T Nation

Fun with Physics

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? :slight_smile:

Damn man. Right now at work, all I’m thinking about is how soon my relief will be here. That actually feels longer than it is.

Interesting thoughts!

And here’s some more spaced-out shit I was thinking about since I started the thread:

If reality is a “movie” that flips by at 5.38 x 10^44 frames per second, then what happens in between the frames? Answer: nothing… absolutely nothing – by definition. Just like how a movie is a series of still pictures that creates the illusion of movement by slightly modifying each frame as it flies past our eyes, reality must do the same thing. Reality at the Planck scale doesn’t actually “move”.

If I was to somehow violate the laws of physics and both shrink and slow myself down to observe shit at the Planck scale, I would see particles that “teleport” in discrete chunks, one Planck length at a time and one Planck second at a time.

In a way, at that scale, reality has a certain resolution, just like your computer screen – where nothing can be displayed that is less than one pixel. The pixels for our universe are mind-bogglingly small, and the computer animates its pixels at an unfathomable FPS, but there are real, definable limits.

It’s like we are all living in a video game that is run by the sickest computer imaginable. How fucked up is that? :slight_smile:

[quote]BigRagoo wrote:
Damn man. Right now at work, all I’m thinking about is how soon my relief will be here. That actually feels longer than it is.[/quote]

I’m at work also…My relief just called off on me for the 2nd day in a row! Tonight is definately dragging. I think I need some caffiene!

[quote]lovefire wrote:
BigRagoo wrote:
Damn man. Right now at work, all I’m thinking about is how soon my relief will be here. That actually feels longer than it is.

I’m at work also…My relief just called off on me for the 2nd day in a row! Tonight is definately dragging. I think I need some caffiene! [/quote]

That sucks. Mine should be hear any minute now.

[quote]BigRagoo wrote:
lovefire wrote:
BigRagoo wrote:
Damn man. Right now at work, all I’m thinking about is how soon my relief will be here. That actually feels longer than it is.

I’m at work also…My relief just called off on me for the 2nd day in a row! Tonight is definately dragging. I think I need some caffiene!

That sucks. Mine should be hear any minute now.[/quote]

LOL Rub it in! :wink:

[quote]lovefire wrote:
I’m at work also…My relief just called off on me for the 2nd day in a row! Tonight is definately dragging. I think I need some caffiene! [/quote]

Might I suggest diet mountain dew? I’m high as shit on that stuff right now. And all the preservatives and artificial stuff they put in there is mummifying me alive. At this rate, I think I might live twenty years longer than I should.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
lovefire wrote:
I’m at work also…My relief just called off on me for the 2nd day in a row! Tonight is definately dragging. I think I need some caffiene!

Might I suggest diet mountain dew? I’m high as shit on that stuff right now. And all the preservatives and artificial stuff they put in there is mummifying me alive. At this rate, I think I might live twenty years longer than I should.[/quote]

I actually have never had that. I might have to try it! I usually go with the sugar free Red Bull.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
lovefire wrote:
Might I suggest diet mountain dew? [/quote]
DMD is the shit, isn’t it? I haven’t had one in forever. They have the regular stuff, but not DMD in Iraq.

I miss working overnights or 2nd shift. It is my preference to the 9-5 with all the suits. The support questions and tasks were far more interesting as well.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
If I was to somehow violate the laws of physics and both shrink and slow myself down to observe shit at the Planck scale[/quote]

Walking the Planck, as it were.

If time and matter in our scale are composed of particles at the Planck scale, what size are the particles which compose time and matter at the Planck scale?

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
DMD is the shit, isn’t it? [/quote]

Damn skippy. I hope this makes you nostalgic, and not jealous, but I’ve chugged like eight or nine of them since 7pm last night.

Along with the acid trippy effects (thus my first and second posts on this thread), now I’m seriously considering backflipping out the door when I get off work in an hour.

The slogan on the bottle says “Tuned up Taste”, but it should say “Defying Gravity is now Possible for You”.

Excuse me, I have to leap over a desk now.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:

If I was to somehow violate the laws of physics and both shrink and slow myself down to observe shit at the Planck scale, I would see particles that “teleport” in discrete chunks, one Planck length at a time and one Planck second at a time.

[/quote]

lol, this is what i think quantum physics is about. I’ve only been learning about it in high school but apparently the electrons in a atom actually do teleport around.

The electrons of an atom orbit the nucleus in certain orbitals. Think of these orbitals as seperate spheres around the atom and the electrons are located in these spheres.

Now electrons can go from sphere to sphere BUT they are never found in the areas out side of the sphere. Therefore they are somehow able to teleporting from 1 sphere to another!

A good analagy would be having marbles in two seperate bags with the marbles being electrons. According to the quantum theory the marbles are able to to go to a different bag with out (at any one time) being outside of a bags!

Trippy stuff indeed.

Its funny how i came to this site to get away from school work…

[quote]Rykker wrote:
Walking the Planck, as it were.

If time and matter in our scale are composed of particles at the Planck scale, what size are the particles which compose time and matter at the Planck scale?
[/quote]

That’s just what makes this so weird. There aren’t any. Time, energy, and matter are all discrete, which means that there is a point where you can’t chop them up any more to make smaller stuff. Just like my computer screen analogy, you can’t display half a pixel on your monitor.

Just as a point of reference, the Planck length is crazy as shit small. A proton is about 1.5 x 10^-15 meters across, right? If we were to imagine a Planck length as one meter, then to keep the scale, a proton would be 10^20 meters across, or approximately one thousand light years across.

That’s a shitload of yard sticks. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure but I think the theory will fall because , What is time?

Time is just something we invented to measure change. Maybe we were wrong and it really is continuous, NOT jumping forward in small “steps”.

But what do I know?

Interesting thought though and yes you have too much time! Whatever now that is?

I thought this whole universe was just a molecule in the fingernail of some giant being.

Knowing that, imagine how many microscopic universes may exist in our own bodies. I bet those creatures that exist there can measure distances much smaller than we can imagine.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
lothario1132 wrote:
lovefire wrote:
Might I suggest diet mountain dew?
DMD is the shit, isn’t it? I haven’t had one in forever. They have the regular stuff, but not DMD in Iraq.

I miss working overnights or 2nd shift. It is my preference to the 9-5 with all the suits. The support questions and tasks were far more interesting as well.
[/quote]

I love midnights, like you said less brass :wink: and less chance for me to get myself in trouble. I have been hiding out on this shift for 4 years now!

I’m not a rocket scientist, so I am just throwing this on the wall.

But wouldn’t the smallest unit of time be the time it took one photon to move one photon-length?

Isn’t a photon the particle that moves at the speed of light?

Like I said - just throwing it up against the wall.

If you’re bored at work and want to watch a great quantum movie and bend your mind a little, pop in a dvd of “What the bleep do we know?” Great flic.

lothario1132:

Funny this thread should come up. A long time ago…relatively speaking of course, I thought “is there a smallest fraction of time and what is it”? (I wasn’t as scientific about it as you. ;))

Well anyways, only a few days ago I found out it was the YoctoSecond(sp?). Oddly enough it was from a Calendar. :wink: Little facts you know. :slight_smile:

And as for your planck scale things jumping around theory. Well again a long time ago…(relatively) I was thinking what if we never really moved but we were on a “grid” kind of like sprites or pixles on a computer screen.

Anyways several years later I see a book called “The Illusion of Motion” By…??..Julian Baurbour??? Something like that. Well I skimmed it a bit and I gathered that’s what he was getting at. Except I’m sure he explained it with a lot more words…plus the words had more letters in them. :slight_smile:

PS-God Edition?