Author Topic: Time slowing down  (Read 1374 times)

Offline Grawk1

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Time slowing down
« on: June 27, 2013, 08:40:47 AM »
I read about some spanish physicists proposing that time is slowing down as a solution to the "Accelerating expansion" problem. http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/01/scientist-says.html

At first glance, it seemed pretty plausible to me (as a amatuer) because it was a beautifully elegant application of Occam's Razor: instead of the universe being mostly magic anti-gravity dark matter, you just change one simple assumption about the nature of reality that no one had ever questioned - the constant passage of time.

Then I thought about it, and realised that i couldn't make any sense of it - speed is measured with reference to time, and time always passes at 1 second/second. Time slowing down would require some sort of meta-time for it to slow down relative to, right?

Then I realised that I was almost certainly misunderstanding what they were positing. Then I had a drink and watched Adventure Time. And now I am here, typing these words.

Can you explain to me what they are actually positing, and how accepted is by the scientific community? Is this like the physics equivalent of the vampire pterodactyls or hyper-intelligent triassic sculpture squid?

I saw this idea referenced on Cracked.com (an excellent source for sensationalist fun and creative hyperbole, but not exactly renowned science journos) so I have no idea how credible this is.

Offline bn

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Re: Time slowing down
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 11:06:29 AM »
yes you could do it.
you could easily add a "parametric" (i.e. accounting tool) time into the mix,
and then tweak your theory of time to give that version of time some reality.

but... I doubt it's all that useful.

people get really caught up with dark energy.
It's big, but you know... it's pretty simple.
the cosmological constant works pretty well.
it's a large scale thing, so it stands to reason we wouldn't see much of it in laboratory tests.
a big monster lovecraftian secret.

but yeah... anyway.
I couldn't find the paper you tried to link to,
but it might be worth mentioning that one of the strengths of einstein's theory
is that it has a property called "general covariance" (this is where the name "general relativity" comes from)
which is a big fancy word for the following concept.

Different observers will have slightly (or dramatically) different time coordinates.
but there is a way to transform between them,
and there are also some theoretical values which, regardless of the coordinate system you calculate them in, will give the same value.
thus, it doesn't matter which observer is doing the calculation: all time coordinates are equally flawed.

this is the spiritual successor of our old friend: galilean relativity.

I would probably wage  a few dollars in a bet that said that the argument these people are making would destroy the lovely covariance of einstein's theory.

that said... I'd have to read the paper to say for sure.
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