# Synchronized Clocks: Will They Remain in Sync Forever?

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• Rishi Tharun
In summary, two ideal synchronized clocks placed at rest in the same inertial frame will remain synchronized forever. However, to an observer moving relative to the frame, the clocks will never appear to be in sync, as synchronisation is a matter of convention and relative to the chosen inertial frame of observation.
Rishi Tharun
Will the synchronized clocks placed in an inertial frame remain synchronized forever?

Rishi Tharun said:
Will the synchronized clocks placed in an inertial frame remain synchronized forever?
Yes. Two clocks each at rest and remaining at rest relative to the same inertial frame after having been synchronized once will remain so indefinitely.

Note that you do not place things in a frame of reference. You set them at rest relative to such a frame.

To an observer moving relative to the frame, will they appear to lose their sync?

jbriggs444 said:
Yes. Two clocks each at rest and remaining at rest relative to the same inertial frame after having been synchronized once will remain so indefinitely.

Note that you do not place things in a frame of reference. You set them at rest relative to such a frame.
To an observer moving relative to the frame, will they appear to lose their sync?

They will never be in sync, viewed from a frame where they are not at rest (assuming they are synced in their rest frame).

Edit: be careful with "appear". A clock at rest right next to you showing 12:00:00 is in sync with one a light second away that appears to you to show 11:59:59. Relativity is what's left after you correct for that.

Arup Biswas
Arup Biswas said:
in a single inertial frame two clocks can never be absolutely synchronised...!
This would be correct if you'd left out the "single inertial frame". It is true that there is no absolute sense in which two clocks are synchronised. Adding in the bit about the inertial frame is just confusion. An inertial frame is a choice of clock synchronisation convention - so "with a choice of clock synchronisation convention there is no absolute synchronisation" is tautological at best.

Arup Biswas said:
What do i mean by 'Synchronisation'!
Conventionally, you assume light speed is the same in both directions. Then one clock sets itself to zero and emits a light pulse. The other clock receives the light pulse at a time it calls T and returns the pulse. The first clock receives this pulse at time 2T and returns the pulse. The second clock receives this pulse at 3T. This is all it needs to work out the value of T and deduce when it should have zeroed itself. Assuming the clocks are at rest with respect to one another and working properly they will now be in sync. Both can easily confirm that the other always appears to lag by time T.

This is the Einstein synchronisation convention, and is what is meant by "synchronised" in special relativity unless otherwise stated, as far as I am aware. Other conventions are, of course, possible.

Arup Biswas said:
Synchronisation is not possible for us to understand
That clock synchronisation cannot be absolute does not mean that it is impossible to understand. It just means that synchronisation must be a matter of conventional choice.

jbriggs444
Rishi Tharun said:
Will the synchronized clocks placed in an inertial frame remain synchronized forever?
Yes, two (ideal) synchronized clocks at rest in the same inertial frame will remain synchronized forever.
Rishi Tharun said:
To an observer moving relative to the frame, will they appear to lose their sync?
There is nothing to "lose", to a moving observer they were never in sync. The two clocks can be observed in sync and not in sync depending on the inertial frame chosen for the observation, it's just a matter of perspective. Yet, that doesn't make it "apparent" either, it just means that synchronization is relative.

## 1. What is the concept of synchronized clocks?

Synchronized clocks refer to a group of clocks that are set to the same time and are able to maintain that same time over a period of time. This is achieved through the use of a common time reference, such as an atomic clock.

## 2. How do synchronized clocks work?

Synchronized clocks work by receiving signals from a common time reference, which is typically an atomic clock. These signals are used to adjust the time on the clock to ensure that it remains in sync with the reference time.

## 3. Can synchronized clocks ever become out of sync?

While synchronized clocks are designed to maintain the same time, there are factors that can cause them to become out of sync over time. These factors include environmental conditions, aging of the clocks, and interference with the time signals.

## 4. How long can synchronized clocks remain in sync?

The length of time that synchronized clocks can remain in sync varies depending on the accuracy of the clocks and the stability of the time signals they receive. In ideal conditions, synchronized clocks can remain in sync for long periods of time, but in real-world situations, they may require periodic adjustments.

## 5. Is it necessary to have synchronized clocks?

Synchronized clocks are essential in certain industries where precise timekeeping is critical, such as in the financial sector and in scientific research. However, for everyday use, synchronized clocks are not necessary as most modern devices have built-in timekeeping capabilities that are accurate enough for daily use.

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