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Time Dilation

  1. Mar 6, 2012 #1
    Question from a layman.

    All the experiments that have been done,
    muons, atomic clocks in jets, ect
    All of these involve measuring time with subatomic particles.

    Has there been experiments to confirm time dilation w/o the use
    of particles?
    (Maybe like a computer program syncing and calculating
    the time in and out of the gravity well or at different elevations
    over a long period of time? I know most if not all Satellites
    use atomic clocks as well which would involve subatomic particles.)

    I do not doubt that the math involved in confirming the results
    are correct but is it possible that gravity or velocity or something else is
    having effects on the subatomic particles causing the above
    mentioned experiments to be inaccurate?

    Inaccurate may not be the right word,
    but causing the variables to be different
    from what we perceive them to be?

    Thanks for any info you can provide me.

    Steven K
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    particles are very fundamental. A computer actually is composed of and relies on particles to operate so having the computer demonstrate time dilation is akin to demonstrating it via particles. GPS satellites have embedded computers which exhibit the time dilation effect and so corrective timing is required to keep them in sync.
  4. Mar 6, 2012 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    This is incorrect. Atomic clocks don't measure time with subatomic particles, they measure time with atoms.

    How big a clock is simply isn't relevant. All that is relevant is whether or not the law of physics which governs the clock is Lorentz violating or not.

    Atomic clocks prove that EM based clocks time dilate. Astronomical observations prove that gravity based clocks time dilate. Muon observations prove that weak-force based clocks time dilate. Kaon observations prove that strong-force based clocks time dilate. There is nothing left, all possible clocks based on any known mechanism time dilate.
  5. Mar 6, 2012 #4
    Even with the atomic clocks, relativity hasn't been tested that accurately because the effects of the theory only affect time scales that the atomic clocks themselves can hardly read at velocities we normally experience.
  6. Mar 6, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This doesn't prove or disprove your case (since it uses atomic clocks), but it is an awesome example of human-scale amateur-accessible relativity.


    This guy took his whole family up to the top of Mt.Ranier along with some atomic clocks to show how real GR time dilation is.
  7. Mar 6, 2012 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Nonsense. Modern atomic clocks are precise enough to measure gravitational time dilation on the scale of 33 cm and velocity time dilation at 20 mph. Furthermore, we can accelerate particles very close to c and observe their behavior in the lab. Relativity has been tested that accurately.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  8. Mar 6, 2012 #7
    That is flippin' wild! 33cm & 20mph. I've always thought my feet looked younger than my hands :smile:.
  9. Mar 6, 2012 #8
    So short people who jog regularly live longer. Who knew...
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