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Infinitessimal time

  1. Feb 16, 2004 #1
    My title is an oxymoron. Anyway, I don't know anything about physics really but I would like to have a question discussed. the answers will help me develop an idea I have for a science fiction story. This is my interpretation of time.
    It is niether fully the property of the "space-time" dimensional fabric nor the property of consciousness, but rather a reciprocation between the two. Therefore, Time is so puzzling even to geniuses because it is not fully explainable through quantum mechanics. Because it is entwined in our perceptions, our mind, it is difficult to distance ourselves enough from it to objectively understand it, as we can do with other subjects like gravity and momentum. Instead We have abandoned the science of the mind, leaving it to religion and pseudo-science ..... Time roughly defined is temporal duration, and we can ascribe duration to past and future but the present is without any "time-like" feature, being infintessimal as future becomes past without being anything inbetween. The outermost dimensional fabric has, underlying it, a 5th dimensional fabric, underlied by a 6th and so on. A metaphor of the retina is useful here. Metaphysically, as the basis for consciousness also underlies the outermost dimensional fabric, "the present instant" is like the "blind spot" where the optic nerve enters or exists. Ie. "NOW" is the means by which we perceive time but is itself without the time aspect. Forgive me from introcduciong metaphysical meanderings to this forum, my question is streight forward

    What is the "duration" of now.... it would of course be a semantic difference as no smaller "length" would be possible... it would still be "infinitessimal." My question is whether it could be limited to the Planck lenght? What is the Planck length? Please do not go heavily into mathematics. My other idea is whether the duration of now is related to the critical mass of a star before it collapses (thus tearing a hole in the outermost dimensional fabric). Hmmm, considering that it is proven that a black hole does repair itself (evaorates to those who consider it an actual object), What happens to the matter of the origional star? Does it all disperse as the hole "evaporates" or is it lost, violating the law of conservation?

    thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2004 #2
    "Max Planck (1858-1947), In 1900, proposed a solution to the puzzle of black body radiation. He suggested that rather than allowing the oscillating particles in a heated body to radiate energy continuously, as a wave would, purhaps they where constrained to discrete packets. He called these packets "quanta." The size of the packet of radiation emitted was related to the frequency, so at higher frequencies(shorter wavelengths), energy could only be emitted in large doses." Shana Priwer & Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D.

    The "Planck length" as you put it is not a period of time, but rather a mesurement of energy. The formula is E = hf where h is "Planck's constant."
  4. Feb 20, 2004 #3
    The Planck time,


    which is on the order of 5.6 X 10 (to the)-43 seconds, might be more pertinent than the Planck length (the Planck time is the time it would take for light to traverse the Planck length).
  5. Feb 21, 2004 #4


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    Could you tell us why you think "infinitesmal time" is an oxymoron?
  6. Feb 23, 2004 #5
    Theoretically, the rim of a black hole is very unstable. This instability leads to something known as Hawking radiation, yes after Stephen Hawking. What happens is that the rim of a black hole starts to produce particle/antiparticle pairs because of its instability. When an antiparticle gets sucked into the black hole ( because it appeared into existence on the wrong side of the black hole's rim), it destroys its "normal" partner inside the hole. leaving the "normal" partner that it was created with, free to roam the cosmos. There is no violation because you end the process with as many particles as you started. Eventually, (eons after we are all dead) black holes, if they exist, will "evaporate" in this manner, leaving just as much matter in the universe as they themselves where comprised of. Keep in mind that this is all mathematical conjecture. no one has actually proven that bh's exist, though there do exist a couple of good bh candidates that we know of.
  7. Feb 24, 2004 #6
    Thank-you for the explanation of black hole evaporation.
    To answer the question "why do I consider infinitessimal time an oxymoron?"

    By definition something that is eternal transcends time (eternal is by no means "infinite time," that's the same oxymoron). Since every structure, without exception, existing within time has a beginning and an ending, time itself must also have a "beginning and ending." it is very hard to explain it without contradicting, because the language just isn't suitable. But the dimensional fabric which creates our perception of time has been manifested and it will dissolve. So if "infinite time" is an oxymoron, so is infinitessimal time.
  8. Feb 24, 2004 #7


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    A euclidian plane with an x and y axis has no beginning or end, but objects on it do.
  9. Feb 24, 2004 #8
    Not to get off-topic here, but isn't Hawking basically the most overrated "genius" of all time???
  10. Feb 25, 2004 #9
    Such a plane is also a mathematical construct, it doesn not exist outside of a human mind. Time, the dimension came into existence itself at the big bang.
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