Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is TIME?

 "Time… is what keeps everything from happening at once"- Ray Cummings
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects. Time has been a major subject of religionphilosophy, and science, but defining it in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars.
Time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimensionin which events occur in sequenceSir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.Time travel, in this view, becomes a possibility as other "times" persist like frames of a film strip, spread out across the time line. The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events.


In 5th century BC GreeceAntiphon the Sophist, in a fragment preserved from his chief work On Truth held that: "Time is not a reality (hypostasis), but a concept (noêma) or a measure (metron)."Parmenides went further, maintaining that time, motion, and change were illusions, leading to the paradoxes of his follower Zeno.[35] Time as illusion is also a common theme in Buddhist thought,and some modern philosophers have carried on with this theme. J. M. E. McTaggart's 1908 The Unreality of Time, for example, argues that time is unreal 
However, these arguments often center around what it means for something to be "real". Modern physicists generally consider time to be as "real" as space, though others such as Julian Barbour in his book The End of Time, argue that quantum equations of the universe take their true form when expressed in the timeless configuration spacerealm containing every possible "Now" or momentary configuration of the universe, which he terms 'platonia'

Classical mechanics

In classical mechanics, Newton's concept of "relative, apparent, and common time" can be used in the formulation of a prescription for the synchronization of clocks. Events seen by two different observers in motion relative to each other produce a mathematical concept of time that works pretty well for describing the everyday phenomena of most people's experience.

Time has historically been closely related with space, the two together comprising spacetime in Einstein's special relativity and general relativity. According to these theories, the concept of time depends on the spatial reference frame of the observer, and the human perception as well as the measurement by instruments such as clocks are different for observers in relative motion. The past is the set of events that can send light signals to the observer; the future is the set of events to which the observer can send light signals.
In physicsspacetime (or space–timespace time) is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted with space as being three-dimensional and time playing the role of a fourth dimension that is of a different sort from the spatial dimensions. According to certain Euclidean space perceptions, the universe has three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. By combining space and time into a single manifold, physicists have significantly simplified a large number of physical theories, as well as described in a more uniform way the workings of the universe at both the supergalactic and subatomic levels.
In classical mechanics, the use of Euclidean space instead of spacetime is appropriate, as time is treated as universal and constant, being independent of the state of motion of an observer. In relativistic contexts, however, time cannot be separated from the three dimensions of space, because the observed rate at which time passes for an object depends on the object's velocity relative to the observer and also on the strength of intense gravitational fields, which can slow the passage of time.
The concept of spacetime combines space and time to a single abstract "space", for which a unified coordinate system is chosen. Typically three spatial dimensions (length, width, height), and one temporal dimension (time) are required. Dimensions are independent components of a coordinate grid needed to locate a point in a certain defined "space". For example, on the globe the latitude andlongitude are two independent coordinates which together uniquely determine a location. In spacetime, a coordinate grid that spans the 3+1 dimensions locates events (rather than just points in space), i.e. time is added as another dimension to the coordinate grid. This way the coordinates specify where and when events occur. However, the unified nature of spacetime and the freedom of coordinate choice it allows imply that to express the temporal coordinate in one coordinate system requires both temporal and spatial coordinates in another coordinate system. Unlike in normal spatial coordinates, there are still restrictions for how measurements can be made spatially and temporally (see Spacetime intervals). These restrictions correspond roughly to a particular mathematical modelwhich differs from Euclidean space in its manifest symmetry.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, time was believed to be independent of motion, progressing at a fixed rate in all reference frames; however, later experiments revealed that time slowed down at higher speeds of the reference frame relative to another reference frame (with such slowing called "time dilation" explained in the theory of "special relativity" ). Many experiments have confirmed time dilation, such as atomic clocks onboard a Space Shuttle running slower than synchronized Earth-bound inertial clocks and the relativistic decay of muons from cosmic ray showers. The duration of time can therefore vary for various events and various reference frames. When dimensions are understood as mere components of the grid system, rather than physical attributes of space, it is easier to understand the alternate dimensional views as being simply the result of coordinate transformations.
The term spacetime has taken on a generalized meaning beyond treating spacetime events with the normal 3+1 dimensions. It is really the combination of space and time. Other proposed spacetime theories include additional dimensions—normally spatial but there exist some speculative theories that include additional temporal dimensions and even some that include dimensions that are neither temporal nor spatial. How many dimensions are needed to describe the universe is still an open question. Speculative theories such as string theory predict 10 or 26 dimensions (with M-theorypredicting 11 dimensions: 10 spatial and 1 temporal), but the existence of more than four dimensions would only appear to make a difference at the subatomic level.
The general definition of time in physics usually refers to Spacetime which can be measured in light years.
We shall discuss next of Time dilation.
A. Einstein, H. A. Lorentz, H. Weyl, H. Minkowski, The Principle of Relativity
Ghandchi, Sam : Editor/Publisher (2004-01-16). "Space and New Thinking"

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