Things have been fairly one-sided here on the ol’ astrowright blog for a while. What with beginning classes in UND’s space studies program and with upcoming coursework in radiophysics at Oregon State, (which I hope to integrate into orbital/lunar radiation work,) it’s no surprise that I’ve been a bit hyper-focused on space science.
However, today I wanted to take a step back and pick up where I left off regarding my other scientific passion, time research.
So, we last left our time discussion with an apparent contradiction: Most of theoretical physics leads us to consider that time is an illusion and does not physically exist. The past versions of the universe are not “saved” somewhere for us to go back to, and the future does not yet exist. There is only the now. However, Relativity shows us (in repeated experiments!) that the time experienced by something changes depending on its motion, (time slows as speed increases,) meaning that some part of time must physically exist, and furthermore, it must be related to physical motion.
That brings us to the crux of my theoretical, time-centered physics work. Temporal Mechanics, as I have developed it as a functioning theoretical framework, relates to and is derived from a single question:
- “What if there is more to the concept of time than we acknowledge or are aware?”
As hinted in my previous time post, Temporal Mechanics goes on to posit that the physical part of what we call time and what we call motion are actually two views of the same phenomenon. -Namely, that the apparent 3D motion of an object is the result of it moving through time (4D) at a different rate than its frame of reference. I called this the Fundamental Principle of Temporal Kinematics.
The exciting part is that when you take this kernel and start marching it through physics, many very, very interesting things happen.
For starters, you can start answering unanswerable questions, like digging into Newtonian mechanics staple “f = ma” (force equals mass times acceleration). If one were to ask, “Why does the application of force to a mass cause acceleration?” in the Standard Model, this is a nonsense question. It’s simply how acceleration is defined. It is by nature an unanswerable question.
And in science, at least for me, I find these sorts of conceptual impasses troubling.
However, if motion is now the result of a temporal rate differential, (as defined by the Fundamental Principle of Temporal Kinematics,) then an answer suddenly shows up: The application of force to a mass causes a temporal acceleration which appears to a 3D observer as motion of the mass.
Voila. An answer where there was none.
A trick of wordplay? Perhaps. But think Orwell’s 1984 – it is true that the words we use to define concepts limit the concepts we use to define a reality. If there actually are deeper physical truths to the ideas of time and motion, right now we are linguistically incapable of describing them. Perhaps just “opening up” our conceptual language can reveal truths idly sitting beneath our comprehension, waiting for us to get around our own mental roadblocks and see them.
The adventure continues, reaching all the way back to Aristotle’s work on time and motion. It turns out that he came within mere inches of posing Temporal Mechanics’s fundamental principle more than two thousand years ago. Basically, he noticed that we measure that time has occurred by measuring uniform motion, (e.g., a ticking watch,) and that we measure that motion has occurred by measuring uniform time, (e.g., using a stopwatch to measure how fast someone has run a lap.) Clearly the two are inseparable. It only took advanced astronomy and the idea of Relativity to break the concepts of time and motion out of their separate Newtonian prisons and back toward each other.
For a future post, the fundamental principle kernel continues its radical march through physics, linking and actually predicting both quantum indeterminism and the bizarre distortions at extreme speeds known as “relativistic effects,” and while using the same mathematics and data, the kernel leads to an alternate interpretation of the Twin Paradox that, (at least according to time,) would allow travel faster than light speed.