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Calculating infinitesimally small amounts of time

 
 
tali
 
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 12:42 pm
How do Physicist calculate infinitesimally small amounts of time- such as quark time and the billionths of a second after Big Bang- time which is beyond human comprehension?
And how can you study what happened in time that is so incredibly small?
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 12:59 pm
@tali,
I don't want to type that much right now, so I'll just recommend these:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/planck.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4766842.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3486160.stm
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  3  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 01:01 pm
@tali,
The answer is: Calculus.

Calculus is the branch of math where you consider the effect of infinitesimally small changes in a variable on a function.

Calculus was developed by Sir Isaac Newton (there is another fellow who appeared to develop Calculus independently). He needed it to work on Physics problems where things were constantly changing... meaning he had to look at changes over infinitesimally small changes in time.

One of Newtons triumphs was showing that gravity (i.e. the force that makes things fall on earth) was also responsible for the circular paths of the moon, and planets. This involved considering a force whose direction (and perhaps strength) changes every instant-- where the path of the object (i.e.) was the sum of this effect.


Hayward Long
 
  0  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 03:56 pm
@tali,
They can't. Time is a man made concept. When the singularity of the big bang cooled to a point where the first particles, three things happened. 1, space was created. 2, gravity was created. 3, motion took place. Motion rquires space, it does not require time. When man developed to the point where he began to explore his envrionment he was forced to create time in order to measure the speed of motion. He strove to synchronize his clock with the length of a day, he could never do it. The lenth of a day is determined by motion, the rotation of the Earth. If you subject a clock to near light speed the parts gain mass, the energy to overcome the added inertia is not available, the clock shows time lost, in fact, it is motion that has slowed. The infinetly small amount of time you refer to can only be described as, now, there is no past, there is only records of the past, there is no future, there are only events that take place on the cusp of, now. [email protected]
Brandon9000
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 07:13 am
@Hayward Long,
Hayward Long wrote:

They can't. Time is a man made concept. When the singularity of the big bang cooled to a point where the first particles, three things happened. 1, space was created. 2, gravity was created. 3, motion took place. Motion rquires space, it does not require time. When man developed to the point where he began to explore his envrionment he was forced to create time in order to measure the speed of motion. He strove to synchronize his clock with the length of a day, he could never do it. The lenth of a day is determined by motion, the rotation of the Earth. If you subject a clock to near light speed the parts gain mass, the energy to overcome the added inertia is not available, the clock shows time lost, in fact, it is motion that has slowed. The infinetly small amount of time you refer to can only be described as, now, there is no past, there is only records of the past, there is no future, there are only events that take place on the cusp of, now. [email protected]

Why in the world would you try to explain modern physics to someone when you clearly know nothing about it? Do you have a reference for the things you've stated here?
contrex
 
  0  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 02:38 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
Why in the world would you try to explain modern physics to someone when you clearly know nothing about it?


Because this is Able2know, where everybody's an expert!

contrex
 
  0  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 02:39 pm
@Hayward Long,
Hayward Long wrote:
Time is a man made concept.


Are there any other kinds?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 03:23 pm
@tali,
I don't understand your question. Are you asking how physicists perform calculations involving times on a subatomic scale? Or are you asking how they measure times of this kind, (i.e., calculate times from experimental data)?
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 04:21 pm
@Hayward Long,
Well, you're not entirely wrong, despite what others have said. Motion does require space. You say it doesn't require time. Well, it does and it doesn't. Motion is what time measures. You're right that the "concept" is man's way of dealing with the problem, but time itself isn't something man "invented" any more than man invented distance or depth or anything else that's measurable. He invented the concept of a mile or a kilometer but not the distance itself. Time measures motion -- both the duration and the interval. If all motion stops, the concept of time becomes meaningless. But in this universe, at least, there is no space without motion and there can be no motion uness it is in space.

As to the original question, I'm with Thomas here. I'm not sure I understand what the question is.
0 Replies
 
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 04:02 pm
Basically if you think you know the answer to this you are probably wrong: calculus involves taking smaller and smaller rates of change: However the smallest number is ( or might be zero) at which point you get division by zero errors.
Time is not a constant: It is hard to measure variables: that is because they keep changing: thats why they're called you know.
0 Replies
 
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 04:06 pm
@contrex,
Sociologists like references: scientists prefer discussion and proof: It is a reasonable starting point for a discussion
0 Replies
 
curtis73
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2008 12:18 am
Time is simply something that man has applied to the cyclical astronomical events that are calculable from earth's perspective.

Sunrise, sunset, moon phase, seasons, yearly axis tilts, orbits of the planets, etc. We have just taken those observed events and divided them up into more tangible denominations. A minute is simply about 1/525,600th of a year.

Its not even calculus... just simple math.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 10:51 am
Fountofwisdom wrote:
However the smallest number is ( or might be zero)


If this meant anything, I could say it was false. As it is meaningless, I don't need to bother.
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 11:29 pm
@ebrown p,
Leibnitz was the other guy working on calculus; Newton beat him by six months:

Newtonian calculus allowed better calculations of trajectories, which made English weapons' targetting superior .
0 Replies
 
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 11:38 pm
@contrex,
Contrex: you have no undestanding of numbers: in terms of magnitude (size) a number close to zero is the samllest.
Numbers are not symbolic representations of physical amounts.
minus infinity could also be the smallest number. Given that minus amounts and infinity may or may not exist.
There are an infinite number of numbers (all irrational) that could claim to be the smallest number.
The mathematics behind very small numbers is a trifle obtruse, if you believe you understand it you probably don't.
Criticising what you can't comprehend is the realm of the foolish.
0 Replies
 
 

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