1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Universal Time

  1. Sep 4, 2013 #1
    So this has been keeping me up, and racking on my brain lately and I'm wondering if there are any theories currently out there that points to what I'm seeing/understanding.

    Now this may or may not conflict with Relativity, it may encompass it, and I'm not sure what applications it may have if it were validated or understood mathematically, none the less its fascinating.

    So as far as I can tell, there's a fairly large general consensus on the big bang theory, placing a point and time to when the universe came into being (approx 13.8 billion yrs ago). I'll use this as a reference point to discuss my conundrum with there not being universal clock, but even if this was not the "start" I still think what I'm about to say holds up.

    So if we all can agree that there is a point in time 13.8 billion years ago, and you and I are in a room talking right now about what happened between "now" and then, would it be safe to say there was an infinite amount of moments/intervals that took place? If so would not all things in all places in all of "existence" (including god, or what ever overarching belief you may have) be happening over those same infinite amount of intervals/moments?

    If so, there seems like there is a constant of Universal Time.

    I would even say all reference points are including in this and no amount of anything (light speed or faster) would be no more or no less than those infinite amount of intervals/moments in Universal Time.

    Now one might say, well I don't believe the universe began at 13.8 billion years ago or I think existence was always around so you can't talk about a beginning, read on, otherwise I'd like to hear thoughts or other theories which point to this so I can look at what they have to say.......

    Now if you don't believe in the big bang, then I'd imagine you'd still believe in the passing of your subjective experience of time while talking to a friend. I'd imagine you could say that there was a moment before you two met to the point at which you did meet. If you can agree on that, then you have two points in which all of existence happened in a infinite amount of intervals/moments and included all reference points, speed of travel, and anything else you can think of. If this is so, I think it is safe to say all those things in existence happened along the same infinite amount of intervals/moments/time.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I don't think there have been an 'infinite' amount of intervals between the present and the BB. The actual number of intervals will depend on what your definition of 'interval' is. Truly, there have been a large number of intervals, but in math, a large number is not equal to infinity.

    Other than that, can you express the point of your ramble in the OP in a single, concise sentence?
  4. Sep 4, 2013 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Your framing is a little confusing to me, but the short answer is no: the fact that according to our clocks 13.8 byr has passed does not imply that someone else's clock would also show 13.8byr.
  5. Sep 4, 2013 #4
    Hi SteamKing,

    Let me expand and perhaps your interperting interval wrongly or I'm using it inaccurately. Anything in existence is happing/real/present, how ever you want to call it right? Electrons are happening, their traveling is happening, the existence of distance itself is happening, quarks are happening, thoughts are happening, light is happening, human aging is happening, radiation decay is happening, all things that are happening right "now", whether or not they started with the big bang or not are happening, right?

    Now they all maybe happening in their own special way, maybe its a heartbeat that beats at rate you chose to breakdown into seconds, or human aging at rate you chose, but either way all those phenomenon can be broken down into a "infinite" amount of moments, right? Or another way of saying it, is you can break down that infinite amount of frames per what ever you want to call it......

    So, if all things are happening at a passage of time that is "infinity", then Universal Time could be said to be passing at "Infinity Ticks".

    IF time is passing at the rate of "Infinite Ticks", then I think you can say; either, anything in existence that happens between two chosen points that have passed, or one point that has happened and one point that is the present "now", will have gone through the same amount of "infinite ticks" within those two chosen points.
  6. Sep 4, 2013 #5
  7. Sep 4, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There's no reason to divide any interval of time into infinite number of "ticks" other than to make your life more miserable.
    If you do that, then two intervals of different length(say, a second and an hour) will both be composed of infinite number of ticks, only one will have 3600 times "more of infinity" of ticks.

    It's much healthier for our sanity to set a discrete interval as our base unit.

    We could use some basic physical process that is known to always take the same amount of time, as they do with atomic clocks(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_clock).

    Using these units, we might say that the universe is X units old, because X of the processes happened during it's existence.

    The point everybody is making here, is that the same process that always takes the same amount of time on Earth, will, comparatively, take a different amount of time on a planet with a different strength of gravitational field, or on a spaceship travelling at high speeds relative to us.

    And if you were to insist on the division of time into infinite tiny ticks, then it still holds that there would be either more or less of the infinite ticks depending on the reference frame.
  8. Sep 4, 2013 #7

    The theory your referring to may be true and the linearity that you speak of, but the point I'm trying to make from my vantage point, is it doesn't seem possible to separate yourself from the unified progress of all things, to become older or younger than that progress. I'm using older and younger to express the concept of age or happening/happened.

    Someone going at X amount of light years on a plane may age (how ever it is you define aging, skin sagging, radiation decaying, moon cycles taking place) in relation to all those around them, but still each individual is of the same universal age.
  9. Sep 4, 2013 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Objects exist, events happen; objects do not "happen". So that paragraph has no meaning I can discern.
    No. Saying that something happens in one minute, 60 seconds, 120 half seconds or 240 quarter seconds (repeat to infinity) does not change the actual interval of time that passed, only the definition of the units used to measure it. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the concept of "Universal Time."
  10. Sep 4, 2013 #9


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    What does it mean to say that two individuals are of the same "universal age"? To build on russ_watter's point above:
    Suppose my clock, and all the other time-dependent processes going on around me (the graying of my hair, the decay of samples of radioactive material, the oscillations of a nearby cesium atom at 9,192,631,770 cycles per second, ...) all agree that 13.8 byr have passed.

    Someone else, who was with me at the birth of the universe and zeroed his clock as we shook hands back then, but then headed off into a remote part of the universe looks at his clock and it reads something else, say 10 byr. In the region of space near him, all those time-dependent processes agree with this.

    Do we both have the same "universal age", and is it 13.8 or 10, or is it something else altogether? And how would we decide which is right?
  11. Sep 4, 2013 #10


    Staff: Mentor

    You could say the same about the last second. You can subdivide any finite interval of real numbers into an infinite number of sub-intervals. So what? None of the rest of what you say seems to have any relation to that.
  12. Sep 4, 2013 #11
    Hi Russ,

    Thanks for responding. When you say objects don't happen, I'm not sure I agree. No object is static, it can't be suspended in to time with no connection to anything else, its gotta be in a motion of change/time, so thus its happening. A chair is happening, a rock is happening. While this is going into a little different direction my original point, I think it may flush out more of where my perspective is coming from.
  13. Sep 4, 2013 #12
    Hi Sci Advisor,

    Thanks for the inquiry. Lets see, so your question is during the proposed situation what is the universal time, 13.8 or 10 or something else. Its the time of where ever the universe is at at that point when your asking this question. Those measurements of 13.8 and 10 are also real and are records of those phenomenon.

    Let me elaborate a little more so it hopefully makes what I'm saying a little more clear. Suppose for a minute you could put all of the entire universe (everything) in a snow globe. For the purpose of this example forget that this snow globe is in a room that sits on a table since then you would ask well, where does this room come from and what are its laws. So the entire universe is in a globe and the moment you shake it, it comes into existence and grows to the point where your above situation that you asked me happened. Within the globes context those phenomenon happened and came out with 2 different times of what they thought was the beginning of time according to their understanding of the laws of the universe. But you are in your room seeing all things happen and you know when you shook the globe and when it all started. That is universal time and it does not negate those two measurements.

    I think another way of saying some of what I'm getting at and I don't like the expression is "all is one" and I'd add individuated within.

    Again I'm just using a metaphor to hopefully point you to what I'm talking about, I don't believe we are in a globe.

    I'm hoping your seeing the unification of all occurrence that I'm trying to point to, until you get that, I'm not sure if what I'm saying will make any sense.
  14. Sep 4, 2013 #13


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You're mixing and matching the objects with the events. A chair is an object. A chair falling over is an event. Chairs don't happen, chairs falling over do. The motion you refer to is the event, not the object.
  15. Sep 4, 2013 #14


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That's a common description of what a Universal Time might be. It has nothing to do with your previous statements about dividing time intervals and it doesn't exist.
  16. Sep 4, 2013 #15
    I was dividing the "one is all" event into the intervals as a way to express what I'm talking about more scientifically.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  17. Sep 4, 2013 #16


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Ok....well, the infinite dividing thing sounds vaguely similar to Zeno's paradox. It stems from a misunderstanding of the math of infinitesimals. But again, it has nothing to do with the concept of absolute time. You're wrong about both ideas, separately; Separate issues, separate mistakes.
  18. Sep 4, 2013 #17
    And as for a chair happening, I guess its a difference Semantics and perception, in a "one is all" view "all" individual aspect of all, is happening.

    And in terms of it isn't "doesn't exist", would you not say the same of Einsteins Work/Theory if you were looking at in as a cave man with mythological beliefs/foundations?
  19. Sep 4, 2013 #18
    Also could you atleast say why from your point of view instead of its wrong?
  20. Sep 4, 2013 #19


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    In this analogy, I'm the caveman and you are Einstein? Really?

    I'm not a caveman, you are not Einstein and we are not burdened by the lack of knowledge and misconceptions that the cavemen had. You need to stop speculating and believing that in your ignorance lies supreme knowledge and instead start learning real science. Thread locked.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook