Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Definition of 'Time'

  1. May 6, 2007 #1
    I don't wish to start another philisophical discussion about timespace or relativity. I have searched the forum but can someone quickly tell me what the definition of 'Time' is. Please use fundamental terms only. Do not use duration or period as this is as if a synomyn. Here is Encarta's definition: "A period in which an action/event takes to occur. Time can be affected through motion (SR) or space (GR)." But notice the use of the term period. So can someone help?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2007 #2
    Let's just call it the fourth dimension and leave it at that. things get very compicated to explain unless you want to indulge yourself in relativistic mathematical equations.
  4. May 6, 2007 #3
    Well... I am writing this PDF called: "The Mathematics of Special Relativity". In the Glossary section I have a word calle time... I just want to know what to put in it
  5. May 6, 2007 #4
    Also if it were a 4th Dimension, I just think of it parametrically, still that does not define it... I just want a simple fundamental definition to type in the slot for TIME in the Glossary
  6. May 6, 2007 #5

    Gib Z

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    You could just define it as the 4th co ordinate t in the Minkowski model of space-time. That shouldn't cause any problems seeing as you are describing the mathematics of space-time..
  7. May 6, 2007 #6
    Time is a "primary concept", and you cannot define it. You can define mathematical things and call them "time". But the time that you "feel" with the pulse in your wrists, the time that makes you get older, cannot be defined.
  8. May 6, 2007 #7
    Yes that is what I thought, as it is after all an SI Unit. I think I shall just define it in a sort of parametric way...
  9. May 6, 2007 #8
    You can use the phrase of wikipedia:
    In Physics, time and space are considered fundamental (i.e. they cannot be defined in other terms)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook