Category Archives: Time

Time Zero – A real Place?

“Time Zero – Ctime”

I would like to discuss a few other things about photons and also very high speed particles and their implications for a special point in time.  Some of these are just thought experiments and may have no basis for a new theory, but some of you may find it interesting at least and perhaps there is some promise of truth in them.

Since the photon experiences zero time during flight, it would be nice to know what is actually going on within the photon during the possibly billions of years of its flight. We know that near the speed of light, time slows dramatically and that a spacewoman in a space ship at near light speed would experience time as if it passes normally, but a stationary observer would see things quite differently. A clock on the wall continues to tick off regular seconds to her while her brother on earth gets older at a much faster rate, all the while knowing that her clock is going very slowly and she is staying young as he grows old.

But a photon is going much faster than a space ship ever can. The entire time of flight is reduced to zero so nothing can happen within the photon during flight.  The flight ends as soon as it begins for the photon. Yet we know there is a finite flight time from our observer perspective, sometimes billions of years for flight, as we see the same photon.

An interesting point is that the photon is capable of living forever because it cannot age if time is stopped, and in cloud chamber experiments we can measure the lifetime of some collision reactions only because the time of reaction is slowed for a high-speed particle due to time dilation. Time dilation near or at c is a real thing.

Yet we know that there is a finite and measurable time of flight from there to here from our perspective, and that a photon, if it has a frequency associated with it should vibrate hundreds of times during each foot of travel.  That is, if we believe it is still vibrating and not frozen as well. When it lands we know that its frequency is related to its energy and thus its color.  Does the photon actually experience this vibration, or does it all occur only when it starts and again when it encounters an obstacle that slows it down (such as within a crystal, or passage through water), or when it changes direction such as during a bounce off of a mirror… or does it occur again only at the moment of destruction, or as it melds around a small object?

We know that the emission of a photon is related to the change in energy states of an electron and both the energy and the frequency of the photon are related to that change of state. So the frequency is a physical attribute of the photon. We aren’t certain what exactly is going on since there are the contradictory facts that the clock of a photon does not change during flight, yet significant time elapses externally, and a photon has vibrational modes.  We also know that the phase doesn’t change, so the implication there is that no vibration actually takes place.  Is something else going on?

Ctime

Here is a new thought. If the time experienced by a photon is zero, where is the photon during the time of its flight? Is there such a time (physicists call it null time) and is it possibly a real place, a relativistic time zero?  Let me call it “ctime” for simplicity, time at speed c.  Ctime would then be where the photon is during flight, a place where time is stopped. Nothing happens, nothing moves, at least not within the photon. The photon moves through space, and doesn’t even vibrate, but the photon experiences nothing because it is embedded in ctime.

Now, suppose all ctimes are the same!  A special point located in relativistic time.    Not the same space-time, but the same time-space, a special place where time is stopped due to relativity, all connected by the null paths.  Photons that have paths that don’t cross would still be in the same place in time – ctime – throughout their flight, but would not ever occupy the same space.  

Photons that have paths that do cross would occupy the same space and same time at the crossing point even if they crossed several decades apart because both would be in ctime and both pass through the same space at some point. The physical times we calculate at the crossing (different) would not be the same as the ctime the photons would experience (same).  Ctime would exist for the photon throughout its existence and even afterward, at least until the null path was disturbed by another photon crossing the same null path.    I say that because the time is frozen and doesn’t change and therefore any point in the null path that is not disturbed remains undisturbed even if the last point of that path is a screen or detector or a piece of rock or someone’s eye.  How can the previous points know if time does not change for those points all stuck in ctime?

Would such photons interfere with each other? In other words, is it possible for a photon that passes through a slit today to actually interfere with another photon that comes through tomorrow?  They would both pass through the same space at the same time in timespace – ctime.  I think it is theoretically possible and thus becomes an alternate way to explain some quantum weirdness effects.  Certainly, it seems more possible than multiple universes.  When does the ctime collapse for a photon? If it is a real place in time, does it even know that the photon has ceased to exist?  For interference to occur in a slit due to ctime, it must continue to exist until at least something physical cuts through the spacetime of the path, such as the placement of a detector or the disturbance of another photon trying to occupy the same space and ctime.  Even then if the detector is removed before the second photon comes through, ctime (at the photon crossing point) is undisturbed unless the detector happens to disturb the point that the photon paths cross, normally some point well past the detector placement.

Let’s go over that again, slowly.  A photon is emitted.  It immediately stops all internal activity and is, in effect in suspended animation until it hits something.  For the photon, the distance of the flight path is shortened to zero and time stops.   Space and time are severely warped.  For the photon, the entire trip from a far galaxy is reduced to zero time and zero distance.  Both space and time are reduced to dots.   Space and time are warped that much.

We can conceive of space being zero distance, a dot, and create a very simple drawing with both ends of the path conjoined at a dot on the paper.  But what about time?   If time is reduced to a dot, where is it?   What I’m suggesting is that the time dot is the same place in time for all photons.  That place in time is what I’m calling ctime.    However, the time-space dot occupies the entire length of the flight path and continues to exist there until each point is later disturbed.   A null path consisting of a continuous line of space-ctime, like a deep valley in time that the photon passes through, warped by its speed.  The valley hangs around in time (ctime) even after the particle ceases to exist at every point in space, because time does not change there.

If the paths of two photons cross, but at different times as we measure it,  then the two photons exist in the same space, but not the same time (as we measure it) – different space-times.  Except… it is my suggestion that they do exist at the same time (for the photons) at the same space-ctime, and never come out of it until that particular space at the crossing point is disturbed.   It would be an alternate explanation for the interference of photons that are emitted one at a time over a period of days or weeks.  

The first photon through a given slot occupies a particular space and is also hung up in ctime.   Its presence in ctime for that space exists even after the photon hits the target.   Each point in the path of the photon experiences the photon in passing as a warp in time.  No information is possible for the past or the future of the photon – and so each point is left with a warped time that is frozen there in ctime.   When another photon happens to cross that same space later, the ctimes are also crossed at that same point and thus the newer photon is shaken by the occurrence just as if it had brushed up against the earlier one.   Interference!   If a slot is closed, then the previous photon ctime paths are disturbed by the closing and no interference occurs when a newer photon comes along later. 

This has implications for high-speed particles with mass as well.  As they approach relativistic speeds, there is time and space distortion for these particles as well.  Electrons and even much heavier particles show diffraction patterns and also show interference patterns even when fired one at a time.  In their cases, the valley of ctime would not be as deep and possibly not persist as long, but space and time are warped just the same.  The interference of one particle with another at a later time may be just the same effect – an existence of a ctime in a not-quite null path left by one particle that disturbs one coming along later.  

An experiment might be constructed such that a paddle sweeps through the entire area where photon interference might occur.  The sweeps to occur between each photon emission.  Such an experiment  might prove this theory if the result is no interference pattern buildup over time when the paddle is used but interference does occur when the paddle is not in use.  I’m suggesting a simple paddle that is wide enough to span the multiple interference points and placed normal to the screen, a paddle that mechanically sweeps through and disturbs the ctimes so that no photon crosses another’s undisturbed ctime.  A paddle next to the slits will not do the trick, so I doubt that this experiment has been done before.  A paddle that only sweeps some of the crossing points would in effect blank out some of the interference pattern and not others.   A real test.

Copyright 2007 by James A. Tabb

Marietta, Ga. 
 

Fun with time travel

Fun with Time Travel

worm hole from Wikipedia

 Wormhole drawing from Wikipedia

There has much been written about wormholes being used potentially for time travel and popularized by science movies and novels, Contact, Farscape, Stargate. and Sliders, for examples.    It is a familiar topic of some top physicists and not excluded by the Theory of Relativity.

Create a wormhole, drag one end “E” to a vast gravitational source such as a neutron star and wait.   Time for the dragged end will slow down dramatically in comparison with the other end located far from the gravitational source.   This is due to an intense gravitational field’s effect on time – it slows it down, it doesn’t age as fast as the other end.    Then drag the “slow time” end “E” back to the lab and set it beside the “real time”, “L”, and you have a time machine. with ends labeled E on the slow end and  L on the fast.  

If some future civilization could somehow do such a thing, the speculation is that if someone tossed a ball into the L (Late) end, it will come out the E (Early) end before it goes in the L end.   Time travel, back to the past.

Now that may sound confusing, but consider this.  If the E end were put in the gravitational field on July 11, 2007, it would remain at July 11 until it was removed on July 12 and then be a  day early forever.    A ball put into the L end on July 14 would come out on July 13 at E, and a ball put into the E end on July 14 would come out a day later on July 15 at L.   Both ends are at the same date as you sit there watching it, but an object put into either end responds as if it were moving through time.

Wormhole

Looking into a wormhole  – don’t blame me if you get dizzy.

Now there is a situation that needs some explaining.  The person sitting there observing both ends, which are now together, is living only in the “real time” which we call fast time, but it is early time for himself a day later.   He can see both ends at once and both ends of the wormhole are visible at the same time, the one on the left labeled E and the one on the right labeled L.     Suppose he sees a ball with his signature on it pop out of the hole at E.   That implies that someone (presumably him) will put a ball into the L end the next day.    Suppose he decides to lock the lab and prevent someone from doing that.    Where did the ball come from?

Physicists who may accept the possibility of time travel have taken great pains to explain why an action at L cannot be changed by something coming out of E. For example, you can’t go into the L end and come out of E and prevent yourself from going in.  Or kill yourself in the past, or let the ball you toss in be knocked off course by the ball coming out, or lock the door to prevent the ball from going into the L end.  So the answer to the question, “where did the ball come from” is this:  he can’t prevent the ball from being put in the next day if it has already come out early.  The future is already defined for that event.  If he could prevent the ball from going in, it would not have come out early.  Something would intervene or someone from an parallel universe would have to have done it.  Things that come out the E end define what goes into the L end later.  Future foretold.

It occurs to me that it would be apparent soon after it was created whether and how well it works, and if a person could survive the trip or not. It is clear to most physicists that such a machine cannot go further into the past than when the end was dragged into the gravity source because the dragging can only be done in the present.   Merely dragging it does not open a portal to an earlier time than when it was put into the gravitational source.

To determine if and how well it works, you only need to observe the E end. If a ball comes out, it works for some objects. If hamburger like meat or juices come out wearing a name tag, it would not be wise to later go in yourself.  But you would not be able to prevent someone wearing that tag from going in.   His or her fate is sealed.  If your name is on the tag, give it to your worst enemy quick!

Once the end is dragged away, it might work, but it can only begin then. Lets say that the end E is dragged to the lab and placed beside L before any experimenting is done, and the time differential had been built up to 1 hour between the ends. Soon after the two ends are brought near each other, the physicist standing nearby might see a ball pop out with his signature on it.  “It works!”, he shouts.  At that moment, before he ever starts his experimenting, he knows it works with balls. Then he puts the ball back in. Where did the first ball come from? Who signed it? Does the ball come out again? When?

Some Answers:

The first ball came from someone an hour later who puts in a ball previously signed by the physicist. It is the same ball, but cannot come out unless initiated an hour later by action by someone in the future, acting in their present, sending the ball to their past.

If the ball is put back into L, it can’t come out in the lab at E unless the physicist has waited at least an hour after the portal has been established, finds a ball somewhere, signs it and then puts it into L, such that it comes out while portal E is active and in the lab. The initial appearance of the ball at E requires a corresponding initial action at L an hour later.  Predestination.

If the physicist puts the ball back in immediately, it might come back out, but not in his or her laboratory unless the portal has been open in his lab for at least an hour. For example, the portal is only 5 minutes old when the first ball comes out (implying it was put in an hour from then) and if it is immediately put back in, it would be put in 55 minutes before the original one – before the portal is established and comes out somewhere along the dragged path preceding the first one he saw come out.  

In other words, if less than an hour, it must come out somewhere along the path that the port E was dragged through, and thus his evidence would be lost in space. In addition, an unsigned ball must be found, signed and put into the portal L prior to putting the first ball back in. To fail to do so would have meant the initiating event never happened and he/she would have no knowledge of it, much less a signed ball to admire.

The physicist must wait until enough time has elapsed that the time differential from E to L has elapsed (in this case 1 hour) to avoid losing the ball. The physicist must also initiate the process with a newly signed ball. This requires an hour’s wait the first time, but might not if, say two hours (or 48 hours) elapsed before the initial action is taken.

Then putting the ball back in would enable it to come around again and not be lost in space. However he would first have to find a ball and sign it to start the original process and such an action would have already resulted in earlier balls pouring out of the E end. 

Major Problem 

There is a major problem brought to light right here, but it was a problem from the beginning and just now evident.  Lets say that he just got the portals working and they are side by side.  He has a signed ball on the table waiting for the hour to elapse and a signed ball unexpectedly comes out of E.  Now he has two signed balls!   Matter Created?   Energy created?   Violations of energy conservation all over the place!   Can he go into the ball manufacturing business by putting the balls back in quickly and getting a never ending supply of perfectly identical balls?   I don’t think so!  If he could, he should find a large carat diamond and switch to that.   They would pour out of E by the shovel full after a few minutes!  First 1 then 2 then 4 then 16 until they started to pile up and he is shoveling them back in as fast as possible.   Not going to happen!   Whatever happens, energy, and thus mass, and thus new balls (or diamonds) are not got going to be created.  No matter what. 

The answer may be that the ends cannot be placed close enough together that light can go from one to the other within the time frame of the experimental time warp.  That would put a real damper on the project, although it would work as a good portal between far flung space stations.  Set two of them up with a time delay of the light travel time and have one with E at one end and L at the other, then a second set of L at the first end and E at the other.  Then someone could go from one star to the other and back in a matter of seconds, round trip.   The traveler could never be in the same place at the same time.

Lets say this is one sharp physicist that thought that this paradox of having matter creation would prevent it from working at all, so he put his original signed ball into a box and never opened it.   Did it cease to exist?  Can he use the ball that came out of E to put back into L an hour later?   If so, who signed that ball and when?  He only has one ball to deal with and he carefully reuses it no often than once an hour but we still have a major problem to deal with when he opens that box.    Actually the answer to all these is this:  If he puts the first signed ball into the box, seals it, and never opens it, he will never get a signed ball out of E the first time.  

We just can’t deal with that situation logically.  So lets move on to another scenario and see if we do any better.   Suppose somehow the balls can co-exist and if you put one in now, it comes out an hour earlier, no problem.  Suppose our physicist is very conservative, thinks about things thoroughly and decides in advance to wait 3 hours before putting in the first ball. If he actually did wait for the 3d hour, it would come out at the 2d hour.   It would still be matter created because he has at that time still not put the first one in, so he has two.  The happy physicist thinking “this is neat!” might be tempted to put both back in immediately.   He can’t.  Somehow he can’t because to do so would have meant that he would have had 3 at the first hour (the original plus the 2 from the second hour) and he did not.    As soon as one comes out, the future of the portal at L is fixed for that event.   Unless parallel universes come into play.  The portals in different but parallel universes.   You would never know unless the laws and/or sequence of history were different and your ball came back signed by someone else. 

Each appearance implies that the future event will take place.  If a new ball  appears at hour 2 at E,  that ball is destined to be put into L an hour later. 

The above sequence may seem like the past is forcing the future to comply with past events.   Deterministic.  Maybe that is already happening.  Everything we do is pretty much dictated by our past actions.   We have very little room to maneuver.  

“Whenever the future repeats itself the price goes up.*”   Maybe we just can’t afford a time machine.  

 * The original version of this quote is more than 4000 years old!  Future foretold!

Time machine lost! 

When it comes down to the bottom line, a time machine for travel into the past is an energy and matter creator and would have to violate a fundamental law.  Travel into the future also violates the same law because matter and energy in the past “disappears” when it enters the portal. 

During the transition from the past to the future, the universe would have less matter and energy than before. 

Sorry folks, but we aren’t going either way.

Oldtimer

(Reliving the past)

Does Time Exist?

There is no question that we experience what we call time.   There is a precision with which we can measure the progression of events over time that is phenomenally accurate.   Things age and particles decay over “time” and it is consistent.    However, physical laws that use time as a reference work equally well for time reversal – going backward – a particle hitting another particle, generating other particles and emitting photons will work just as well running backward according to physics.   We just have never experienced time reversal and this disconnect with the laws of physics seems to be a mystery.  This disconnect is used by many to express the opinion that time exists.   However the fact remains that equations of space and time break down at certain points and time falls out of some of them as an unnecessary factor.

Think of this: photons live in “null” time.  They live and die in the same instant because they travel at the speed of light and therefore if time exists for them, they do not experience it.   They experience zero flight time over zero distance no matter how far apart the start and finish line are.  They live in a go-splat world.    A photon leaving a star a billion light years away destroys itself in our eye the instant it is emitted, having not aged even a fraction of a nanosecond in its long trip.   Space and time are that warped!

The space and the time have been warped because of the speed of the photon.  It travels at the speed of light.   Our very definition of speed involves time so when we say the speed of light we assume that time exists, but for the photon time does not exist.  

A photon experiences zero distance and zero time due to its incredible speed.   Every photon that lights our office or illuminates our book arrives the instant it is emitted.  It has not aged even though we can calculate that it moved from the bulb to our book and then to our eye at about one nanosecond per foot of travel.  The photon did not experience the “time” that we measure or calculate.  It aged not at all.  Time does not exist for any particle moving at c.  It only exists for us as calculated or measured in a laboratory.  But does it exist as a real dimension?  Does it have a physical basis?  

A photon in flight between point a and point b is invisible to any and all observers.  It does not exist in flight and can only be detected at b when it actually arrives.   The photon in flight experiences null time – time zero – no time – non-existent time, and travels a null path – or no path at all, regardless of the length of its travel.   Time for the photon does not exist, nor does distance.  Those measurements of time and distance for the photon are for our domain only – the human one.

Now consider an extension of that thought – most of the particles that make up our world vibrate and exchange energy with each other.  That occurs even at temperatures close to zero.   There is also a froth of virtual particles that pop into and out of existence continually at all times even in a so-called perfect vacuum.     All the energy exchanged through photons is timeless because all photons are moving at c.   Even gravity moves at c.  Gravity is also timeless within its self.   The exception is for atoms that bump into each other and exchange energy through vibration and bumping.   Or do they?   Do they actually touch or isn’t there an exchange of particles  moving at c that keep them apart?

If the energy transfer by photons is timeless, the photons are timeless, gravity is timeless all due to the speed of light as experienced by the particles that carry them, then does time exist or are we merely measuring external events by counting uniform progressions that we experience and can see?

I know and acknowledge that we can measure the speed of a photon to a very high precision.  I know that we can measure the speed of gravity as other planets tug on ours and on each other.    The measurement is based on the progression of the components of our clocks.   We do live in a dimension that experiences progression of events in one direction which we call time.  

However, we can measure but we cannot see.  We can observe the effects but not the event.   The truth is that whenever something is traveling at c, simultaneous observations are impossible.  Every observer of the same event sees something different.    Have you ever seen time?  Maybe the change in a clock, which is actually only a measure of repetitive events, whether a wind up (measuring escapement events) or a NBS clock counting cycles of an atomic nature, but not timeWe can’t see time, only experience it.  We can’t measure time, only define it.

Time for us may be just a projection of ourselves on a line defined by a progression of events that occur in a uniform manner, but it may not really exist.    We are bundles of energy made up of atoms and particles in extraordinarily rapid motion.  Take us down to the quantum world and we are made up of many quadrillions of particles exchanging energy among themselves in mostly empty space.    In such huge numbers there is an average motion and an average progression of events that may make up our concept of time.  Certainly our most accurate “clocks” are merely counting cycles of an atomic nature.   Even the National Bureau of Standards admit they are “not measuring time, but only defining it“.

Does time exist just for us because we experience this progression in a uniform manner? Perhaps it is not actually an extra dimension as we have been so often told.

Do you think time exists as a dimension in the same manner as x, y, z?  Is time real?  If you have been following my last two posts, you will understand it is the lack of time, at least on the photon level, that explains quantum weirdness.   And explains it well.

What do you think? 

Oldtimer

PS:  here are some other articles by Oldtimer on the subject of time

Enjoy!