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

Relation of Space to Time

  1. Mar 20, 2014 #1
    I asked this question at AskMrPhysics and received no response so...either it's a really stupid idea/question that doesn't deserve to be answered or no one can help me with a response. I'm hoping that someone here will either let me down gently and tell me to stop asking dumb questions or help me answer this.

    First, I'm a physics hobbyist. I took physics in college but was not a physics major; I just have a fascination with time, space and how everything fits together.

    The idea/question: My idea is that space is a result of the flow of time, similar to how the flow of electricity causes magnetic fields (right hand thumb rule and so on). I thought this might be a reason for the supposed curvature of space because it flows in a circular 'field' at nn degrees (if we 'slice' the flow of time arbitrarily) around the time 'flow'. It might also give a small explanation to how the universe expanded faster than the speed of light directly after the Big Bang - if the Big Bang wasn't an explosion of space but rather an explosion of time with space being the result of the 'sudden' flow of time. The question is - how would I prove or disprove this experimentally? Or even mathematically?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Welcome to PF Kenn. The big bang was not an explosion (in space or time), and it is a common misconception that space "expanded faster than the speed of light" after the big bang. I would encourage you to read up on the big bang a bit to get past some of the misconceptions, which can really lead you astray. It's always wise to have a firm grasp of the concordance understanding before developing your own hypotheses.
  4. Mar 20, 2014 #3
    What a gentle way to tell you to wise up. You 'took physics'. OK, so you don't remember it? Where do we start? Special Relativity? Quantum Mechanics? General Relativity? Classical electrodynamics? Classical Mechanics (LaGrangian and Hamiltonian)? The only clear way to communicate this stuff is through mathematics. That should be obvious. So: define what you mean by "flow". lets call time, t, so what is this "flow of time" you write about? Please write out the "right hand rule and so on" for your concept. Then we can discuss it. It SHOULD be obvious, I mean glaringly, blindingly, obvious, that any kind of flow has to occur IN something (as well as being composed OF something). So, what is the IN something? Can't be space, right? Space, according to you is the RESULT of the flow, not a prequisite. So, time is moving...relative to what?
  5. Mar 20, 2014 #4
    Okay...so...flow. Hmmm. Let time t1 be a temporal point that encompasses event 1 (e1?). Let time t2 be a temporal point that encompasses event 2 (e2) which occurs an arbitrary period of time (delta t) after point one. Then 'flow' would be the delta t - the passage of time from point t1 to t2. Take it further, let time t1 be the absolute beginning of time (point of the big bang since that is generally accepted as the beginning of time or a temporal point at the immediate start of the Planck epoch). Let time t2 be the point of time where our universe ends (in whatever way theorized for it to end); in this, I mean the exact instant when our universe ends (the end of time though except for the 'contraction scenario' and the 'great rip' I've never really heard of time ending). the absolute flow of time, then would be t2 - t1 or delta t.

    The right hand rule: open your hand so the palm is towards your face, your fingers are together and the thumb is pointed up (90 degrees from the direction your other fingers are pointing). Now, gently curl your fingers but don't close them. Electrical current moving in the direction of your thumb (which I never understood, really, because the current is caused by electrons moving in the opposite direction -- but, as you showed me, there is much I don't know) will cause a magnetic field moving in the direction of your fingers.

    My idea probably came to me because electricity relates to magnetism so we get electromagnetic fields = Space relates to Time so we get Space-Time. When reading about space expanding faster than light just after the big bang (I might have heard it in a science show, actually - but here's a link I just found which talks about it and makes the distinction between spatial expansion and information transference: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=387 [Broken]). So, because I can't think in four dimensions I considered a 3 dimensional representation of time as a limitless field extending away from me (down my one timeline as it were) with that exact second as the 'start of flow' or t1. This started me thinking about how electricity causes magnetism (and magnetism can cause electricity) and perhaps nature had 'borrowed' that idea from Space-Time - maybe space was caused by time (and, perhaps, space can cause time somehow). I admit I thought it was a silly idea -- but I've always been taught that we can learn from experimentation so I began to wonder how I - as a part of the space that time is causing - could possibly prove or disprove it. I could think of no experiments to do it and I couldn't even think of a mathematical way to quantify it since I am wrapped in both space and time.

    Now, as to time moving in relation to something - just like electricity can cause magnetism and magnetism can cause electricity, it could be something like that. I agree that flow had to occur in a medium and I could make outlandish speculations about what that medium is...but in truth, no one has determined what is beyond space-time...they just agree that _something_ is beyond space time...and that something had to exist before time, etc. Maybe it's other universes, maybe a 'fifth' dimension beyond time, maybe it's God...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Mar 20, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Who are they? (I just ask for clarification of what you mean)
  7. Mar 20, 2014 #6
    Sorry, I'm not quoting anyone in particular. Everything I've read about our universe and what is 'beyond' it or 'before' it or even 'after' it is complete supposition. I've read some of what Hawking has written ('A Brief History of Time', for example, which is dumbed down so laymen like me can hope to understand it) and he suggests the big bang could not have come from nothing but that there must be something else out there which generated the matter which is our universe. Neil Tyson, Einstein - they all agree that there is something beyond our universe.
  8. Mar 20, 2014 #7
    It's not unreasonable to believe that there is something beyond our observable, or indeed whole universe, if that is the "simplest" explanation of nature available to us. This isn't controversial. I doubt that any serious cosmologist believes otherwise anymore.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  9. Mar 20, 2014 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    First, I'd like to point out that the phrase "space expanded faster than light" is not a very good explanation and it is unfortunate that so many articles, books, and shows describe expansion this way. Expansion, in a general sense, is measured as a rate, not a single velocity. This is because the distance between points further away from each other grows much faster than points close to each other, so a single velocity cannot describe expansion properly. However, if we describe expansion by saying "the rate of expansion is X velocity per Y distance between points" then we get an equation that describes the expansion perfectly, as we can apply this to any two points, no matter how far apart they are. We can also say that the distance grows as a percentage over time.

    Yes, it is widely believed by most cosmologists (or so I'm told) that most don't believe the universe came from nothing. My personal belief is that the universe has always existed in one form or another.
  10. Mar 21, 2014 #9
    Ah.. but do they believe that the multiverse came from nothing?
  11. Mar 21, 2014 #10
    I agree. Personally, I like the idea of universal cycles -unitary system(everything) with all possible information within it. I treated fundamental as a transitional mechanism (+/-cyclic bounce). It's one way (or probably the only way) of making sense of infinity. One advantage is that it doesn't give you any function of CREATION and NOTHING just a pure dynamic system that is workable.

    It is not basically 'nothing' but a proposed/hypothetical field-(according to inflationary theory--patches of space time that underwent an inflationary episode and goes on forever or whatever that means--urgh).

    --- Or probably fundamental field/fundamental transition phase (non-singular model-dynamic bounces-modified Friedman Equation where there is some sort of bounce transitional vacuum-scalar field displacement) because eventually they have to deal or make sense of that resultant INFINITY somehow.
  12. Mar 21, 2014 #11


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  13. Mar 23, 2014 #12


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Please note that speculation is not permitted here at PF. While I realise that this thread was started for a good reason and by a new poster, and that there is a fine line between questioning and speculating, this thread really crosses the line.

    Kenn.Guilstorf: welcome to the forum. Perhaps you might like to read the FAQs on this subject; you are welcome to ask if there is anything you don't understand, but please refrain from speculating about theories.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook