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Posted by LostInColorado (Member # 862) on November 28, 2001, 21:19:
 
A few nights back, Steen and myself had a discussion on IRC on space and time dimensions. Steen held that time was not the same kind of dimension.

His argument was based on the relativistic time dilation at a significant portion of the speed of light and the fact that you cannot go back into time.

I maintained that you could not seperate time from space. As a result, all 3 spatial dimensions and the time dimension are required to maintain a good coordinate system, which is still going to be relative to a point somewhere...

My question is do you consider time to be a dimension just like space is comprised of 3 dimensions? Can we really seperate time and space?


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LostInColorado

At first, follow the rules of the game.
If you don't succeed, break the rules.
If you still don't succeed, change them.
If you still don't succeed, just change the game.


 


Posted by LifetimeTrekker (Member # 913) on November 28, 2001, 23:23:
 
I'm not entirely convinced that time exists:
I have a perception of time, but my perception of something does not prove it.
While there are clocks, which are created to support the shared belief of time, I liken them to churches; supporting the concept of a diety without proving He/She/It exists.

Of course, I have problems with my perception of reality, too...reality, like time is highly subjective to my (or an observer's) perception. Stubbing my toe is not proof of reality, for I am not my body.
Thinking does not prove I exist, for I am not my mind.

I don't think Douglas Adams was too far off with "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime is doubly so."

An extention of that could be "Reality is an illusion, and Reality Television is doubly so."

Having said all that, the physical laws that we agree to, at any given time/space point, time appears to be a physical component: height, bredth, depth and duration. Within this physical universe, it appears impossible to separate the two.

Within this reasoning, however, I suggest that you are both right, and are merely looking at two aspects of time from different perspectives.
 


Posted by Miles (Member # 790) on November 29, 2001, 07:57:
 
Time is indeed a fourth dimension. This is an integral realization that Einstein made with his special theory of relativity. However the temporal dimension is different in nature from a spatial dimension, so we often say that we are living in a 3+1 dimensional world. Technically we call this Minkowski spacetime, as opposed to Euclidean spacetime. (Our three spatial dimensions are Euclidean).

There is slightly mathematical description of Minkowski space at everything2.com at http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1030508&lastnode_id=1030463 .

When an object is traveling near the speed of light, say in the x direction (say x = east if you want) then that object's coordinate system is rotated in a special way with respect to the coordinate system at rest. This rotation mixes up the space coordinate x and the time coordinate t, leading to fun relativistic effects like length contraction and time dilation. There are some good books about special relativity which give illustrative examples and probably explain relativity in a more accessible manner than I have. If there's interest I can poke around and recommend a couple.
 


Posted by GrumpySteen (Member # 170) on November 29, 2001, 13:42:
 
Miles wrote:
the temporal dimension is different in nature from a spatial dimension

Without going into a lot of detail, that's a pretty good summation of my side of the discussion. My interpretation of everything I've read seems to indicate that time shares some of the properties of spatial dimensions, but has other properties that set it apart as well.

I just wish I could remember the physics based insults and jibes we came up with for fun after the discussion wound down. Some of them were quite funny.


 


Posted by SupportGoddess (Member # 822) on November 29, 2001, 16:18:
 
Steen: I am fairly sure that He of The Never Ending Log File... I mean AngryRooster... probably has them.

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reality.sys corrupted. universe halted. reboot (y/n)?
 


Posted by theJacob (Member # 980) on November 29, 2001, 20:06:
 
I see time as of at least three more dimensions. It explains all the periodixes and alternate universes. Actually, you need only two dimensions for that, but you can also move around in two-dimensional space, just not well. The "third time dimension" (or "sixth") makes time travel easier. (The only thing holding me back is funding) (Seriously)

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Posted by LostInColorado (Member # 862) on November 29, 2001, 20:11:
 
I stand corrected now that someone managed to make a coherent argument on time being a different kind of dimension.

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LostInColorado

At first, follow the rules of the game.
If you don't succeed, break the rules.
If you still don't succeed, change them.
If you still don't succeed, just change the game.
 


Posted by Angry Rooster (Member # 759) on November 29, 2001, 23:51:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:

I just wish I could remember the physics based insults and jibes we came up with for fun after the discussion wound down. Some of them were quite funny.

Who needs to remember when you can log?

Steen: Without someone else's reference books to go on, you couldn't disprove the "Time Cube" theory!

Lost: your reference point just got through the event horizon.

Steen: "Perhaps you could grasp this more easily if you took up trepanation" (okay, that was a major stretch)

Actually, that's all we had, until I started insulting Steen's perception skills based on his past romantic "adventures." Those would only be physics based if you count the energy transferred in driving a steak knife through a human hand.

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--Angry Rooster
"Eagles may soar, but roosters don't get sucked into jet engines."
 


Posted by Lex (Member # 835) on December 02, 2001, 10:58:
 
Idea for new O'Reilly book: Space and Time in a Nutshell.

I don't suppose there is some sort of conversion for seconds to meters?

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The Matrix Cereal: There Is No Spoon
 


Posted by zorgon (Member # 546) on December 02, 2001, 13:48:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lex:

I don't suppose there is some sort of conversion for seconds to meters?

<StephenHawking>
Yes of course! The speed of light. Whatever that happens to be in your reference frame.
</StephenHawking>
 


Posted by zorgon (Member # 546) on December 02, 2001, 14:05:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lex:
Idea for new O'Reilly book: Space and Time in a Nutshell.

Been done. "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking (obligatory Amazon link omitted due to laziness). BTW Professor Hawking makes no distinction between space and time in his lectures. He (or rather his speech synthesizer) always says "spacetime."

And (cool geek moment brag) we saw Stephen Hawking lecture in our town a few years back when I was in grad school. After the lecture we went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant -- and there was Hawking, having dinner with his nurse! So, like, I can say "I've had dinner with Stephen Hawking (in the same room)." whoo-oo!

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cogito ergo something.
 


Posted by platypus (Member # 991) on December 02, 2001, 19:13:
 
Actually, he's done one better. He HAS done The Universe in a Nutshell in addition to Illustrated Brief History of Time. Amazon has a special where you can get both in hard cover for $61. Not a bad deal, spend another $38 and you qualify for free shipping.

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Posted by Miles (Member # 790) on December 10, 2001, 11:16:
 
For a very nice down-to-earth treatment of relativity and other fun topics in physics, I enthusiastically recommend The New World of Mr Tompkins, by George Gamow and Russell Stannard. Actually, Stannard basically reworked Gamow's original Mr. Tomkins articles for better clarity and agreement with modern physics. I think the original articles, and now the new ones, make some very counter-intuitive physics easy to grasp.

After digesting that treatment, more detail can be found in Einstein's writings for the general public. He has at least two books,
Relativity : The Special and the General Theory and The Meaning of Relativity.

Happy Gedanken!

 




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