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What is the smallest reference of time

  1. Feb 24, 2010 #1
    ive heard of nano seconds, pico seconds and what not, but im wondering what the absolute resolution of time is? im leaning towards infinite
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2010 #2
    If by "infinite", you mean "infinitely short", you'd be mistaken. Time, as it relates to the field of quantum mechanics, is discreet; not continuous. That is to say, if we were ever to measure the shortest period between t0 and t1, we'd find that there's no "time" in between t0 and t1. Just how short of a time the differetial is dependent on the kinetic energies of the particles we are measuring (bear in mind that Einstein revolutionized our concept of physical reality by unifying time and space into a single, fourth-dimentional, "space-time continuum." Thus, space may be that distance between the two particles being measured; hence we arrive at an answer to your time question).
  4. Feb 24, 2010 #3
    In some theory,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time" [Broken]is the smallest interval of time
    BUT keep in mind that this has NOT been confirmed yet.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Feb 24, 2010 #4
    Such things would likely always remain theoretical. One can construct a law around the idea that time is a discreet unit, but proving the law would likely remain elusive.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Feb 25, 2010 #5
    This is linked with many other infinite problems such as:

    If you take a pencil and you bring it closer and closer to a desk - firstly it is 1cm away, then 0.1cm away, then 0.01cm...0.0000000001cm

    And for it to actually reach the table - it would have to pass the infinitely small value and reach 0.
  7. Oct 22, 2010 #6
    I also think the smallest unit of time would be Planck time, I find it easier to understand time by looking at Planck time as a single frame animation in a cartoon. I don't think a time frame could be shorter than this, as, if I understand it correctly, c limits it.


    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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