Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

The end of time…

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This New Scientist article made me wonder about time. The latest super-clocks are sensitive to differences in height (actually differences in gravitational field) small enough that their accuracy would be affected if they were placed on a slightly lower table, for example. This is madness. Maybe we’ve reached a point where time doesn’t really mean all that much any more. On those kind of scales, at that sort of precision, maybe time just stops being a useful concept. Like the length of a coastline stops being a useful concept when you measure it too accurately. (Because it’s a fractal). Or temperature; if you keep zooming in, you reach a point where the “temperature” of the volume becomes meaningless – if you zoom in enough that the volume contains maybe one atom or even no atoms, then surely temperature is unhelpful. Perhaps the same thing happens to time when we start trying to subdivide it into 10^-18ths of a second or whatever it is they are doing…

Here’s another article on time where some people seem to be reaching the same conclusions… I’m not sure these articles will be available – I’m on the campus network and they might have some sort of subscription to the magazine…


Written by Seamus

February 9, 2009 at 1:41 pm

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