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Georgina Woodward: on 7/11/16 at 5:28am UTC, wrote Hi Steve, configuration, as I am thinking about it, is all kinds of...

Steve Agnew: on 7/11/16 at 2:24am UTC, wrote What you call configuration is what I call the chemical composition or...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/10/16 at 20:35pm UTC, wrote An atom of carbon in a carbon dioxide molecule is likely to be more mobile...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/10/16 at 3:31am UTC, wrote Steve, it isn't about what is happening to matter unobserved. Therefore...

Steve Agnew: on 7/10/16 at 2:00am UTC, wrote To be clear...there is an atomic time and practitioners measure atomic time...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/9/16 at 23:25pm UTC, wrote To be clear when I said 'experience' I did not mean thinking and feeling. I...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/9/16 at 23:19pm UTC, wrote In plain English: atomic clocks do not work by tracking the vibration of a...

Georgina Woodward: on 7/9/16 at 22:33pm UTC, wrote Should have previewed the text: There shouldn't be a gap, nothing is...

November 25, 2017

ARTICLE: Killing Time [back to article]
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Karl Coryat wrote on Jun. 28, 2012 @ 21:04 GMT
Don Page is right that the dragon is the puppet of a more powerful master, and I believe that master to be information. (Shameless plug, this is the topic of my essay in the current contest.) I invite readers to try a relational, information-theoretic perspective of time, where time emerges out of classical information structure in relation to observers that are part of that structure. Time will naturally appear "frozen" when we consider the universe as a whole -- this is consistent with Rovelli's point, in his seminal RQM paper, that "there is no description of the universe in-toto, only a quantum-interrelated net of partial descriptions."

In layman's terms, the past is the direction toward which we see classical information, and the future is the uncertain direction. The apparent passage of time is a function of the crystallization of information out of uncertainty, as seen by participatory observers on the information/uncertainty boundary.

An explanation of time where it doesn't emerge out of relative information may be like explaining a rainbow without referencing the relative positions of water droplets, a light source, and the observer -- good luck with that!

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jul. 3, 2012 @ 15:56 GMT
Just a note to remind forum users that posts that do not attempt to directly address the content of the article or an existing post may be marked as spam and removed.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 3, 2012 @ 15:57 GMT
Wait, doesn't that mean this post should be removed? Oh, what a dilemma.

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Pentcho Valev replied on Jul. 3, 2012 @ 16:26 GMT
In my posts I discussed the transition from the relativity of simultaneity to absolute simultaneity (that is, from Einsteinan time back to Newtonian time). Obviously this "directly addresses the content of the article". Please restore my posts, Brendan Foster.

Pentcho Valev

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J. C. N. Smith replied on Jul. 15, 2012 @ 22:00 GMT
Hmmm . . . strange, but the last time I read the article 'Killing Time' the topic of the article had something to do with the nature of time. I left a post (subsequently removed) which suggested that anyone interested in slaying the dragon of time might want to look at an essay offering another paradigm for the nature of time. How, exactly, did that fail to address the content of the article? Would it have been more acceptable if, rather than referring readers to an essay on the topic, I'd run on at length in this space regurgitating ideas on the nature of time which interested readers would have found by going to the referenced essay? That approach struck me as being wasteful of readers' valuable time and your valuable space.


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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jul. 3, 2012 @ 17:45 GMT
Maybe, we should not slay sensible reasoning. Maybe, we can cross Cauchy's and Killing's horizons rather than the Cauchy horizon and the Killing horizon.

My previous essay tried to remind of the possibility for proper domesticating the i in ih_bar.


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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jul. 3, 2012 @ 19:21 GMT
Kate Becker wrote: "Time used to be straightforward. To Isaac Newton, time was an absolute, like the tick-tocking of a great cosmic clock. In his theory of general relativity, though, Einstein threw out that cosmic clock and replaced it with a new and pliable notion of time. To Einstein, time could speed up or slow down..."

An example of a clock running slow in a gravitational well:

David Morin: "The equivalence principle has a striking consequence concerning the behavior of clocks in a gravitational field. It implies that higher clocks run faster than lower clocks. If you put a watch on top of a tower, and then stand on the ground, you will see the watch on the tower tick faster than an identical watch on your wrist. When you take the watch down and compare it to the one on your wrist, it will show more time elapsed."

Is that true? Will the watch on the tower show more time elapsed? Einstein and Morin say "yes" but what does Nature say? Banesh Hoffmann suspects Nature of saying "no":

Banesh Hoffmann: "In an accelerated sky laboratory, and therefore also in the corresponding earth laboratory, the frequence of arrival of light pulses is lower than the ticking rate of the upper clocks even though all the clocks go at the same rate. (...) As a result the experimenter at the ceiling of the sky laboratory will see with his own eyes that the floor clock is going at a slower rate than the ceiling clock - even though, as I have stressed, both are going at the same rate. (...) The gravitational red shift does not arise from changes in the intrinsic rates of clocks. It arises from what befalls light signals as they traverse space and time in the presence of gravitation."

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev replied on Jul. 4, 2012 @ 14:11 GMT
Kate Becker wrote: "Yet for all this strangeness, quantum theory held on to a thoroughly Newtonian picture of time - "The same one Einstein wanted to get rid of," says Anderson. "General relativity and quantum theory developed at almost the same moment, but they moved in different directions away from Newton," Anderson points out. So while general relativity offered a new and plastic version of time, quantum mechanics adhered to the old standard."

There are extremely simple scenarios allowing one, if not to make a definitive choice between the "new and plastic version of time" and the "old standard", at least to see the seminal difference between them. For instance, the classic derivation of time dilation presupposes a light beam travelling vertically, between two mirrors, on a train:

. 12: "In B's frame [that is, as judged by an observer on the ground], the train moves at speed v. The path of the light is shown in Fig. 11.9. The crucial fact to remember is that the speed of light in B's frame is still c. This means that the light travels along its diagonally upward path at speed c. (The vertical component of the speed is not c, as would be the case if light behaved like a baseball.)

If light does behave like a baseball and the vertical component of the speed is c, the "old standard" is correct. If not, the "new and plastic version of time" is correct.

Another scenario:

Carl Mungan: "Consider the case where the observer moves toward the source. In this case, the observer is rushing head-long into the wavefronts... (...) In fact, the wave speed is simply increased by the observer speed, as we can see by jumping into the observer's frame of reference."

If this is valid for light waves, the "old standard" is correct. If this is not valid for light waves, that is, if, although we jump into the observer's frame of reference, we don't see any increase in the wave speed, then the "new and plastic version of time" is correct.

Pentcho Valev

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Daniel L. B. wrote on Jul. 14, 2012 @ 19:45 GMT
note: This is from a article I posted on my blog in 2010.

The greatest problem with current physics theories is that they consider time as if it were a property of physical reality.

Time is a relational concept which is made to allow us to compare events with periodic and cyclic systems; in other words, clocks. But time has time any more effect on reality than the clocks that are...

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Georgina Parry replied on Jul. 14, 2012 @ 23:32 GMT
I think that is nicely written Daniel.

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Daniel L. B. replied on Jul. 15, 2012 @ 06:11 GMT
Thank you Georgina. I still wish I had taken more time to edit it (ie. then instead of than), but the important thing is clarity.

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Anonymous replied on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 06:14 GMT
Daniel, Georgina,

The problem is always the same. Not knowing the difference between physics and metaphysics, and the limits of each.

There is EXPERIENCE, what we make up of the world through our senses and mind. EXPERIENCE requires our presence to happen to exist. So, forget about physics without observer; we are always part and cause of the observation and its interpretation....

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amrit wrote on Jan. 5, 2013 @ 12:47 GMT
Time is a fundamental physical quantity which has only a mathematical existence. ... Text=sorli

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Wilhelmus de Wilde replied on Jan. 5, 2013 @ 15:37 GMT
Time is an illusion that has only existence in our memory.

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Anonymous replied on Jan. 5, 2013 @ 16:54 GMT
No, it is a trunk, not a wall, or a pillar.

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Hector Daniel Gianni wrote on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 21:38 GMT
I would address specifically to the so called “The time problem” and of course to this article “Killing time”.

I am going to be as concrete as possible; if you read the article you will realize why it can’t be shorter. Mainly theoretical physicists are the most interested in “the nature of time” and they like to believe the subject is...

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 08:30 GMT
Quantum Gravity and Doublethink

QUANTUM GRAVITY IN PERSPECTIVE, LMU Munich, 31st May - 1st June 2013: "The search for a theory which would unite the insights of general relativity with those of quantum theory, a theory of quantum gravity, has now lasted the better part of a century. Although a number of promising candidate theories have emerged (string theory and loop quantum gravity being...

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Pentcho Valev replied on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 19:00 GMT
Is Einstein's 1905 light postulate false?

"An immediate consequence of the light postulate is that observers in the inertially moving spaceship will not judge the light signal to have slowed, no matter how fast they are moving past us. That is impossible according to classical Newtonian physics."

They will judge the frequency to have decreased, in accordance with classical Newtonian physics:

f' = f(1-v/c) = (c-v)/L

where v is the speed of the spaceship (relative to us), f=c/L is the original frequency and L is the wavelength. This means that the light signal is slower in the spaceship (c'=c-v).

Since the "immediate consequence of the light postulate" is false, the light postulate is false as well. That is, the speed of light does depend on the speed of the light source.

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev replied on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 19:00 GMT
Einsteinians are going to waste more money on quantum gravity:

Quantum Gravity in Paris, 26-29 March 2012: "The general subject of the workshop is quantum gravity in all its aspects and approaches. The fundamental definition of the theory is the focal topic..."

There can be no "fundamental definition of the theory" unless Einstein's 1905 false light postulate and its absurd...

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Oct. 2, 2014 @ 15:55 GMT

At least Norton manages making a fool of himself. His attempt to justify SR cannot at all persuade me. The seemingly diagonal path is obviously just a fiction.


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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 22:07 GMT

When light slows down to propagate at c through the spaceship (i.e. 'in it's frame'), it is acting in accordance with both the SR postulates;

1. Doing c everywhere.

2. Behaving the same in all frames.

This is not however as the mainstream interpretation of SR. You have misidentified the flaw in current interpretation. The simplistic claim that it is the postulate that is wrong will get you nowhere as it flies in the face of all evidence.

The answer CONSISTENT with all the evidence indeed more even than SR) is that it is the assumption that any background has to be an ABSOLUTER background that is incorrect.

As the background frame for c on Venus is clearly doing a very different speed to the background field of EARTH'S atmosphere, how can any grownup claim the two are doing the same speed?

Please try to engage in an intelligent conversation to explain that nonsensical assumption.


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Pentcho Valev wrote on Sep. 22, 2014 @ 14:48 GMT
Consequent (Spacetime) Wrong, Antecedent (Light Postulate) True ?

In conversation with Nima Arkani-Hamed, 14:31 : "That idea, the idea that there is an underlying spacetime, we know from many points of view, from many theoretical arguments, we strongly believe that spacetime doesn't really exist. (...) The slogan is that spacetime is doomed and something has to replace it."

The consequent (spacetime) is doomed, doesn't exist, and has to be replaced, but the antecedent (Einstein's 1905 false constant-speed-of-light postulate) should remain (otherwise Einsteinians' children would go hungry in the streets):

Pedro G. Ferreira: "When Einstein started thinking about gravity in 1907, he had already figured out his special theory of relativity, which brought together Newtonian mechanics - how things move, push and pull - and Maxwell's theory of electricity and magnetism. To achieve this, the rules of physics had to change. Space and time became intertwined and the speed of light become sacrosanct and invariant, a cosmic speed limit on any physical process."

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev replied on Sep. 28, 2014 @ 15:49 GMT
Spacetime Wrong, Light Postulate True ?

WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Steve Giddings: "Spacetime. Physics has always been regarded as playing out on an underlying stage of space and time. Special relativity joined these into spacetime... (...) The apparent need to retire classical spacetime as a fundamental concept is profound..."

Philip Ball: "And by making the clock's tick relative - what happens simultaneously for one observer might seem sequential to another - Einstein's theory of special relativity not only destroyed any notion of absolute time but made time equivalent to a dimension in space: the future is already out there waiting for us; we just can't see it until we get there. This view is a logical and metaphysical dead end, says Smolin."

"Was Einstein wrong? At least in his understanding of time, Smolin argues, the great theorist of relativity was dead wrong. What is worse, by firmly enshrining his error in scientific orthodoxy, Einstein trapped his successors in insoluble dilemmas..."

Yet Einstein's 1905 false constant-speed-of-light postulate is true, isn't it, Steve Giddings?

Pentcho Valev

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Sep. 29, 2014 @ 05:28 GMT
Thank you Pentcho for pointing to .

I refer to a suggestion by Tegmark: "Infinity should be retired".

In contrast to him, I was never seduced, mesmerized and blend by Cantor, and I used infinity as a quite useful property with one caveat: It is naive to look for physical counterparts to ideal mathematical models such as infinity. While I see Einstein rather critical, I agree with him on that there are presumably no physical singularities.

Gauss was hardly correct in his letter when he protested against the use of infinity in mathematics. On the other hand, Wolfgang Mueckenheim in Augsburg is perhaps not wrong when he argues against the mainstream that infinity cannot be found in reality. As Tegmark explains, this includes continuity in its original meaning as the property of something every part of which has parts.

However, given space and time were also discrete, didn't this require the length of a square being commensurable to the length of its hypotenuse?

Are "infinity-free equations" really "the true laws of physics"? To some extent I agree: Block time and unitarity should be questioned. The distinction between past and future must no longer be seen as an illusion.

For this reason I support your criticism, Pentcho.


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Vladimir Rogozhin replied on Sep. 29, 2014 @ 11:02 GMT
Hello. Pencho,

Thanks for the links. A lot of interesting articles. I agree with Steve Giddings, especially with the last sentence:

The apparent need to retire classical spacetime as a fundamental concept is profound, and confronts the reality that a clear successor is not yet in sight. Different approaches to the underlying quantum framework exist; some show promise but none yet clearly resolve our decades-old conundrums in black holes and cosmology. The emergence of such a successor is likely to be a key element in the next major revolution in physics.

For a revolution in the views on the "space" and "time" need a deep philosophy, I would call it a dialectical ontology, which gives new ideas.



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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Sep. 28, 2014 @ 20:13 GMT
The problem is that QM and GR - the parametric theories without ontological justification. Their union has no deeper meaning. Let each working on his "field." It is not necessary to "kill" time. It is necessary to understand its nature. To understand it (gripe) first mate - is Carthusian "the qualitative quantum". With it, it is necessary to look deeper ontological basis of fundamental knowledge for the "grand unification". This ontological basis provides new insights into the structure of space, time and nature of the information, their "place" in the scientific picture of the world. "The ontological (structural) memory" knocking on the door to the physicists. Memory of the Universum can not kill.


Vladimir Rogozhin

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DURGA DAS DATTA. wrote on Jul. 7, 2016 @ 01:51 GMT
What exactly is time? Can it dilate or we are observing dilation due to measurement by atomic clock. Even no relativistic effects as change of position may give changed time in atomic clocks. Then what is non relativistic time dilation or is it measurement dilation? We say gravity is fundamental force having potential and infinite field. All such assumptions from standard model as also mass less graviton may be wrong . Gravity is emergent from action/reaction of graviton at molecular level--we call classical gravity . Again when gravitons reacts at quark level inside protons and neutrons,---we call quantum gravity. This theory replaces strong and weak nuclear forces with quantum gravity , predicting massive graviton as force carrier replacing gluon. We have to be careful in dealing gravity, dark matter etc etc and all unnecessary assumptions in standard model. READ MY THEORY OF EMERGENT GRAVITY AND A NEW PICTURE OF OUR UNIVERSE IN THIS ATTACHED PAPER AND WRITE ME PERSONNALY ...DURGADAS.DDATTA@GMAIL.COM. Do not criticize openly as the theory largely speculative and waiting for confirmation from LHC experiments.

attachments: New_Physics_with_Emergent_Gravity_Mechanism..doc

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Steve Agnew replied on Jul. 9, 2016 @ 16:43 GMT
Time is simply a property of each object. Just like color or mass or spin, objects also tell different atomic times. Atomic time emerges from the actions of objects just as space emerges from those same actions and so relativity means time is different for each frame of reference.

However there is one object that tells a unique time from an unchanging frame of reference and that is the universe. The action of the universe tells a very slow and unique time since the action of the universe is very slow and the universe has a fixed frame of reference...the CMB. That universe time is a second time dimension that is in some sense orthogonal to the frame-dependent atomic times of all of its objects.

Thus time is really no mystery...the mysteries are with matter and action...

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 9, 2016 @ 21:42 GMT
Hi Steve, you have written "Time is simply a property of each object." I don't think that alone is sufficient as time is not merely one concept. As you then go on to talk about atomic time I think you may be thinking about atomic vibration used in timekeeping. You have space and time emergent from action, which I think maybe another concept. Then you conclude with relativity, which is due to yet another concept of time and as I see it not just a product of the material change due to individual actions. I've written individual actions as that is how you are describing time. I ( and J.C.N. Smith) regard it as change of whole configurations and I think that is important because it is the relations within the configurations that provide the forces for ongoing change. Not explicable with individual object times. Mater and action are not the whole story another ontological layer, the distribution of EM radiation. is required for Einstein's relativity.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jul. 9, 2016 @ 22:28 GMT
Durga, there are two different classes of phenomena occurring both attributed to time dilation. One class of phenomenon is the difference to the derived output reality, seen as difference in the rates of change by comparison because of the way in which EM information is received in different reference frames. The second class is alteration of timekeeping due to an effect upon the substantial timepiece or timepieces. The need to have precise frequency matching to generate an accurate event together with sensitivity to disturbance could tie together a lesser number of events and greater instability of the clock on the anti-rotation journey. The higher frequency for the plane with the greatest velocity, exceeding the Earth rotation, in the Earth rotation direction, also needs mentioning. It could be due to the increase in mass of the atomic nuclei used for time event generation, due to additional inertia (resistance to change of motion ) at that higher velocity. That might have a dampening effect on the

noise causing imprecise frequency matching. Giving a cleaner faster matched frequency generation and consequent faster rate of the clock.

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