM? in 2011. Answer states time is a parameter. Is there an ...
26
votes
6answers
7k views

Do the laws of physics evolve?

Hubble's constant $a(t)$ appears to be changing over time. The fine stucture constant $\alpha$, like many others in QFT, is a running constant that varies, proportional to energy being used to measure ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empirically 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
2k 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? ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

The real meaning of time dilation

Is this true or false: If A and B have clocks and are traveling at relative velocity to each other, then to B it APPEARS that A's clock moving slower, but A sees his own clock moving at normal speed. ...
33
votes
4answers
17k 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 physics,...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

on causality and The Big Bang Theory

With the notion of causality, firmly fixed by GR, we derived the concept of a singular point from where space-time begun. Causality alone gives us the possibility to talk about a known past (i.e. ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Universe Expansion as an absolute time reference

Why we call "constant" to the Hubble constant?, if the universe were really expanding then the Hubble "constant" should change, being variable, smaller and smaller..with "time". Other example/view ...
9
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
979 views

Before the Big Bang

I've heard this saying before I don't know about anyone else. It says, "What ever was before the Big Bang is something physics can't explain..! Is this saying true (accurate)?
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Speed of light in general relativity [duplicate]

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 ...
15
votes
9answers
8k views

Did relativity make Newtonian mechanics obsolete?

Did Einstein completely prove Newton wrong? If so, why we apply Newtonian mechanics even today? Because Newton said that time is absolute and Einstein suggested it relative? So, if fundamentals are ...
32
votes
7answers
235k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
941 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is quantum tunneling related to imaginary time?

I was studying for my exam and looking at the chapter which talks about Potential-energy graphs. Let's take this as an example: My book states that: "If the object is in $B$ and has a total energy ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there an actual proof for the energy-time Uncertainty Principle?

As I understand, the energy-time uncertainty principle can't be derived from the generalized uncertainty relation. This is because time is a dynamical variable and not an observable in the same sense ...
22
votes
9answers
12k views

Intuition - why does the period not depend on the amplitude in a pendulum?

I'm looking for an intuition on the relationship between time period and amplitude (for a small pertubation) of pendulums. Why does the period not depend on the amplitude? I know the math of the ...
12
votes
3answers
24k views

How is a second measured? And why is it measured that way?

The earth's rotation around the sun isn't exactly 24 hours. It off by some seconds which becomes somewhere around 6 hours per year and 1 day in 4 years(leap year), which brings the question why didn't ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
27k views

What is the speed of time? [closed]

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? Does time actually have a speed?
4
votes
3answers
412 views

In a very small static universe with only a particle, does it make sense to talk about time?

I am sorry if this question is silly; it′s just one of those things I wished I asked before leaving university. If there were a static universe only as big as the size of two particles, say electrons,...
4
votes
1answer
10k views

Does time freeze at Absolute Zero? [closed]

Time has many definitions per se, but the basic idea being it's "the measurement of change" so as we know, all matter looses it's ability of changing with the loss of kinetic energy. and the where it ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

How has the age of the Universe been derived from the observations made by the Planck mission?

The parameters of $\rm\Lambda CDM$ model have been determined to an amazing high precision from the measurements made by the Planck mission. In particular, the Hubble "constant" (the value of Hubble ...