The Nature of Time - A 21st Century View
21st Century View – Abstract
• In 1905 it was generally believed that the universe had always existed. The exact age of Earth was not known. Life on Earth did not start until many years after Earth came into existence.
• During the 20th century our understanding of the universe was greatly expanded. The assumptions used in this article follow.
o Two mathematical equations, and three experiments are used to develop the ideas presented in this article.
o The Universe came into existence about 13.8 billion years ago, Earth came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago, observers probably appeared less than a billion years ago, so time existed without observers for about 3.5 billion years.
o This article consists of the application of logic to the above assumptions.
• Physical time vs observed time.
o The time that existed before observers appeared is termed ‘physical time’. After observers appeared, physical time continued to exist and ‘observed time’ came into being.
• The characteristics of physical time are:
o Absolute time
o Physical events
o Physical ‘now’
o Physical frame of reference
• Physical time dilation
o Objects that move through space experience time dilation; but they do not observe it.
o The Lorentz Transformation describes the computation of time dilation but does not describe physically how it occurs.
o The Time Distance Diagram illustrates physically what occurs when a particle experiences time.
o The diagram is based on the proposed concept that when a particle experiences time it either moves a tick through time or a Planck time through space; it cannot do both.
o Which it does is based on its speed expressed as the probability v/c derived from the Lorentz transformation.
• Absolute time
o Photons — and the resulting time — came into existence with the big bang. Photons have been moving through space continuously since the big bang — one Planck length, one Planck time (or tick) at a time.
o The movement of photons thru spacetime constitutes absolute time.
• Physical Events
o Without events, nothing happens.
o Every event has a frame of reference.
• Physical ‘Now’
o ‘Now’ can occur in both physical time and observed time.
o A physical event always results in a physical ‘now’.
• Physical Frame of Reference
o Every event must have a frame of reference.
o The frame of reference for a physical event has components that cannot be observed, so the frame of reference must be universal.
• The characteristics of observed time are:
o Observed events.
o Observed ‘now’.
o Observed frame of reference.
• Observed Event
o To an observer, his/her observation of an event is unique and is not necessarily the same as the actual event itself or the observation of another observer.
• Observed Now
o If an event is observed, each observer has his/her own observed ‘now’ which occurs in observer’s frame of reference.
o The ‘now’ experienced by observers is not the same ‘now’ as physical ‘now’ or the ‘now’ experienced by another observer.
• Observed Frame of Reference
o Each observer has her/his own frame of reference and his/her own personal clock.
• Time Dilation
o The current definition of time dilation is no longer relevant. Time dilation must have existed in the period before observers appeared on earth, so time dilation must be an aspect of physical time, not of observed time.
• Lorentz Transformation
o The Lorentz transformation factor ‘γ’ is computed by dividing ‘v2’ which is a vector by ‘c2’ which is scalar. Both terms should be scalar.
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