So I’m not high or anything, but I am incredibly bored at work here at 3am, so I started thinking about some crazy shit just to pass the time.
I started wondering what it means to have a “speed limit” on our universe, which as everyone knows is the speed of light, or about 3 x 10^8 meters per second.
If there is such a thing as the fastest speed, then there MUST also be such a thing as the smallest time, right? Since in the rate equation of speed being defined as distance travelled per unit time which is
speed = distance / time
The time cannot be infinitely small or zero since that would lead to an infinite speed, and there is no such thing. How would I go about finding what is the “smallest time”?
Well, since we know the fastest speed, all we have to do is travel that speed across the smallest distance and that will be the answer. So how do I figure out the “smallest distance”?
Enter the Planck length, or 1.616 x 10^-35 meters. At this distance, the physical properties of the universe fail. How nice! A bunch of scientific dudes already figured it out for me.
So, plugging stuff into the rate equation, the smallest time is about:
5.38 x 10^-44 seconds.
So what does it mean to have a smallest unit of time? I thought about that for a while, and it occurred to me that since time cannot be infinitely small, that means that time isn’t really “fluid”. It is a continuum, sure, but it is a continuum made up of many many chunks of these “mini-seconds” that are all strung together, one after the other – just like how matter is just chunks of subatomic particles strung together to make electrons and protons and whatnot. In other words, stuff happens in the universe in 5.38 x 10^-44 seconds at a time. Just as a movie in the theater is a bunch of still frames whizzing past our eyes at thirty frames per second, reality is a “movie” that happens at 5.38 x 10^44 frames per second!
Trippy, huh? See what happens when you’ve had too much caffeine?