Posts Tagged time dilation

Time dilation is like yacht racing

An explanation of time dilation by analogy with yacht racing

In yacht racing, unlike say motor racing, it is difficult to know which boat is in front when they have taken different paths. Consider the case of two-yachts, e.g. an America’s Cup type event. One boat might look closer to the finish line, but if it is substantially down-wind of the mark  then it will be moving slower than another boat upwind but further away. In addition, the boats might move into regions of the water space where the wind is faster (or slower), or coming from a different direction, and this will affect the outcome.

For a spectator, it is very difficult to see which boat is winning, or how the boats are doing against each other when they are on different parts of the water, unless that spectator has a lot of sailing knowledge him/herself. Plus the spectators are invariably far away and low to the water, so have very little ability to perceive the depth of the visual field. All this makes watching yachting a boring spectacle.

To improve the situation Virtual Eye, based in New Zealand, has developed a data acquisition, software, and rendering system to visually show spectators how the race is progressing. This is a  neat system as it shows the advantage between the boats, and avoids the need for the spectator to have specialised sailing knowledge…which of course is important in getting the wider public interested in the sport. Here for example is an image showing a red boat ahead of a black one. It would otherwise not be clear which one was leading.

 

Yacht racing: Visualising advantage (http://live.virtualeye.tv/slidorion/img/volvo2011-12.jpg)

Yacht racing: Visualising advantage (http://live.virtualeye.tv/slidorion/img/volvo2011-12.jpg)

Things start to get more complex when there are multiple boats, all taking very different paths across the water. In this next image, the white boat with the blue line is ahead of the black boat (Oracle). This would have been hard for a land-lubber to determine, as black looks ahead. The larger the physical space between the boats, the harder it is to see which boat is ahead. This also applies to the yachties on board their boats.

 

White leads black in this visualisation of a yacht race. Image from Visual Eye (http://virtualeye.tv/images/stories/sailing/large05.jpg)

White leads black in this visualisation of a yacht race. Image from Visual Eye (http://virtualeye.tv/images/stories/sailing/large05.jpg)

 

By now you will probably be seeing where this discussion is heading. Yachting is done on a 2D course where there are an infinite many loci possible. The boat’s velocity depends on which part of that 2D space it travels through, how fast the wind flows in those spaces, and the relative orientation of boat and wind.

Now replace the flow of the wind with the flow of time, and the time dilation situation emerges. If two space craft were to take different paths through space, going through different regions of gravitational strength  and accelerating differently, then it would be difficult to determine from afar which was ahead in time. Hence the Andromeda Paradox.

Time dilation is often illustrated with the idea that ‘you’ stay on Earth and ‘your twin’ goes off in a spacecraft. In which case we are protagonists embedded within the time dilation, and like the yachties on their boats, find it difficult to comprehend our relative progress. Visual Eye’s software looks down on the yacht race from an independent third-party perspective, and worldlines do this for cosmology though not nearly so engagingly.

Time dilation only applies when two (or more) protagonists take different routes through space. One can never be totally sure which protagonist is ahead in time, because you don’t know what future choices they will make regarding the gravitational and acceleration regimes they will be exposed to. It is only when the protagonists are brought back together in the same location that you can see the time difference. In the case of time dilation this will show up as one clock indicating a later time or date, or a biological organism showing greater age. (This part may sound weird, and indeed it is still something of an open question as to how time occurs at the level of fundamental physics. You can just accept that the clocks will show a difference. There are many explanations of time-dilation on the internet. They invariably address the question of  what is is and how to formulate it mathematically. The much harder question is how it occurs. If you want the additional mental gymnastics, start by thinking about atomic clocks (i.e. like atomic vibrations), as this feels less weird.  Then you can ponder how atomic time scales up to the level of clockwork timepieces.  Then explain to yourself how this determines biological time at the cellular level.  Finally, work out the implication for yourself as a biological being. It is a interesting and rewarding personal gedanken experiment. The initial weirdness, which arises from the psychological incongruence between what physics and our own senses tell us of the *now*, becomes resolved and one gains an appreciation of time and the nature of the gift. Our own explanation of time is referenced below).

In the case of yachting, this time dilation shows up as one boat ahead of the other, i,e, one boat enters a region of 2D space before the second boat enters the same space. So whatever has happened before on the water, when the boats come together, heading in the same direction, then it is apparent who is in front, as the image shows. The finish line is one such 2D space, and the most important one. But there are also others where the precedence becomes visible, e.g. going around marker buoys.

 

White leads Black. Differences in time are definitively evident only when the boats are in the same space. Image source Virtual Eye. http://virtualeye.tv/images/stories/sailing/thumb06.jpg

So the outcomes of time dilation only become clearly evident when the protagonists are brought back to a common location in space. At this point the ambiguity of which one is ahead collapses. The Andromeda-type paradoxes exploit this ambiguity, but the ambiguity only exists when the protagonists are far away in space – bring them together again and the paradox collapses. Just like in yachting, all the ambiguity during the race collapses at the finish line: both boats have to cross the same region of 2D space, and the first one there is the winner.

References

PS: If you don’t like wet, then alternatively, time dilation is like hiking up a mountain where there are no paths and each hiker takes his/her own route. Some paths might look like a more direct route to the summit, but if they are steeper then progress may be slower. This is actually what I was thinking of first since I was hiking at the time and realised that hiking was just like yachting, and then realised both were like time dilation.

Dirk Pons 23 April 2014

Advertisements

, , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Time: There Already Are Answers If You Look A Little Wider. . .

Space vs time: One has to go – but which? This is the question asked by Anil Ananthaswamy at New Scientist asks. As he says, ‘If we want to progress towards a theory of everything, we need to understand how space and time fit together – if they do at all.’ He goes on to review the usual candidates: quantum mechanics and general relativity, and finds them wanting. Then he checks out string theory (and AdS/CFT) and then takes in loop quantum gravity. Ultimately there are no definitive answers. As he concludes, ‘Many potential ways around lead to different worlds of space and time – and we have as yet little clue which route to follow.’

Here’s our take on this subject, being a copy of our post at the NS article:

We have a theory that time is an emergent property of matter, as opposed to being a dimension of its own or a property of space. The idea being that particles of matter emit discrete forces at their de Broglie frequency, and these are meshed together over space to create a fabric of discrete fields. The particles then interact with each other via the discrete field forces that they send to and receive from this fabric, and since those interactions are not instantaneous (for reasons given in the theory), so the arrow of time emerges.

This is an unorthodox perspective, especially since it starts from a non-local hidden-variable (NLHV) solution, but it has the benefit of being able to explain everything that quantum mechanics, general relativity, LQG, and string/M theory can explain about time, and quite a lot more. We call this the Cordus theory. It becomes quite simple to explain why time as measured by atomic clocks is consistent with time as we perceive it as humans, how time dilation occurs, where the arrow (irreversibility) arises, how time began, whether time exists outside an expanding universe, and many other such niggly little questions at fundamental and cosmological levels.

I can’t explain the whole thing in one post – instead I just want to point out that there already are answers for pretty much all the questions raised in the article, providing one is prepared to be open-minded and look beyond the fixed mental models provided by the orthodox theories. According to this Cordus theory there is nothing wrong with QM and GR per se, it is just that they are situationally-accurate but merely special-case approximations of a deeper mechanics. The only reason time is such a quandary to QM and GR is because those theories have premises that limit what kind of solutions can be admitted. But at the deeper level it is easy to unify the forces, resolve wave-particle duality, and explain entanglement and locality. So there is a lot of progress being made in the unorthodox areas of physics, even if the mainstream has stagnated.

Of course we could also be wrong! Make up your own mind: See the full time paper here http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074 or a simpler series of explanations here https://cordus.wordpress.com/category/time/.

Thank you

Dirk Pons

, , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Which perspective of time is correct: the absolute clock of quantum mechanics or the spacetime of general relativity?

Neither, but in some ways both are adequate for their purposes.  According to the Cordus theory, time at the fundamental level is created by the local frequency of oscillation of the particule. That effect occurs internal to the particule concerned. Such particules include the electron, proton, etc. Since frequency and energy are related, this has the side effect of making time, as perceived at the particule level, speed up or slow down depending on the energy of the particule.

As a separate effect the arrow of time arises from the irreversibility in the interactions between particules.We explain how that irreversibility arises, but the explanation is a bit long for here.

Thus time is locally generated, and Cordus suggests the QM  idea of an absolute clock is only partlycorrect. Also, Cordus suggests that time is a patchwork at the cosmos scale, not a continuous spacetime, thereby not accepting this feature of GR either. However both QM and GR turn out to be approximately correct, at least at the level of detail that concerns them, which is submicroscopic and macroscopic respectively

English: Cordus model of the photon

English: Cordus model of the photon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cordus theory provides a more primitive mechanics for time that accommodates the thoroughly different models of QM and GR.

Read more here:

Pons, D.J. (2013) What really is time? A multiple-level ontological theory for time as a property of matter. vixra, 1-40 DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074.


, , , , , ,

1 Comment

How does time-dilation work?

Schematic representation of asymmetric velocit...

Schematic representation of asymmetric velocity time dilation. The animation represents motion as mapped in a Minkowski space-time diagram, with two dimensions of space, (the horizontal plane) and position in time vertically. The circles represent clocks, counting lapse of proper time. The Minkowski coordinate system is co-moving with the non-accelerating clock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have an alternative way to explain this effect.

First, some background. Time-dilation is when clocks at different locations run at different speeds,  because of the different conditions at the two locations. Specifically, time passes slower in regions of  higher gravity (and faster in lower gravity). Likewise time runs slower for systems with higher acceleration, and faster in lower acceleration.

This has nothing to do with errors in the clocks. Nor does it matter what type of clock is used, mechanical or atomic. Instead time really does run differently, and it affects life itself. It is somewhat weird to think that your feet (which are in a slightly higher gravitational field) age slower than your head, but nonetheless your body still holds together! OK, the differences are not great, but it is the principle that counts. And the twin-paradox is downright spooky too.

The usual explanations for this involve the Lorentz equations, which allow the effect to be represented mathematically and quantified. But a deep explanation of what *is* time dilation is still lacking. It’s thought to be a property of spacetime, but that is only a partial explanation as spacetime itself is a mathematical model.

Moving beyond mathematical models and into ontological explanations is what the Cordus conjecture does well, and here again we have an alternative explanation. This offers an explanation of how time-dilation occurs at the subatomic level and then scales up to chemical bonds and ultimately to the mechanics of moving clock-hands and the physiology of living bodies.

For a start, we accept that time dilation does occur, and we accept also that atomic clocks do show a physical representation of that effect (as opposed to some other effect). Then we apply the Cordus model, whereby each particule has two ends which are energised in turn at its frequency. Now, (this next bit is important) energisation involves pushing discrete forces out into the external environment. So the frequency at which  this happens is affected by the conditions in the external environment. That external environment is the 3D world beyond the particule, and it does not matter if it is only a vacuum. (The Cordus fabric is the substitute concept for the spacetime of general relativity).

The external environment is what we call the fabric, and it comprises the discrete forces of all the other particules in the observable universe. All of which are likewise trying to push out discrete forces at their own individual frequencies. So what this Cordus theory offers is a way to understand the causality from the inner workings of the particle (the hidden-variables), to the discrete forces being produced at a frequency, to the cumulative effect (fields) of many particules affecting each other. The important insight provided by the Cordus theory is that the causality works in the reverse direction too. Thus the fabric, which is the cumulative effect of the discrete forces of many particules, has a way to cause the frequency of one particule to change. If we also adopt the Cordus idea that frequency *is* time for the particule concerned, then an explanation for time dilation is immediately  available.  Here it is:

The Cordus theory of time provides a mechanism whereby the external environment can push back in and affect the frequency of the particule. The proposed mechanism is as follows. An encounter with greater fabric density causes the frequency of a particule to slow down, hence time runs slower. This is because the high density of external discrete forces makes it difficult for the particule to emit its own discrete forces > emission is retarded >  energisation of reactive end is delayed > frequency lengthens.

It is known from general relativity that a body experiences time dilation in any of the following three situations: relativistic velocity, or acceleration, or in a high gravitation field. According to the Cordus time theory, all these are situations of  greater fabric density: the first because the fast-moving particule is at a speed approaching that of the fabric itself and therefore emission of the particule’s discrete forces is resisted (from the perspective of the particule, the external fabric is saturated),  the second because the accelerating particule emits discrete forces which it then moves into, thus creating its own locally high fabric density, and the third because high gravitation field is intrinsically a high external fabric density. In all these situations higher fabric density causes slowing of time. So Cordus also provides a single underlying mechanism for why these three situations are equivalent.

So to summarise, we have a mechanism to explain why the frequency of a particule is affected by velocity, acceleration, or gravitational field. How then does time dilation occur? Well, that’s also easy to explain, though it needs another piece of the Cordus theory. This is that the frequency of a particle determines the moments in time at which its discrete forces are available to interact with other particules. Particules only interact via their discrete forces. Those interactions are the basis for the strong force, chemical bonds, and the electro-magnetic-gravitational forces. (Cordus also provides a theory for the unification of the forces/interactions.) In turn these interactions determine the atomic structure, chemistry, kinetics and kinematics of the particule. And physiology is built on chemistry.

So anything, like fabric density,  that changes the frequency of a particule automatically changes the frequency of all of the mechanics, chemistry, and even life processes, with which that particule is engaged. This is what the fabric does, and it does it to whole assemblies of matter at once. Higher fabric density slows down the frequencies of all the particules in the object in that volume of space. And since, according to the Cordus theory, time  for a particule (or bonded assembly of particules) is nothing more than its frequency, when the frequency changes the passage of time also changes.

So that is why time-dilation is not simply a measurement effect, or a problem with mechanical time-pieces. Instead it slows down (or speeds up) the passage of time for all particules in that volume of space.

This understanding of time-dilation requires the Cordus theories for:

  • Frequency and internal structure of particules
  • discrete forces,
  • strong force
  • force unification,
  • time at the level of single particules
  • fabric concept

The existing theories of physics do not have this breadth of coverage, so if all of these really are necessary to explain time-dilation then one can see why Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity would struggle to explain it.

This Cordus explanation applies equally to a living body experiencing time-dilation. Thinking is a chemical process and Aging is a physiological process of chemical degradation, so any process that slows the frequency of the components of the atoms will also slow time. But this is no solution for longevity, because such a person would not experience any advantage, because their thoughts and movements would also be slowed. They would not be able to do anything more with their time. The only effect is that they would notice on meeting is that other people’s histories were compressed (or stretched).

Read more here:

Pons, D.J. (2013) What really is time? A multiple-level ontological theory for time as a property of matter. vixra, 1-40 DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074.

, , , , , , ,

4 Comments

Time as a property of matter (rather than space)

Our newest paper is out and it explores *time*. We start off reconceptualising time at the fundamental level, by proposing it is nothing more than the frequency cycles of the particules of matter. This is where the fastest tick of time arises. This is comparable to the de Broglie frequency for a particle.

We then propose that the next level of time arises with the bonding of particules into atoms, molecules and bodies. This time beats slower than the fundamental time. We call this the assembly of matter. This is also where irreversibility arises, and the arrow of time too. We explain how.

So in this way we offer a solution for how the time that emerges at the level of atomic clocks  is transferred to the world at large.

One of the objectives of the paper is to explain how the human perception of time arises. We show how time operates at the level of chemical interactions and hence physiology. Then we use that to speculate how the brain then constructs a cognitive meaning for the one-wayness of time.  We can also explain why time appears to be universal and smooth, even though it need not be so at the deeper levels.

Regarding the philosophical question of what is the NOW (the present moment), we suggest it is a cognitive effect associated with consciousness, memory, and the process of thought.

This  Cordus theory shows that time is all of particle-based vs. spacetime, relative vs. absolute, local vs. universal. However it is not simultaneously all of those, but rather depends on the level of assembly of matter under consideration. We therefore suggest that none of the existing physical theories have got time quite right, even if they are all right in part.

The paper is unorthodox in its implication that that time is not an inherent property of space but is of matter, hence spacetime is not really a dimension but only looks that way at the macroscopic level of general relativity.

Read more here:

Pons, D.J. (2013) What really is time? A multiple-level ontological theory for time as a property of matter. vixra, 1-40 DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

What really is time?

Time is a strange effect in the universe. What exactly is time, and how does it arise?

One way of looking at time is to consider to be the fourth dimension: after the usual three of length, width and depth. Hence we have the concept of spacetime. This is most famously put forward by Einstein in special relativity, though the roots of that predated even him.

At our personal level of perception, time is a physical reality. Everything else around us also seems to exist in the same time-frame as ourselves. For example, we stretch out our arm to shake the hand of someone else, and there really is a someone else there with whom we can interact.

But relativity says that is an illusion, that  time progresses differently in various places. This is called time-dilation, and the effect is real: time passes slower where gravity is stronger or acceleration is greater.

In our recent paper we explore time, using the cordus conjecture. What emerges is a novel and useful way of thinking about time. Cordus suggests that at its most basic level time originates with the frequency cycles of the particules of matter and photons. Thus time is locally generated, and cordus rejects the idea of an absolute clock. The forward arrow is only applied to the ticks of time when irreversibility arises.

The paper explains how the irreversibility arises, in terms of the interaction between two volumes of matter and the statistically impossibility of returning all particules in the system to their original positions and states. Thus decoherence, irreversibility, entropy, cause-and-effect, and the arrow of time all arise at the same discontinuity in physics. The interconnectedness of matter, via its fields, creates a patchwork of temporal cause-and-effect.

Thus human perceptions of time are a construct, with all the potential for illusion that implies, founded on a real physical principle of temporal causality.

http://vixra.org/abs/1201.0060

However that is really only a convenience, becuase the first three are spatial (geometric) dimensions, whereas time does not have the same units.

About time: What is it? New Scientist

About time: Why does time’s arrow fly only one way?  New Scientist

About time: Is time travel possible?  New Scientist

What is Time? Lee Smolin

Limits of Coherence (cordus.wordpress.com)

About time: Why does time’s arrow fly only one way?

 

, , , ,

1 Comment