# What is time? Does time even exist?

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I will quickly address my ideas on time. I think that time the measurement and actual time within the universe are two things that people confuse. Time the measurement is a man-made invention, it is very useful when predicting events and breaking down sequences of events. But time within the universe no more comes in seconds and minutes then it does miles and fluid ounces.

Time the measurement can be reversed and manipulated at will. With it we can take “snapshots” of the universe and attach it to individual units (milliseconds, seconds, minutes etc) and interpolate the data from one frame to another. This is an extremely useful tool when it comes to analysing everything around is. It helps define beginnings, middles and ends within a limited framework.

Because people mix up the idea of time the measurement and time within the universe we can create all sorts of wonderful fictions like Back to the Future, Continuum, Star Trek, and other famous time travelling TV shows. As a writer myself I understand the appeal of assuming time the measurement and time within the universe are the same thing.

But over the years I’ve considered what time is and I’ve come to a single conclusion.

Time doesn't exist in the way we are trained to think about it. Instead time boils down to two things.

Space and Matter.

In order to observe time, we must observe matter. In order to observe matter we must have a spatial framework. Therefore I conclude that what we perceive as “time” is simply “the motion of matter”. Therefore time, and matter are indeed one and the same. If all interactions between matter ceased and all expansion within the universe stopped then for all intents and purposes there would be no time. But as matter moves throughout the universe in its ever moving flow we get change, and it is this change, or interaction of matter that we perceive as time.

For what is time, if not change?

Within this model backwards time travel isn't possible under the current rules of the universe. In order to reverse time, you must reverse every direction and interaction of every piece of matter within the universe. Even a slight change in this will create an “imperfect recreation of previous states of matter” and as we all know, with any process there is always a margin of error. If we did manage to do this I highly suspect we’d have a “corrupted” form of the past. And I don’t mean silly things like, if we reversed time the Nazi’s would have won, or a president or two wouldn't get into power. I'm talking something far more catastrophic, such as every single cell in every single living creature becoming cancerous and damaged. Even rocks themselves becoming corrupted at the molecular level.

So if time is simply the motion of matter within a spatial frame work, then time itself is no more than an analytic too created by man, useful for prediction and data gathering but no more than that. Thus time doesn't exist, only motion does.

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So let me put it this way: you created a topic with an initial question. You elaborated some
ideas and came to a conclusion that basically answers your own question. Now, since you

On topic: time is a measure created by humans, only understood and exists for humans and
the only question that we should ask in regard to your topic is: when did this measure start?
Time as a "dimension" doesn't exist.

Edited by desmond
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Most of your observations of time work for length as well — it's manmade, can be manipulated, etc. Time still passes even if there is no motion, in fact, the rate of time passing is greatest when there is no motion. Further, when you are dealing with QM, the concept of motion becomes rather fuzzy, so any tie between time and motion tends to fall apart.

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Time is what's measured by clocks as far as physics is concerned. Questions like "is time real or a manmade concept" are untestable philosophical questions. There's no way to test which is correct.

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In the hopes you might find flaws, submit ideas, or you know. Engage in a discussion. Just because I put my idea's forward doesn't mean you have to agree with them, and it doesn't mean we can't discuss the differences between those points of view.

@elfmotat

Why can't it be tested. I would propose a simple test, if you turn off a clock does time stop? Of course not, the universe is completely unaffected by a clock.

A second experiment would be human awareness. When you are unconscious time may appear to stop for yourself, but if you leave an icecube next to your bed under a constant heat and calculate how long that ice cube will take to completely melt under normal observable conditions, then if you wake up and that icecube has melted we can come to the conclusion that time has passed for that ice cube, and your surrounding environment.

Now from both of these experiments I can conclude that if my awareness (and I assume this is done alone with no other awarenesses going on) doesn't affect the passage of time at all. As the word time, and the measurement of time are human inventions then the two are indeed separate things.

@Swansnot

Quote "Time still passes even if there is no motion"

I would refute that. I was say that if a piece of matter is without both internal and external motion then it is changeless and thus time does not pass for that piece of matter. But even if there is any internal motion at all, even down to the basic vibration and movement of the atoms within, then time is indeed passing as the internal motion of that object.

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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If time doesn't exist, what is that t we encounter in so many equations?

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Time still passes even if there is no motion

I would refute that. I was say that if a piece of matter is without both internal and external motion then it is changeless and thus time does not pass for that piece of matter. But even if there is any internal motion at all, even down to the basic vibration and movement of the atoms within, then time is indeed passing as the internal motion of that object.

Electromagnetic waves have a frequency (thus a relation to time), but can exist without any material support (thus, without physical motion). So, time "exits" independantly of any matter or movement.

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Why can't it be tested. I would propose a simple test, if you turn off a clock does time stop? Of course not, the universe is completely unaffected by a clock.

Clocks causing time to exist isn't a serious proposal by anyone, AFAIK.

@Swansnot

Quote "Time still passes even if there is no motion"

I would refute that. I was say that if a piece of matter is without both internal and external motion then it is changeless and thus time does not pass for that piece of matter. But even if there is any internal motion at all, even down to the basic vibration and movement of the atoms within, then time is indeed passing as the internal motion of that object.

How would you show this? The best atomic frequency standards work with as little motion as possible. Zero motion, of course, is impossible.

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@elfmotat

Why can't it be tested. I would propose a simple test, if you turn off a clock does time stop? Of course not, the universe is completely unaffected by a clock.

I said "time is what's measured by clocks," not "clocks cause time to exist." You're being silly.

A second experiment would be human awareness. When you are unconscious time may appear to stop for yourself, but if you leave an icecube next to your bed under a constant heat and calculate how long that ice cube will take to completely melt under normal observable conditions, then if you wake up and that icecube has melted we can come to the conclusion that time has passed for that ice cube, and your surrounding environment.

Now from both of these experiments I can conclude that if my awareness (and I assume this is done alone with no other awarenesses going on) doesn't affect the passage of time at all. As the word time, and the measurement of time are human inventions then the two are indeed separate things.

Why would your state of consciousness have any affect on the rate at which clocks run?

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@ michel123456

Quote "If time doesn't exist, what is that t we encounter in so many equations?"

We encounter the universe sliced up, for the predicting of previous or future events. Time "as a measurement and tool" is very real. But it is just that, a simple manmade tool. However most people treat time as a separate entity, this is most prevalent in fiction. Some authors defining time as a river that can be swum up and down, or a tangle of dimensions that can be navigated through to other times. But in reality all we are doing is using time as a set of labels. We mark a snapshot of the sum at 1 second, then the next as section 2 and by carrying on in this way we can create predictions for second 3, 4, and 4. This is mechanics 101. You collect a set of data, you collect a second set of data (or more) you compare, and mathematically describe the changes of these sets of data and use them to predict future or previous outcomes. But this in no way makes time real, it makes it a very useful labelling system for that data set.

@ caKus

Quote: "Electromagnetic waves have a frequency (thus a relation to time), but can exist without any material support (thus, without physical motion). So, time "exits" independently of any matter or movement."

What I take you to mean is that electromagnetic waves have regular intervals based on the frequency at the time, you change the timing of that frequency and you change that frequency. We use time here as a tool to predict when the next peak will arrive, but it's the motion or frequency that electromagnetic wave that requires us to attach any kind of timing. Again this is simply so we can predict the shape of the waveform in both past and present based on its current frequency.

So this isn't evidence for time, simply evidence for the internal motion of that waveform, and how the measurement of time tool can be used to analyse that waveform.

@ swansnot

Quote "Clocks causing time to exist isn't a serious proposal by anyone, AFAIK."

Yes, it's not a serious experiment, but it depends on how you chose to define time. A clock is merely a measuring device, and its motion is constant. But again, this is my point here is that time is nothing more than the motion of the hand, or the predictable vibration of the quartz crystal. I find the more I think about time the more I come back to this idea of motion. And if time is merely an expression of motion within the universe, and if we only use predictable motion to time random and seemingly more chaotic events, then the while idea as "time" as this single controlling entity falls apart in my mind. I simplify time as motion of matter, or changes of matter both internal and external.

So again, I submit that time doesn't exist, it's merely a manmade invention to help break the universe into convenient slices.

@ elfmotat

Quote: "I said "time is what's measured by clocks," not "clocks cause time to exist." You're being silly."

Quote: "Why would your state of consciousness have any effect on the rate at which clocks run?"

Yes the first was a little silly. But the issue here is that time is not defined. If it is a simple measurement, then time itself doesn't exist in the universe outside being a tool made by man to label slices of the universe. It's a fantastic analytical tool! But it's no more a part of the universe then a tape measure is a part of distance.

Again, human consciousness would not affect time, but many people confused personal perception of time as time itself. Thus we design a tool to eliminate our rather inaccurate sense of time.

So going back to the original issue.

Quote: "Time is what's measured by clocks as far as physics is concerned. Questions like "is time real or a manmade concept" are untestable philosophical questions. There's no way to test which is correct. "

Time is clearly a manmade concept as far as physics is concerned, it's a great way of labelling the universe into sets of organised data. So ignoring the manmade issue for how, I would ask something else.

Is there an experiment that demonstrates that time, as a separate entity or even spatial dimension exists at all? Can you think of an experiment that proves that everything in the universe is regulated by this force known as time?

Conversely I would point out that I can produce many experiments that demonstrate the motion of matter, so that is a given certainty, simply by throwing a ball at the wall and catching it I demonstrate that the motion of matter exists.

So why, if I can prove motion exists, can I not say "motion is time, time is motion, they are the same thing"?

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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@ swansnot

swansont

Time "as a measurement and tool" is very real. But it is just that, a simple manmade tool. … Quote "Clocks causing time to exist isn't a serious proposal by anyone, AFAIK." Yes, it's not a serious experiment, but it depends on how you chose to define time. A clock is merely a measuring device, and its motion is constant. But again, this is my point here is that time is nothing more than the motion of the hand, or the predictable vibration of the quartz crystal. I find the more I think about time the more I come back to this idea of motion. And if time is merely an expression of motion within the universe, and if we only use predictable motion to time random and seemingly more chaotic events, then the while idea as "time" as this single controlling entity falls apart in my mind. I simplify time as motion of matter, or changes of matter both internal and external. So again, I submit that time doesn't exist, it's merely a manmade invention to help break the universe into convenient slices.

If time is man-made, then how could there be an ordering of events that happened before humans were around? Animals and plants didn't get progressively older before man realized there was such a thing as time? No, I don't think so. We didn't think this up in a vacuum. The concept is something we recognized as an actual phenomenon, but did/does not require us to exist.

The best timekeeping devices are atomic clocks, and motion has a way of losing its meaning when you talk about quantum effects inside of an atom.

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Time doesn't exist at all there is only the motion of matter within the universe. Time is measurement tool set by certain regular mechanical motions be it via gears, or a crystal vibrating. Even the measurement itself is defined by piece of matter with regular and predictable motion.

Sorry about the swansnot! It was a typing error nothing meant by it.

Atomic clocks are no different from mechanical clocks or crystal based clocks in principle. Of course they are far more accurate! But the principles are the same. You take an object, be it a pendulum on a grandfather clock, a crystal or an atom, and resonate it. You then count those resonations and that becomes units of time. So the whole "Time Tool" as I'm coming to think of it, is simply the act of counting the resonator (a piece of matter in motion) as it moves back and forth.

So again, I submit that time as a separate entity within the universe, or a force, or a (forth dimension) is a completely inaccurate view of time. Just because everything goes forward it doesn't mean that time exists.

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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Atomic clocks are no different from mechanical clocks or crystal based clocks in principle. Of course they are far more accurate! But the principles are the same. You take an object, be it a pendulum on a grandfather clock, a crystal or an atom, and resonate it. You then count those resonations and that becomes units of time. So the whole "Time Tool" as I'm coming to think of it, is simply the act of counting the resonator (a piece of matter in motion) as it moves back and forth.

The resonance in a microwave atomic clock is a transition between the two hyperfine states, which is a change in the orientation of the intrinsic angular momentum vector. You have to make the case that there is physical motion associated with this; we already know that electron spin is not physical rotation.

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Time doesn't exist at all there is only the motion of matter within the universe. Time is measurement tool set by certain regular mechanical motions be it via gears, or a crystal vibrating. Even the measurement itself is defined by piece of matter with regular and predictable motion.

Sorry about the swansnot! It was a typing error nothing meant by it.

Atomic clocks are no different from mechanical clocks or crystal based clocks in principle. Of course they are far more accurate! But the principles are the same. You take an object, be it a pendulum on a grandfather clock, a crystal or an atom, and resonate it. You then count those resonations and that becomes units of time. So the whole "Time Tool" as I'm coming to think of it, is simply the act of counting the resonator (a piece of matter in motion) as it moves back and forth.

So again, I submit that time as a separate entity within the universe, or a force, or a (forth dimension) is a completely inaccurate view of time. Just because everything goes forward it doesn't mean that time exists.

Daniel, you can use the same kind of argument to say that distance don't exist.

But we know that distance represents "something" that we capture from the physical world by measuring it. The same goes for time: "something' is happening and we are measuring it. I think it is not reasonable to argue that we can measure something that does not exist.

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@ swansont

The atomic clock is completely dependant on motion, in this case the vibration of the atom used. It's counted by directing an osculated beam of microwave radiation into the atom then fine tuning the frequency until you get the highest level of absorption by the atom. Then the frequency of the wave is simply counted. So in fact we have two forms of motion being converted into time, the frequency of the waveform, and the vibration of the atom.

The reason that atomic clocks are so accurate is because it's impossible to make pendulums with the exact same mass, and weight. However atoms as far as our understanding goes are all the same size and mass. It's this uniformity that makes atomic clocks so accurate.

@ michel123456

The difference is that I can see my hand move through space, and I can see my hand move. By these simple observations I've established two things. "Space, in which distance is used to measure, and motion because the distance varies from a target point as it moves. I have not however established time as a separate entity from these two things. I have only demonstrated varying distances at different points of the objects motion. It is motion that time is based on as discussed above, motion is not based on time and never has been.

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@ michel123456

The difference is that I can see my hand move through space, and I can see my hand move. By these simple observations I've established two things. "Space, in which distance is used to measure, and motion because the distance varies from a target point as it moves. I have not however established time as a separate entity from these two things. I have only demonstrated varying distances at different points of the objects motion. It is motion that time is based on as discussed above, motion is not based on time and never has been.

If you can see your hand move through space, it means you can "see" time. Otherwise your hand would be "frozen in time" so to say: existing only in space (can that be?)

here below a good reading, IMHO.

http://web.mit.edu/bskow/www/research/temporality.pdf

Edited by michel123456
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No, I can see motion. The thing upon which time is based.

Quote: "No one denies that time and space are different; and it is easy to catalogue differences between them. I can point my finger toward the west, but I can’t point my finger toward the future"

Right off the bat I think this statement is almost exactly wrong. The author is making the usual mistake, he's decided that time is a separate entity and then proceeded with that assumption, Has the author not considered that you cannot point to something that does not exist? I can no more physically point to a pink unicorn grazing upon moon rock, than I can the past or future. This is because neither exist. There is only the moment to moment experience, aka the so called present. We have memories of a previous state of the universe, but that state has moved on, it has changed and this is an effect of motion within that universe forcing things to change.

After that initial quote the author simply goes into more fluid imagery that's slightly less reinvent than referencing a moon rock eating unicorn.

Quote: "It is often helpful, when approaching problems in physics and in metaphysics, to draw a spacetime diagram. Spacetime diagrams represent the careers in space and time of some material objects"

The rest of chapter two seems to be trying to convey one simple idea.

Time is a train and space is the area within that train, space cannot change unless the train is moving forward. I've been through all this thought before, in fact only just last year I came up with the train metaphor myself, but it occurred to me that this is completely wrong. I've fallen into the same old trap of trying to invent things I cannot see and test then relate them to 3D space. This is very useful in story telling but bares no more reality than my aforementioned pink moon rock eating unicorn.

He then goes on to muddy this simple idea even further, To my mind falling into the age old trap of letting his imagination run away with him powered by other people’s imaginations. A danger whenever you assign visual imagery to something.

If you are going to describe time as the fourth dimension, aka the rail upon which the universe is based then the one thing he absolutely has to do is tell us is "why can't matter move, unless time is moving forward or backward? What is the direct link between matter and time? Why can one not function without the another?"

The answer to my mind is simple. One is already functioning without the other. I see evidence of motion, I see evidence that time is calibrated by motion, but I see no evidence that time is a separate entity, dimension or force.

As far as I can tell that PDF does nothing to tell us what the direct relational link between matter moving and time is. It completely separates time from matter than runs off describing this time force or time dimension or time element, whatever you decide it to be, and proceeds to barely mention how it controls absolutely every piece of matter within its region of influence. It suggests ideas that time isn't constant, that it has zones and that some of these zones might not even have a flow of time. Which passes into the realm of fiction to my mind.

From simple day to day observation, I observe 1 single thing. Motion. I observe that any clock keeps time by creating a constant motion then counting that motion as it passes by. I have yet to observe any moment in which time slows down, reverses, or proceeds to do anything else unusual.

If I boil a kettle the water heats, it's internal motion makes water fly off into clouds of excited steam before losing that excess energy and reforming. I have yet to boil and kettle and see water vapour collect from a cloud of steam and funnel into the kettle.

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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I have yet to observe any moment in which time slows down, reverses, or proceeds to do anything else unusual.

If the the effects of time variation between the ground and the GPS satellites weren't compensated for, your sat-nav wouldn't work. It's a fact.

If these effects [special and General Relativity] were not properly taken into account, a navigational fix based on the GPS constellation would be false after only 2 minutes, and errors in global positions would continue to accumulate at a rate of about 10 kilometers each day! The whole system would be utterly worthless for navigation in a very short time. This kind of accumulated error is akin to measuring my location while standing on my front porch in Columbus, Ohio one day, and then making the same measurement a week later and having my GPS receiver tell me that my porch and I are currently about 5000 meters in the air somewhere over Detroit. http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

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Just because there is a flaw in the system that must be compensated for, doesn't demonstrate the existence of time. It just demonstrates that a system is imperfect. Such errors can be attributed to our simple misunderstanding, or even a software error. Floating point calculations are far from prefect, we're always rounding numbers up and down with computer science in order to save processing time. The more accurate I attempt to get my own simulations, the more floating point errors become a bigger and bigger problem. After all, standard double floats at the moment only account for 15 decimal places, this is a pretty common limitation in C++ and other languages.

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O.K. as it seems you have a problem with time. You prefer motion.

Do you have the same kind of problem with space?

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I move through space on a daily basis, I work with 3 Dimensional representations of space via computer programming on a near daily basis. So no, I have no problems with space. Why do you ask?

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Just because there is a flaw in the system that must be compensated for, doesn't demonstrate the existence of time. It just demonstrates that a system is imperfect. Such errors can be attributed to our simple misunderstanding, or even a software error. Floating point calculations are far from prefect, we're always rounding numbers up and down with computer science in order to save processing time. The more accurate I attempt to get my own simulations, the more floating point errors become a bigger and bigger problem. After all, standard double floats at the moment only account for 15 decimal places, this is a pretty common limitation in C++ and other languages.

So, the magnitude of the "flaw" inherent in the system 'just happens' to vary, in any applicable test situation by a specific amount and to high precision, as predicted by GR and SR?!

The Hafele–Keating experiment was a test of the theory of relativity. In October 1971, Joseph C. Hafele, a physicist, and Richard E. Keating, an astronomer, took four cesium-beam atomic clocks aboard commercial airliners. They flew twice around the world, first eastward, then westward, and compared the clocks against others that remained at the United States Naval Observatory. When reunited, the three sets of clocks were found to disagree with one another, and their differences were consistent with the predictions of special and general relativity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafele%E2%80%93Keating_experiment

Time is phenomenon or property of things, it is not a ‘thing’ unto itself. It is the subject of an accounting system that we use to describe and relate certain aspects of the universe to each other. This property of the universe is not a constant, as predicted by SR and GR.

Edited by StringJunky
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So, the magnitude of the "flaw" inherent in the system 'just happens' to vary,

Sure, the floating point calculation varies itself. When you truncate any value, the amount of lost data is going to vary, and can spawn all kinds of unpredictable errors within any system.

I had a mere 5000 line game developed about six months ago, and there was the oddest of errors in the player accuracy calculation. Suddenly at seemingly random instances the score would go up 5 points and then suddenly go into negative values. I was at a loss as to what caused it for a few weeks on that one, before I realised I'd accidently defined a float value as in integer! This truncated the number got fed into the sum and produced the error. A very simple mistake occurring in part of the program I didn't think to look at. Comparatively speaking you have a far more complex system developed by various people expanding god knows how many lines of code, not only that but we're dealing with difference devices from different manufacturers, each with their own drivers, their own hardware, and their own standards of production.

The Hafele–Keating experiment was a test of the theory of relativity. In October 1971, Joseph C. Hafele, a physicist, and Richard E. Keating, an astronomer, took four cesium-beam atomic clocks aboard commercial airliners

Yes I've read about this in Stephen Hawkings works. There are several factors here that may affect the workings of these atomic clocks.

1) Environmental, taking any piece of hardware into an airplane with the vibrations of the engine, differing atmospheric pressures, varying speeds, varying humidities, The atoms within the clock are going to get shaken about, the detector is going to get shaken about, the counting mechanisams in the 1970's were very crude compaired to todays technologies. Perhaps the counter on it simply missed or added a few ticks? This is a far more likely explanation to my mind then time suddenly altering itself.

2) Electromagnetic fields, the world is a big electromagnetic field in of itself, we know that magnetics are used all the time to guide electrons and other particles, we also know that the planets electromagnetic field varies in strength and around the world. I suspect this can easily cause interference.

3) Gravity, yet another thing we don't understand, we know it bends light, could it add just enough of a difference to account for the change? How does gravity behave when moving clockwise around the earth vs anticlockwise?

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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@ swansont

The atomic clock is completely dependant on motion, in this case the vibration of the atom used. It's counted by directing an osculated beam of microwave radiation into the atom then fine tuning the frequency until you get the highest level of absorption by the atom. Then the frequency of the wave is simply counted. So in fact we have two forms of motion being converted into time, the frequency of the waveform, and the vibration of the atom.

The atom doesn't physically vibrate. It's a microwave transition involving the hyperfine states of the electron, which only differ in their spin projection (spin up vs spin down) and thus their energy. Also the microwaves can be a standing wave in a cavity (and is for the best ones). Any motion involved is coincidental and not a critical part of the clock, i.e. it improves the measurement but does not enable it.

The reason that atomic clocks are so accurate is because it's impossible to make pendulums with the exact same mass, and weight. However atoms as far as our understanding goes are all the same size and mass. It's this uniformity that makes atomic clocks so accurate.

The Q of the resonance is a huge part of the improvement (the improvement, like that from uniformity, would be in precision, but not necessarily accuracy). That's a reason that optical transitions are being pursued for the next generation of clocks.

Yes I've read about this in Stephen Hawkings works. There are several factors here that may affect the workings of these atomic clocks.

1) Environmental, taking any piece of hardware into an airplane with the vibrations of the engine, differing atmospheric pressures, varying speeds, varying humidities, The atoms within the clock are going to get shaken about, the detector is going to get shaken about, the counting mechanisams in the 1970's were very crude compaired to todays technologies. Perhaps the counter on it simply missed or added a few ticks? This is a far more likely explanation to my mind then time suddenly altering itself.

The changes weren't random, and environmental factors can be measured and monitored. The experiment was repeated on the 25th anniversary, using the better clocks of the day, and got agreement but with better precision. It was repeated again in 2010. Same result.

And GPS tests this continually. Without compensation for time dilation effects, GPS simply wouldn't work.

2) Electromagnetic fields, the world is a big electromagnetic field in of itself, we know that magnetics are used all the time to guide electrons and other particles, we also know that the planets electromagnetic field varies in strength and around the world. I suspect this can easily cause interference.

The clocks are shielded to minimize these effects. So no, not easily.

3) Gravity, yet another thing we don't understand, we know it bends light, could it add just enough of a difference to account for the change? How does gravity behave when moving clockwise around the earth vs anticlockwise?

That's one of the effects from general relativity. It's been independently confirmed (i.e. without the kinematic part from special relativity)

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The atom doesn't physically vibrate. It's a microwave transition involving the hyperfine states of the electron, which only differ in their spin projection (spin up vs spin down) and thus their energy. Also the microwaves can be a standing wave in a cavity (and is for the best ones). Any motion involved is coincidental and not a critical part of the clock, i.e. it improves the measurement but does not enable it.

Atoms have all sorts of internal motion going on. I'm not un-inclined to treat movement or passing of energy states as motion in of itself. You certainly have the internal motion of the radiation's own frequency to consider. The internal mechanics of atoms constant internal motion. After all there's a strong relationship between all particles and waveforms, the old double slit experiment demonstrates this as much with bucket balls as it does electrons.

The Q of the resonance is a huge part of the improvement (the improvement, like that from uniformity, would be in precision, but not necessarily accuracy). That's a reason that optical transitions are being pursued for the next generation of clocks.

So we use the movement of light instead

The changes weren't random, and environmental factors can be measured and monitored. The experiment was repeated on the 25th anniversary, using the better clocks of the day, and got agreement but with better precision. It was repeated again in 2010. Same result.

And GPS tests this continually. Without compensation for time dilation effects, GPS simply wouldn't work.

I'm sure they call it time dilation effects. But that doesn't mean that time is slowing down and speeding up. When passing a photon though a super cooled materials it's speed can drop to as low as 38 miles an hour.

Quote from source: Light, which normally travels the 240,000 miles from the Moon to Earth in less than two seconds, has been slowed to the speed of a minivan in rush-hour traffic -- 38 miles an hour.

An entirely new state of matter, first observed four years ago, has made this possible. When atoms become packed super-closely together at super-low temperatures and super-high vacuum, they lose their identity as individual particles and act like a single super- atom with characteristics similar to a laser.

Now we know that the sun has a powerful enough gravity field to bend light. If light can be bent, can it be accelerated and decelerated? Do we know that light and the whole electromagnetic signal range is arriving and leaving at exactly the same speed? If light can be slowed down by matter, with the variety of gasses and collections of water vapour flying around in the atmosphere and varying amounts and concentration, can this not affect the speed of these signals. Could not this, combined with systematic errors from the equipment itself account for these predictable (within a tolerance I'm sure) flaws in the data?

Saying time changes just seems a way of analysing the obvious errors in the system, lumping all the data under a single heading, applying the maths and then calling it time dilation.

The clocks are shielded to minimize these effects. So no, not easily.

I am sure they are, but I'm also sure it's not perfect.

The clocks are shielded to minimize these effects. So no, not easily.

So it does have an impact then. Get enough of these small niggling interferences going in, gravity, other signals, vibrations from the air craft, air pressure, and god knows what else, and you have a complex dataset indeed. Lumping it all under "time dilation" seems to be a way of collecting all these errors, applying a tolerance of error, and then giving the impression that time itself is somehow changing as these clocks travel through space.

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