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Is time also quantized?

  1. Jan 20, 2008 #1

    Lately I was wondering whether or not time is also "quantized". By that I mean that, is time something continuous or more like something discrete, i.e does there exist an indivisible entity of time? I know that energy (or, equivalently matter) is quantized. Maybe time is as well? That we see our world just like a camera, but instead of a refreshing rate of 60 times a second, it is refreshed ten thousand billion times a second (just for example).
    I'm not a professional physicist, and I know that time is something that is not well understood. I was just wondering if any recent research or recently developed theories allows us to understand time better. You guys probably know more about what's going on in the world of physics research. What are the main theories about time?

    Thank you.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2008 #2


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    I don't know very much about this subject, but the theory exists that on small enough distance scales (< Planck length) spacetime becomes "granular" and it just looks smooth from "far away". Not sure whether that is a generally accepted idea and if it is relevant to your question though...
  4. Jan 20, 2008 #3


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    If you're asking whether we have already established that time is quantized the same way we have established other quantizations in quantum mechanics, the quick answer is no.

    While there may be theories floating around that imply quantization of time, these aren't verified yet and at this point, may be a long ways away from being verified. Until they are verified, we will go with what we know now.

  5. Jan 20, 2008 #4
    "Is time also quantized?"

    The word "also" seems unjustified. There is no fundamental discrete amount of energy. Free particles, moving as wave packets, have continuous spectrum of energy. The energy quantization occurs only in certain kind of potentials, and then the allowed energy states depend on the potential. Furthermore, the spatial space is not quantized either to be anything discrete in the usual formulation of QM. It is still the mathematical [itex]\mathbb{R}^3[/itex], that has so far proven to be (locally) the best approximation to our real physical space.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
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