Time | SciByte 2

Time | SciByte 2

We spend some time looking at time, how we have measured it’s passage throughout history, philosophically, how it’s affected by gravity, and the very concept of time itself.

Plus find out why Einstein proposes that we travel through time at the speed of light, how Atomic clocks work, and is it possible gravitational fields warp time?

All that and more, on SciBye!

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Show Notes:

  • “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” – Ray Cummings, Sci-Fi Author


  • Smallest units of time = Planck time [time it takes for light to travel the shortest distance current theories can handle]
  • Why do we always move forward?
  • Is time eternal, or a side effect of “space”?

Philosophy on the Nature of Time:

  • Immanuel Kant believes time is all in our heads, as a necessity to quantify sensory inputs of everyday existence. Also believes in predestination, and that Free Will can only exist outside of Time.
  • Martin Heidegger believes similarly, and that humans should be capable of “stepping out of time” by a specific form of non-associative thinking. The past, present and future can become one within our minds, and experienced in random order. (uhm, excuse me?!?)
  • Henri Bergson believed that Time could not be measured because it is infinite and malleable, and shapes itself to the perceptions of an individual.
  • “Time is an illusion” is a common saying in Buddhist teachings.
  • HG Wells: “There is no difference between time and any of the three dimensions of space except that our consciousness moves along it.” — The Time Machine
  • C. S. Lewis “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” (but do those min pass by at the same rate)

‘When’ was the Start of the Universe, T=0 point

    • Red Shift / Blue ShiftDoppler Effect light waves act similar to sound waves coming towards you or away from you.  Blue shift = Away; Red shift = Near
    • Type 1A Supernova – PIC – To judge distance and speed [red shift/blue shift]
    • Roughly 13.7 Billion Years ago

Measurement ‘devices’ through history

    • Mayan’s : Mayan Calender created during the Dark Ages in Europe


  • Earth orbit @ 365 days [Actual = 365.2422 days, 0.06%]
  • Lunar Month @ 29.53086 days [Actual = 29.53059 days; 0.0009%]
  • Mercury orbit @ 117 days [Actual = 116 days; 0.86%]
  • Venus orbit @ 584 days [Actual = 583.92 days; 0.01%]
  • Mars orbit @ 780 days [actual = 779.936 days; 0.008%]
  • Antikythera mechanism – is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–1901 from the Antikythera wreck. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC. The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to a 19th century Swiss clock. Technological artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were built in Europe

A day – 24 hours?

  • 2 Radio telescope set  on different points of Earth measure a radio wave from a quasar. They line up once a ‘day’ which is not always 24 hours [changes are in mili seconds]

Atomic Clocks

    • In certain elements [like Cesium] the Electrons will ‘jump’ between orbits and emit a flash of light at precise intervals [Cesium, 9 billion times a sec]  Video
    • Such a clock, if sent on a space shuttle, ticks at a different speed. Because it is further from Earth’s gravitational pull.


    • Einstein proposes that we travel through Time at the speed of light.
    • Einstein: Spacetime is a single entity, not separate things. And because of the mixing of space & time, time ticks differently for separate entities, based on relative speeds.
    • The faster you travel through space, the slower you travel through time.
    • Proven by the Shapiro effect (blip in Mercury’s orbit, measured on opposite sides of the Sun)

Shapiro Effect

  • Gravitational fields warp time
  • blip in Mercury’s orbit, measured on opposite sides of the Sun – VIDEO

If time is flexible based on observation, then all of it always exists…

    • (Incorrect for quantum mechanics)
    • New theories suggest that “spacetime” is granular, and not fixed. On a large scale it looks like a single thing, but it actually flows as it is being created, in the future.

Black holes actually STOP time at their event horizon, to an outside observer.
But an observer falling in would see time speed up around them, the closer they got.

Time Travel?
High speed camera moments

Busting Water Baloon

Additional Information
CPT – Charge, Parity, and Time Reversal (CPT) Symmetry

WIKI – Shapiro Delay

What Time Is It? (part 1 // part 2 // part 3 // part 4)

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